Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Laugher

Sometimes you have to laugh. This morning was one of those times for Jon from Highbridge.

“How can you not laugh?” he says with a shrug. “The Bronx has the highest tax rate. That’s just perfect.”

It’s perfect in a uniquely American way that allows Major League Baseball to steamroll people like Jon and his wife and his seven-year-old son.

They live in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the poorest borough of New York City. Jon works two jobs – full-time on a warehouse loading dock and the rest of the time driving a taxi – and Christmas was his only day off this month.

Like every family in this neighborhood they scrape by and try to save a little money for baseball tickets in the summer.

That’s a little harder these days because the price of tickets went up.

“It’s going to make it tougher for us,” Jon admits.

But he doesn’t blame the Yankees.

“The Steinbrenners always give us a good team,” Jon says. “They are taxed for that and the first rule of taxes in this country is that they land on the poorest people.”

The Yankees received their luxury-tax bill of $23.88 million a few days ago and their revenue-sharing tab will push the total over $100 million for the year.

That money is squeezed out of people in the Bronx and dumped into the pockets of billionaires like David Glass in Kansas City and Kevin McClatchy in Pittsburgh and, of course, Jeffrey Loria in Florida.

“That’s the way it is in America,” Jon says. “Tax the poor to fatten the rich. George Bush sells it and so does Bud Selig. We’re not dumb enough to buy it, but we have to take it if we want to support our baseball team.”

Sometimes you have to laugh or you would never stop crying.


Henry said...

This would be funny if it was not so sad, twisted and perverted. But, hey, that’s the American way of life.

Donna said...

This story hits home for a lot of people.

Jessica Lee said...

First of all,Donna,
What does this sentence" This story hits home for a lot of people" mean? If someone can explain for me, I will be very appreciated at that.

By any chance,Todd,
Can you try to explain to me how luxury-tax and revenue-sharing tab work,especially the difference between big market team and small market team?

P.S.That's not only American way but also how the taxation works.

Jessica Lee said...

P.S.That's not only American way but also how the taxation system works around the world.

Todd Drew said...

I think what Donna meant by “This story hits home for a lot of people,” is that many families are facing a similar struggle to pay higher ticket prices.

Todd Drew said...

The luxury tax is based on payroll above a certain threshold. For this past season the Yankees were taxed 40 percent on all salary above $148 million. Next year the threshold rises to $155 million.

Revenue sharing takes money from “big market” teams and redistributes it to “small market” teams. Terms like “big market” and “small market” are misleading because it is about revenue rather than the actual size of the market.

Miami is the seventh largest market in the United States, but Jeffrey Loria and the Florida Marlins are one of the largest recipients of revenue sharing dollars.

The bottom-line is that when Major League Baseball taxes the New York Yankees they are taxing the people who buy the tickets and the scorecards and the T-shirts. They are taking money from the Bronx – one of the poorest urban areas in the country – and sending it to some of the richest men in the world.

If that isn’t injustice, what is?

Donna said...

Sorry for the confusion, Jessica. Todd explained what I meant perfectly.

Jessica Lee said...

Thanks for explanation,but why luxury-tax bill of $23.88 million plus revenue-sharing tab will push the total over $100 million for the year? So,basically,MLB use revenue to define market size,right? How MLB redistributes revenue? Does MLB put all revenues together and use percentage to distribute every team? or Does MLB take some revenues which exceed certain amount from big market team and give to small market team? I know MLB do this for balancing the power in MLB and increasing competition between teams? This is the right reason big market teams agree on revenue-sharing,right?

Jessica Lee said...

This is the reason big market teams agree on revenue-sharing,right?