Unless you aren’t living here in California, you don’t know that our State Assembly and Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, recently crammed the largest one-year state tax increase in U.S. history down the throats of us unsuspecting Golden State folk. An astonishing $12 billion dollar increase on top of what we already pay. Sales tax in my state is now 11%. Yep, YOU READ THAT RIGHT, 11 PERCENT. *reaches for lube*
(Taxpayer lube to fund Leiweke (l) future LA Kings free agent signings?)
Life has never been tougher for Californians, but thankfully we have our wonderful sports teams to make life here a little more bearable. Teams like the NHL Los Angeles Kings, the Lakers, the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors.
On the heels of the enormous tax increase already leveled on citizens of California, Schwarzenegger is now pushing newly-balloted propositions (1A-1F) that would extend similar taxes for two more years. The props are packed with at least $24B in more new taxes to prop up a failed state govt. on the brink of bankruptcy.
Now you say to yourself, who is god’s name would support such a measure? Actually, the Lakers, Clippers, Los Angeles Kings and Golden State Warriors, that’s who.
As part of the initial framework of the basket of additional tax-levying propositions due to be voted on May 19, an amusement tax was supposedly being considered by state lawmakers and Schwarzenegger. That is, a tax on tickets for sporting events, concerts, and amusement parks.
The SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL reports on what happened when the teams found out about the idea:
There was no new sales tax on event tickets. The Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and their parent company, Anschutz Entertainment Group, have combined to donate $200,000 for the measures.
In other words, the teams forked over $200,000 as a bribe to politicians to prevent the event tax from being a part of the tax-raising propositions.
Oh, but it gets even better!
The SACRAMENTO BEE reports this week that AEG President Tim Leiweke, who runs the Staples Center and the NHL Kings, recently, personally contributed $125,000 to the ad campaign promoting the passage of the tax hike props. Additionally, Leiweke hosted a $5,000-an-invite gathering for Schwarzenegger at his home last night. The price for a photo with the Guv at the event? $25,000!
That fundraising money, in the hundreds of thousands, also went to the proposition ad campaign.
I guess it’s just a coincidence that Leiweke happens to preside over a company that takes in more event ticket revenue than any other business in the state.
It’s one thing to bribe politicians to prevent a tax on your business product. But it’s another to actively promote the passage of monstrous tax increase on an already beleaguered state.
For that reason, you can somewhat give the Lakers, Clips and Warriors a pass. But not Leiweke, AEG and the NHL Kings.
Not to worry though. Much like Leiweke’s Kings, the props have zero chance of (winning) approval. Most California citizens are outraged the props are even being pushed by the state government and Schwarzenegger.
And when it comes ot Ah-nuld, who is now reviled statewide after his failed tenure as governor, I hope Leiweke realizes he’s betting on the wrong horse.