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Thanks to taxes, Zack Greinke’s money would go way farther in Texas than L.A.

Dec 7, 2012, 9:17 AM EDT

Buster Olney notes something that most of us don’t think about with respect to free agent signings:


Everyone has different things that motivate them. The taxes used to be offset by the In-N-Out Burger deficit, but they have In-N_Outs in Dallas now, so that’s even.

Personally, though, I would gladly pay $30 million to not have to play in the Texas heat.

  1. uyf1950 - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    We all know and can appreciate how hard it would be to live/survive on $150MM.

  2. Marty - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    So would his team.

  3. mcsnide - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Unless you get a no-trade, take the biggest number. Ask Buehrle or Reyes how that having no state income tax in Florida is working out for them…

    • 78mu - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      The Marlins had to slash payroll because Loria feels obligated to pay back the tax money spent on his new stadium. He felt sorry for all the heat the public servants that shoveled him money were getting so it was either field a competitive team or fulfill a moral obligation to Florida taxpayers. He knows he is magnitudes richer than almost everyone else in Florida and it’s the right thing to do.

      I may have to rethink this post after I come down from my crack and heroin high,

  4. paperlions - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Writers and fans bring this up all the time, but there is no evidence that it actually affects player decisions in any league. Pujols took more money last year despite the fact that the different tax rates would have made the deals effectively equivalent.

    An important fact that seems to be ignored is that players pay taxes based on where their performances occurred, not based on the location of their home team. So a player on the Rangers only doesn’t pay state taxes for his home games and those against the Astros, he still pays CA tax rates for games played in LA or OAK and for any other state/country in which he plays games. So….the apparent difference isn’t as great as the cursory glance makes it appear.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:32 AM

      I agree with you commentary. Except you would have to admit the taxes on playing 81 home games in LA versus playing 81 home games in Arlington could be a pretty decent chunk of change. Besides moving to the Dodgers in the NL West also means playing about 8 or so games each year in SF and SD both California cities.

      • beefytrout - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:37 AM

        I’m pretty sure they get paid year-round as well, so during the off-season he would pay taxes based on where he lived.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:46 AM

        beefytrout, some teams pay their players all year round. For example the Yankees do, but I don’t believe every team does. I think it’s based on a team by team basis.

      • paperlions - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:48 AM

        Nope, they aren’t paid year around….and most players don’t live in the cities/states where they play baseball.

        Yep, it is a huge chunk of change, just not as simple as comparing state tax rates….it just doesn’t seem like players seriously consider this factor…because it would give some teams sizable advantages in signing players that just don’t manifest.

      • beefytrout - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:48 AM

        why would they not?

      • uyf1950 - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM

        paperlions, I agree with you again it isn’t as simple as just comparing state tax rates. Also I think it’s a player by player decision. I say that because most players are going to be offered $100MM plus contracts that the difference would be all that significant. In Greinke’s case and because of the dollars being mentioned it may have a impact on his decision and it may not.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:55 AM

        Sorry correction again: “aren’t” going to be offered……

      • hk62 - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        Not true beefy – you earn it in Cali, you pay Cali taxes no matter where you live – same is true for Oregon only worse in that you can live in Texas, and get paid by a company based in Washington (no state income tax in either) but if you were actually in Oregon when the money was being made you still pay Oregon income taxes (I know this first hand!) – if there was a Pro team in Oregon, game checks for games played in Oregon would be subject to Oregon state income tax – that’s a fact.

        The tax diff between Texas and Cali is very large and very real and there is no way around it – and I am NOT guessing about this.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        I think people get so hung up on the lack of state income tax in Texas they forget the property taxes are high.

      • ezthinking - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        Don’t you remember Jeter’s fight about his ‘condo’ in NY versus his ‘home’ in Florida?

        The mental shortcuts offered by writers are that, shortcuts. The real substance is too detailed and too boring for most to handle.

        Grienke will play where he wants to. Endorsements, lifestyle, taxes, winning, publicity, teammates, ownership, benefits, etc., likely all play a factor. To what level is up to him, not us.

  5. angrycorgi - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    In-N-Out is overrated…there are far better joints than that in the DFW area…almost everyone that I know that has tried In-N-Out since its arrival in DFW has said “meh…its good, but I don’t get the fuss”…There is a Five Guys in the Galleria Mall in Dallas too…and there’s a Mooyah in Coppell thats pretty good…but most of all, I get Whataburger cravings…and you can’t get that it Cali.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Dec 7, 2012 at 4:39 PM

      The fact that there’s a Galleria shopping mall in Dallas really chaps my Valley boy hide.

      ??? “Hoo doggies. Gag me with a spoon.” ????

      I don’t think so.

  6. cktai - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    From what I heard, there is also the imminent danger of Texas leaving the Union now that Obama is re-elected.

    • yahmule - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:33 AM

      I’ll miss those Texicans, I really will.

      Are they gone yet?

      • angrycorgi - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM

        Texicans? I take it that’s a weak attempt to insult part of our Mexican/Hispanic heritage? We take pride in it, not shame. I better not tell you the story of California, lest your tiny brain explode inside your head.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:55 AM

        Were you looking for “tejano”?

    • lostsok - Dec 7, 2012 at 8:39 PM

      Everything’s bigger in Texas. Including stupidity.

  7. yahmule - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    One mitigating factor is playing in Los Angeles means you’re not surrounded by Texans all the time. Hard to put a price on something like that.

    • angrycorgi - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      True, you’d be surrounded by smug, self-loving californians instead.

      • Marty - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        Actually, the smug self lovers get beat into a coma by LA gang bangers.

    • sportsdrenched - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:41 AM

      I’m thinking with that kind of jack you couls surround yourself with what ever kind of people you wanted to.

      Besides, from my experience, you have to get out of the Metroplex to meet any stereotypical Texans anyway.

  8. Andrew Chapman - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Texas sticks it to you on property taxes though

    • mybrunoblog - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      I disagree. My friend just moved from New Jersey to Texas. His property taxes went from $9k a year to $5k a year and his new property and home are almost double in size compared to what he had in New Jersey. Still a bargain.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:47 PM

        You’re confusing cost of living and housing availability differences with tax rates.

    • angrycorgi - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      This is true. Luckily property values are much, much lower in DFW (on average) than in most parts of California too. LA, for instance, has a median sale price on a 4-bedroom house at $365k, whereas the median sale price of the same size house in DFW is $145k.

    • wlubake - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:19 AM

      Not really. There was a big push back from the Supreme Court of Texas against local governments jacking up property taxes. It was considered a back-door income tax, and a state income tax is prohibited by the Texas Constitution.

      I’ve lived in 3 states, and Texas property taxes aren’t much more than they are elsewhere.

      Gas, corporate taxes, luxuries, cigarettes, etc. That’s where they hit you in Texas.

      • Andrew Chapman - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        Point being, while Texas doesn’t have a state income tax, they make up the revenues in other ways.

  9. jwbiii - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    There is a difference, but it’s more like 4-5% than the 20% that Wrong Hole Buster suggests.
    I miss Whataburger.

    • angrycorgi - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      I miss Whataburger too. Sadly, they will never make it to where I am now (Virginia), because there is already a “What-A-Burger” here, although this one really blows.

      • wlubake - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:22 AM

        But you have Sheetz. I miss that from my college days in VA. Having Whataburger softens the blow some.

      • angrycorgi - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:49 AM


        You miss a gas station? 😉

      • wlubake - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:04 PM


        Absolutely. Here’s the genius of Sheetz: the ordering. You can customize the heck out of your food order, and it is all on a touch screen. I’m in favor of anything that minimizes my actual human contact, especially in a fast food context.

  10. whitdog23 - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    duh!!! athletes have been moving to states with no income taxes for decades

    • indaburg - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:48 AM

      Didn’t Jeter do this? Claim Florida residency to avoid paying NY taxes?

  11. rathipon - Dec 7, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Tax discrepancies haven’t meant much in the past because the teams that play in higher tax states are usually also in bigger markets and could afford to pay more. Yankees are the best example of that. However, when we start talking about a de facto salary cap in the form of a severe luxury tax, then it becomes seriously problematic. The Yankee’s 189 million budget will buy less than the Rangers’ 189 million budget – and that is hardly fair at all. At some point they will have to consider adjusting the luxury tax threshold based upon local tax considerations.

  12. texassportsfan2 - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    It doesn’t really matter if a professional athlete’s home state has no individual income tax. They are taxed on income considered earned in other states (away games). It’s tricky, but alot of firms have made this a big business…..doing taxes for prof athletes.

  13. raysfan1 - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    5 Guys > In-N-Out, but Dallas has them too.

  14. kelshannon19 - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    If you want to play in Texas because of the taxes but heat is the issue, then come on down I-45 to Houston where you can play with a roof..hey, the new jerseys look cool at least!

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 12, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      If you’re gonna play in Texas…you gotta have a fiddle in the band.
      That lead guitar is hot but not for a Louisiana man.

  15. ok9275 - Dec 7, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    No way, 5 guys is horrible. Had it in Cali and it was just disgusting. In N Out is better in every way. Whataburger doesn’t even come close to comparing to In N Out. In N Out is much better than these 2 joints… but reality is In N Out isn’t even that good itself…

  16. 1historian - Dec 7, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    “Personally, though, I would gladly pay $30 million to not have to play in the Texas heat.”

    Doesn’t get much dumber than that, Craig.

    Until, of course – your next column.

  17. jlovenotjlo - Dec 7, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    I have read that the state income tax usually only factors into team success in the nba. Stars in the nba generally prefer warmth,” happening” huge cities, and/or the lack of an income tax. Look no further than the general success of Florida and Texas bball teams.

  18. coloradogolfcoupons - Dec 9, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Money goes farther in Texas but so does the Baseball, with the wind tunnel blowing out to right field. The home/road splits for Texas hitters rival those of Coors Field in Denver and most elite pitchers shy away from both cities, Arlington and Denver.

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