California residents won several medals at the Sochi Olympic Games, including four that went to Sacramento-area contenders. Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, wants to give those world-class competitors a tax break. If years of striving for excellence culminate in a top-three finish, Gorell argues, you shouldn’t have to pay for it.
In addition to a lifetime of bragging rights, athletes who medal get to take home some prize money – typically $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.
“It doesn’t feel like something we should be taxing,” Gorell said, adding that Olympic athletes aren’t compensated otherwise. “These folks are volunteers from beginning to end, all the way up until they find out whether they receive a medal.”
Assembly Bill 2323 would exempt both the prize money and the value of the medals themselves from taxes, costing the state about $8,000 in the coming year and $50,000 the next – a sum Gorell called “almost insignificant.”
The legislation has passed its first committee and heads next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. A similar bill perished in 2012, and a recent federal effort also foundered.
AT THE CAPITOL
Gov. Jerry Brown will discuss California’s response to climate change during an all-day forum on the challenges presented to the state’s agriculture and natural resources. The event, sponsored by the University of California’s Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics, begins at 8:30 a.m. at the California Museum on O Street. Brown has angered environmentalists for his relative openness to hydraulic fracturing, a controversial procedure to extract natural gas and oil.
“This is really the issue of our generation.”