Phil Mickelson apologized for talking publicly about possibly moving from California over tax rates, saying he should not have discussed the matter in public.
Many sports stars have homes in such states as Florida, where there are no payroll taxes, rather than in California, where taxes have risen this year.
“I’ve made some dumb, dumb mistakes, and, obviously, talking about this stuff was one of them,” Mickelson said. “I made a big mistake talking about this stuff publicly and I shouldn’t have done that.”
Mickelson, who has earned a staggering $73 million in his career, said he selected the wrong forum to air his concerns over tax policy and what athletes should do to keep more of their winnings.
“My apology is for talking about it publicly, because I shouldn’t take advantage of the forum that I have as a professional golfer to try to ignite change over these issues,” Mickelson said.
Mickelson said he has not decided if he will move from San Diego and admitted that his comments were especially insensitive given relatively high unemployment as many people struggle simply to find jobs.
“It was insensitive to talk about it publicly to those people who are not able to find a job, that are struggling paycheck to paycheck.”
The left-hander also said he had no problem paying taxes.
“I’ve never had a problem paying my fair share,” Mickelson said. “I don’t know what that is right now but I’ve never had a problem paying my fair share.
“I know there are very few countries in the world that let you do what you do and live in this environment and have your personal possessions be secured through the court systems, through the police, through all the many things that this country offers. So I’ve never had a problem with that.”
US PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said he has seen businesses leave California for the same reasons Mickelson mentioned.
“People making decisions based on the tax rates in California on top of the Federal tax rates is not a unique thing,” Finchem said. “There are businesses relocating out of California because they can operate better in states that have lower tax rates.
“I don’t think there’s any issue here about people making decisions based on tax rates. It happens all the time.”
[Image via Craig O’Neal, Creative Commons licensed]