In November, voters in California approved a ballot measure raising the top rate on income over $1 million to 13.3% (the increase applies retroactively to last year). According to SportsIllustrated.com, Mr. Woods grossed $56.4 million in 2012. As a Floridian, he will keep about $7.5 million that he otherwise would have owed to the state of California. His net tax savings over his 16-year career come to about $100 million. Mr. Mickelson last year earned $60.7 million. Paying the 13.3% California rate, he will owe the state $8 million.
"The day California passed the tax increase, I received three calls from concerned athletes," accountant Steve Piascik, president of Piascik & Associates, told me. His firm is one of the largest representatives of professional athletes in the country.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, a former adviser to President Jimmy Carter, noted during the Mickelson brouhaha that "there are businesses relocating out of California because they can operate better in states that have lower tax rates." He also noted: "Generally, people making decisions based on the tax rates in California, on top of the federal tax rates, is not a unique thing."