Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 at 6:25 pm  |  13 responses

Lawmakers Considering ‘Jock Tax’ To Bring NBA Back To Seattle

In an effort to bring back professional basketball to Seattle, a coalition comprised of lawmakers, business leaders and grass-roots activists has formed to discuss a possible jock tax that would require visiting professional athletes to pay state income tax for each game in the state of Washington. The funds from the tax would help finance construction of a new facility or renovation of an existing one for an NBA team. From the Seattle Times:

“If someone around here had thought of it a few years ago, maybe the Sonics — not the Oklahoma City Thunder — would be playing in the Western Conference finals. The tax is one of a few ideas being considered by two Washington state lawmakers who hope to bring the NBA back to Seattle. The coalition plans to discuss the merits of a jock tax that would require visiting professional athletes to pay state income tax for each game in the state of Washington.

‘We have different, various ideas,’ Hope said. ‘I’m not exactly sure which one will go forward, but I want to have something done and tangible, a piece of legislation ready to go by January of next year. So that when the Legislature convenes they can start hammering away at this.’

According to an April 12, 2009, article in The Los Angeles Times, the state of California collected $102 million in taxes from visiting athletes in 2006-07.

‘It’s a huge amount of money,’ Hope said. ‘Every time the Mariners and Seahawks go there, they get taxed. But when their players come here, we don’t tax them. To me it’s about equity. It’s about developing a plan to do that and to use that money to bond out for something. What I like about it the most is, it doesn’t cost the taxpayers in Washington state a single dime.’

For jaded Sonics fans still angry after Seattle political leaders agreed to settle a lawsuit that allowed Clay Bennett to move the team to Oklahoma City, it’s the first significant plan from Olympia to bring an NBA team to the area. Jason Reid, who directed ‘Sonicsgate: Requiem for a Team,’ plans to join the task force, and is cautiously optimistic.

‘We’re obviously excited about anyone who wants to bring the issue to the forefront, especially when it comes to someone in government actually representing the effort to bring the Sonics back,” Reid said. “So pardon the pun, but we have a lot of hope in Hope because he’s saying the right things, at least as of now.’”

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  • Jer dawg

    I thought that was always the case with visiting professional athletes in every city they visit. I guess not.

  • http://slamonline Brion

    Wow I guess im glad they are at least trying to find a way but I wont get too optimistic just yet.

  • Eddie1


  • Eddie1

    And yes I love the sonics. Grew up with them. When we gave Jordan and those overrated bulls a scare, it was the greatest! And when we had Ray Allen, I just loved watching the team. I really loved that 05-06 team and Ray allen in his prime was amazing. Actually creating his own shot. Doing it all. AND IT WAS RIPPED FROM US because of some bull-ish politicians. WEll I’m not voting for them at all.

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com airs

    its too late eddie.
    the illumnati have forced their hand, you have already voted for them.
    the new team is named the seattle lightning and Allen Ray makes a miraculous comeback from obscurity.
    signed -airs, 2021

  • SSiklo

    @Mars… what??????

  • SikhWitIt

    Bring em back to the 206! Let’s retire the Glove’s #20 and get the greatest defensive point guard of all-time a statue! SU-PER! SO-NICS!

  • David Moore

    Even if basketball IS brought back to the city of Seattle, it’s too late for the Sonics. In the movie, it was said that Clay Bennett and the OKC Thunder own all exclusive rights to any and every piece of Sonics hardware, including retired jerseys, banners, and the championship trophy. I have a lot of hope for Seattle, but they MAY have to start at the bottom with another franchise. :-(

  • Sean

    “When we gave Jordan and those overrated bulls a scare, it was the greatest!”

    Jordan and “those overrated bulls” just so happened to be up 3-0 on you guys. I don’t consider any scares because the Sonics won Games 4 and 5. That series was over before it even started.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    David Moore, thats wrong. Seattle kept the rights to the Sonics name and all that lies with-in that. Jerseys, numbers etc. If they get a team that team can and most likely will be called the Sonics.

  • http://slamonline Brion

    I would be worried that the NBA left such a bad taste in all seattle fans mouth that they would not get the fan support needed to be successful, especially if they came back with a weak team that lost a lot.

  • bike

    The term jock is offensive to many professional athletes. In the future, please refrain from using this derogatory term or face fine and or lawsuit.

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    There’s a lot of misinformed commentators here.