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California lawmaker threatening Microsoft over loss of Sacramento Kings?
Hotair ^ | 01/26/2013 | Ed Morrissey

Posted on 01/26/2013 9:03:12 PM PST by SeekAndFind

Last weekend, Phil Mickelson threatened to move out of California over the onerous tax hikes imposed by Jerry Brown and the Democratic supermajority in Sacramento. Mickelson later apologized for his outburst, although I'm not sure why; he has just as much right to complain as anyone else. CNN Money later attempted to correct Mickelson, saying that his total tax rate was somewhere around 53%, not 62%, but I'm not sure that was much comfort, nor an effective rebuttal to Mickelson's point.

As it turns out, Mickelson's not the only sports entity looking at a Golden Gate exit. Forbes noted that one big beneficiary of Brown’s tax hike on high-end earners could be Seattle, which has been without a basketball team since 2008. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer heads up a group bidding to purchase the Kings, who play in California’s capital Sacramento, and taxes are certainly part of that puzzle:

On Monday morning, the Seattle Times reported that a Seattle group helmed by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer agreed to purchase the Sacramento Kings. Pending approval from the NBA Board of Governors, the team would move to Seattle and play its first season as the SuperSonics this fall.

There are many reasons for teams to relocate, and the built-in Seattle fan base is certainly a plus for this NBA team. However, it is crucial to remember that sports franchises are multi-million dollar businesses. Those who occupy the front office spend a lot of time scrutinizing the finances. From this perspective, a move from California to Washington State is a no-brainer. The marginal personal-income tax rate for wealthy Californians – a category under which professional ballplayers almost certainly fall – is a whopping 13.3 percent. Washington, on the other hand, levies no personal income tax on any of its residents. Whether a member of the SuperSonics organization is shooting free-throws or taking tickets, he gets to keep more of his earned income.

Furthermore, Seattle has already been a big recipient of California’s tax policies:

Professional sports teams aren’t the only organizations ditching California for Washington’s friendlier tax climate. According to migration data from the Internal Revenue Service, over the 15-year period from 1995 to 2010, King County (where Seattle is located) has gained $32 million in adjusted gross income from Sacramento County. Other California counties have added significant amounts to King County’s coffers, too. During those same 15 years, Orange County lost $98 million in net AGI to King County. Los Angeles saw a huge hit, with King County gaining $313 million of Los Angelenos’ net AGI.

Clearly, investors like Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer understand that personal income is one of our most precious and most highly mobile assets. For the Kings, the move to Seattle is one for the win column. For Sacramento, it’s yet another loss, provoked by a growth-stifling tax climate. Seattleites are no doubt looking forward to cheering for the SuperSonics this fall.

How has California reacted to this example of free-market economics? Have they decided to lower taxes and broaden the tax base to make the business environment more inviting? Perhaps reduced the red tape that turns every expansion into a years-long project, which only takes weeks in other states? Not exactly. No, they’ve decided to go the “nice business ya have there — wouldn’t want anything to happen to it” route:

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is not backing down from a request for information about Microsoft’s dealings with California, a gesture that many interpreted as a warning to prospective Sacramento Kings buyer and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

After reports emerged that Ballmer was one of the investors seeking to purchase the Kings and relocate them to Seattle, Steinberg sent a letter to the Department of General Services asking for data about California’s contracts with Microsoft and the monetary value of the state’s past purchases from the technology giant.

Steinberg faced criticism from those who said he was unfairly bullying Ballmer and endangering a lucrative partnership. But Steinberg defended his move on Thursday as a service to constituents and said he would press on.

“There’s something that doesn’t feel right about making money working directly with the state of California – in fact, having some of their largest contracts with the state of California – and at the same time using at least some of those gains or profits to try to move a major asset out of the state of California in its capital city,” Steinberg said after emerging from a closed-door meeting about the Kings with Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson and other lawmakers on Thursday.

It takes quite a bit to generate sympathy for Microsoft, but this qualifies. Using the power of the state to interfere with a private sale — and one based in large part on the ridiculous policies championed by politicians like Steinberg himself — makes it clear that California isn’t in the governing business any longer. They’re running a protection racket.

Small wonder Mickelson wants out of California. I’m not sure why anyone else would want to stay, frankly.



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: California; US: Washington
KEYWORDS: california; sacramento; seattle; taxes; washington

1 posted on 01/26/2013 9:03:22 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

As Ron White says “You can’t fix stupid” The retarded Democrats in California refuse to acknowledge that they are the ones driving businesses and anyone with money that can out of the state. They truly believe that they can get away with continued spending by raising taxes.The thing they are unable to grasp is that when you have driven the producers out all you have left to tax are the takers.


2 posted on 01/26/2013 9:10:12 PM PST by Mastador1 (I'll take a bad dog over a good politician any day!)
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To: SeekAndFind

When you add the top federal rate of 44.6 and the Cali top rate of 13.3 I don’t see where CNN gets that number.


3 posted on 01/26/2013 9:26:13 PM PST by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton (Go Egypt on 0bama)
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To: SeekAndFind

Microsoft ought to cancel it’s support contracts with the state or insist the state agencies pay them in cash for any work they perform. No money up front, no work. If this low grade moron intends to try a shakedown, then crucify this swarmy slug with a PR offensive.


4 posted on 01/26/2013 9:26:20 PM PST by MasterGunner01
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To: SeekAndFind

When you add the top federal rate of 44.6 and the Cali top rate of 13.3 I don’t see where CNN gets that number.


5 posted on 01/26/2013 9:28:37 PM PST by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton (Go Egypt on 0bama)
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To: SeekAndFind

It isn’t fascism when they do it.


6 posted on 01/26/2013 9:34:09 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: Mastador1
As Ron White says “You can’t fix stupid”

And in Kookifornicate you cant vote it out either.

7 posted on 01/26/2013 9:46:35 PM PST by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: SeekAndFind

8 posted on 01/26/2013 9:49:33 PM PST by onyx (FREE REPUBLIC IS HERE TO STAY! DONATE MONTHLY! IF YOU WANT ON SARAH PALIN''S PING LIST, LET ME KNOW)
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To: Mastador1
To use a phrase from "Tropic Thunder"...the people of California have gone (Full) Retard!
9 posted on 01/26/2013 9:55:18 PM PST by jakerobins
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To: SeekAndFind

California doesn’t even try to draw business to the state. They just try to keep people from leaving.


10 posted on 01/26/2013 9:58:29 PM PST by BookmanTheJanitor
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To: BookmanTheJanitor
I think you are forgetting our friends, the Red Communists of China.

California is at the forefront of China’s beginning investment boom in the United States. The Golden State attracted 156 deals from 2000 to 2011, one quarter of all Chinese investments in the United States in this period. With its long history with China, the most sizable Chinese American population in the country, and more inward investment deals from China than any other state, California is in a position to lead the nation in attracting Chinese investment in the decade to come.

Those flows would bolster employment, feed the tax base, generate exports, and bring positive spillovers of know-how and relationships. However, these benefits are not foreordained. Competitors for these dollars are ramping up efforts to attract Chinese firms, and they could well out-compete California if the state fails to resolve its fiscal and political problems, provide attractive terms to Chinese firms, and demonstrate its readiness to stand up for Chinese investors and address OFDI impediments at the national level.

Chinese Direct Investment in California

11 posted on 01/26/2013 10:25:11 PM PST by jwsea55
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To: SeekAndFind

Yes a lot of people leave CA. Unfortunately they contaminate the state they move to by voting the same way they did in CA. it’s happened in Colorado, Montana, Washington. Watch out Texas


12 posted on 01/26/2013 10:29:55 PM PST by waredbird
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To: SeekAndFind

Hmmm ... I guess the Rams won’t ever go back to L.A., in the era of the salary cap, that’s a pretty massive hit on the bottom line for players to accept. Odd, though that the two Super Bowl teams are San Fran and Baltimore (Maryland is right up there with CA in taxes), and not, say Tennessee and Tampa Bay.


13 posted on 01/26/2013 10:42:51 PM PST by Dr. Sivana ("C'est la vie" say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell. -- Chuck Berry)
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To: SeekAndFind
the team would move to Seattle and play its first season as the SuperSonics this fall.

I don't understand changing the name from Kings to Supersonics.

In the 70's, Boeing was planning to build supersonic jetliner like the Concorde. Boeing eventually cancelled their plans and even more recently moved their HQ out of Seattle.

Using the old "Supersonic" name makes no sense especially since Seattle resides in "KING" county.

Alternatively, they could name the team "the grunge" after the grunge music headlined by Nirvana. Or they could be named "the Rains" after the rainey weather.

Some perverse names would be "the Queens" after the homosexual community, or "the bugs" or "the blue screen of death" or "the NERDS" or "the hackers" or "the worms".

14 posted on 01/26/2013 11:28:16 PM PST by staytrue
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To: MasterGunner01

I wonder what corporate tax breaks MSFT gets in California?


15 posted on 01/27/2013 4:04:23 AM PST by existentially_kuffer
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To: SeekAndFind

And Microsoft can stop this immediately if they want to, they just need to play a little Hardball.

Dear California,
We at Microsoft appreciate all the business dealings we have had in the past with the State of California, Unfortunately after careful examination of California’s current and projected finances, we will no longer be able to provide any services to the State unless they are Paid in advance with Legal Tender as defined in Article 1 section 10 of the US Constitution.
Thank You

There is NO LAW requiring Citizens or Business to accept Federal Reserve Notes or Credits, only States and Banks are required by LAW.


16 posted on 01/27/2013 5:17:43 AM PST by eyeamok
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To: SeekAndFind

Microsoft can implement a policy on OEM sales that no computers shipped to California have Windows.


17 posted on 01/27/2013 5:28:07 AM PST by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 .....The fairest Deduction to be reduced is the Standard Deduction)
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To: waredbird

RE: Unfortunately they contaminate the state they move to by voting the same way they did in CA. it’s happened in Colorado, Montana, Washington. Watch out Texas

I’ve always wondered — why do liberals “contaminate” conservatives and not vice versa?

What’s wrong with the once conservative states that they cannot seem to convince liberal newcomers to realize their mistakes and come on over to a conservative way of thinking?


18 posted on 01/27/2013 5:58:32 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: BookmanTheJanitor

This type of behavior - tit for tat - is specifically prohibited in the “ethics standards” of most corporations. But this is not very surprising, because the the ethics standards of most politicians consists of “anything that they can get away with”.


19 posted on 01/27/2013 6:09:48 AM PST by The Antiyuppie ("When small men cast long shadows, then it is very late in the day.")
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To: BookmanTheJanitor

“California doesn’t even try to draw business to the state. They just try to keep people from leaving.”

No. They don’t even do that. Darrell Steinburg basically told the CEO of a company that was pulling out of Folsom “don’t let the door hit you on your way out”. He is the ultimate elitist asshole progressive.


20 posted on 01/27/2013 7:15:20 AM PST by willk
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To: existentially_kuffer
Good question. However, for a politician to openly threaten a corporation with harassment and loss of business is pretty serious. This could be a really good club to beat the politicians of CA with if MSFT would use it — that is, if they have the guts to do so.
21 posted on 01/27/2013 7:21:04 AM PST by MasterGunner01
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To: SeekAndFind

So why aren’t the Maloofs criticized like Mickelson was as being too greedy????


22 posted on 01/27/2013 7:24:47 AM PST by MadelineZapeezda
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To: SeekAndFind

To paraphrase Savage: “Liberals don’t think like normal people.” Just like a liberal will never change my way of thinking, I’m not gonna change theirs. The problem comes when liberals relocate to get away from the liberal policies that precipitated their move, they vote for the very same policies after relocation. And Einstein had a thought or two on doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.


23 posted on 01/27/2013 8:14:04 AM PST by waredbird
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