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NHLPA, two players sue city of Pittsburgh over 'jock tax'

8 novembre 2019
The NHL Players Association, as well as players Scott Wilson and Kyle Palmieri, have launched a lawsuit against the City of Pittsburgh over a 'jock tax.' If you're uncertain what that is, you're likely not alone, so we'll do our best to explain it. A jock tax is an income tax levied against visitors to a city or state who earn money in that jurisdiction, mainly professional athletes. In this case, Pittsburgh charges a three percent tax on any income visiting athletes earn in the city while visiting their sports team's for games.

According to papers filed in court this week, The NHLPA, Wilson and Palmieri argue that "this system of taxation cannot be reconciled with the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which requires that all taxation be uniform." It adds that "as a matter of state constitutional law, Pittsburgh cannot tax non-residents at a higher rate than residents. Nor can the City single out a class of employees, like professional athletes, for a higher rate of taxation." The court documents put forward the position that "Pittsburgh's tax on non-resident athletes also violates the US constitution by affording its residents preferential tax treatment while imposing higher tax rates on those who reside out of state."

This "jock tax" seems very strange, yet it's not really uncommon. Not only are the working schedules of high-profile athletes public, so are their salaries in many cases. The tax dates back to the 1960s, but started being imposed aggresively in 1991 when California taxed the earnings of Chicago Bulls players who traveled to Los Angeles to play the Lakers in that year's NBA Finals.

In 2003, the Tax Foundation, an organization based in Washington, D.C. that collects data and publishes studies on tax policies, called the jock tax poorly targeted, arbitrarily enforced, and unrealistically burdensome to athletes. An analyst for the foundation pointed out in 2014 that because taxes are imposed on everyone who travels with a professional sports team, many individuals subject to the tax are not the stereotypical highly-paid athletes. It can include trainers, scouts and others earning much less.

Palmieri currently plays for the New Jersey Devils, and has been playing in the NHL regularly since the 2009-10 season. Wilson is currently under contract with the Buffalo Sabres, but plays with the Rochester Americans. Ironically, Wilson spent parts of seven seasons playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, or their AHL affiliate the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, who are also based in Pennsylvania. There is no word on how much money each plaintiff is seeking in the suit.

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NHL LEADERS
POINTS GP PTS
LEON DRAISAITL 23 44
CONNOR MCDAVID 23 43
BRAD MARCHAND 21 35
JOHN CARLSON 24 35
DAVID PASTRNAK 21 34
NATHAN MACKINNON 21 31
PATRICK KANE 21 28
JONATHAN HUBERDEAU 21 28
ALEKSANDER BARKOV 21 27
AUSTON MATTHEWS 23 27
COMPLETE STANDINGS  
GOALS GP G
DAVID PASTRNAK 21 19
LEON DRAISAITL 23 16
CONNOR MCDAVID 23 15
ALEXANDER OVECHKIN 24 15
AUSTON MATTHEWS 23 14
COMPLETE STANDINGS  
ASSISTS GP A
CONNOR MCDAVID 23 28
LEON DRAISAITL 23 28
JOHN CARLSON 24 27
BRAD MARCHAND 21 22
ALEKSANDER BARKOV 21 20
COMPLETE STANDINGS  
DEFENSEMEN GP PTS
JOHN CARLSON 24 35
DOUGIE HAMILTON 21 23
CALE MAKAR 21 23
ROMAN JOSI 20 20
BRENT BURNS 22 20
COMPLETE STANDINGS  
ROOKIES GP PTS
CALE MAKAR 21 23
MARTIN NECAS 21 15
VICTOR OLOFSSON 21 15
QUINN HUGHES 21 14
ILYA MIKHEYEV 23 12
COMPLETE STANDINGS  
WINS GP W
BRADEN HOLTBY 17 11
MARC-ANDRE FLEURY 18 11
PETR MRAZEK 14 10
JORDAN BINNINGTON 17 10
CONNOR HELLEBUYCK 17 10
COMPLETE STANDINGS  
SHUTOUTS GP SO
CARTER HUTTON 12 2
PEKKA RINNE 13 2
TUUKKA RASK 13 2
DARCY KUEMPER 14 2
PETR MRAZEK 14 2
COMPLETE STANDINGS  

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