Lawmakers propose tax breaks for California's Olympic medalists
California is home to many of the Olympic medal winners, and a group of state lawmakers doesn’t want them targeted by the taxman when they return.
Five legislators have introduced a bill to exempt U.S. Olympic medal winners who live in California from paying state taxes on the honorariums provided by the U.S. Olympic Committee to those who win medals.
State law taxes Olympic athletes on the value of the medals and honorariums that they are awarded. Gold medalists could pay an average of $1,450 in taxes on medal-related earnings of $25,000, the state officials said.
Californians who have medaled so far include sprinter Carmelita Jeter of Torrance and beach volleyball standout Misty May-Treanor of Long Beach.
The legislators calling themselves the Bipartisan Olympic Coalition said in a statement that the Olympic medalists represent hard work and success.
"They are an inspiration to the next generation of American Olympic athletes, and we should honor them in the same way that they honor us through their passion and dedication," said the statement by the group made up of Democratic Sens. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) and Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) and Republican Assemblymen Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills), Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) and Chris Norby (R-Fullerton).
The tax break could put a small dent in the state coffers. California is home to 128 American athletes in London, nearly 25% of the U.S. Olympic delegation.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: U.S.'s Misty May-Treanor plays the ball in the second set en route to the gold medal in women's beach volleyball. Credit: Nhat V. Meyer/San Jose Mercury News/MCT.