The Oakland Raiders’ upcoming move to Las Vegas is already benefiting the team’s players financially.
As the Review-Journal’s Michael Gehlken reported, several Raiders, such as offensive tackle Trent Brown, have structured their contracts around moving to Nevada. Last month, the Raiders gave Mr. Brown a four-year, $66 million offer. Often, players prefer to have more of their money up front. But Mr. Brown’s contract pays him $15.25 million next year, before jumping by 40 percent to $21.5 million in 2020. That’s when the Raiders are scheduled to move to Southern Nevada.
Brown’s patience will save him hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s because the top income tax rate in California, which Mr. Brown would face, is 12.3 percent. Then, just for good measure, there’s a 1 percent Sacramento surcharge on those who earn more than $1 million a year in taxable income. Nevada has no personal income tax.
“Once we get into starting to structure contracts that cross over into the Nevada time frame, we’ve already seen a bunch of agents ask questions and want to know when it’s going to be,” Oakland general manager Mike Mayock said in February.
“Really, the genesis of that is, hey, you go from 13 percent to zero percent. That’s pretty good pop in a contract.”
The Raiders gave safety Lamarcus Joyner an $8 million roster bonus. Mr. Joyner will wait to receive his fully guaranteed bonus until 2020 — when he won’t have to pay California state income taxes on it.
Sunny Shah, Mr. Joyner’s agent, said they structured the contract that way to “take advantage” of “moving to a state with no state tax.”
Many progressives pretend that tax rates have little effect on behavior. That’s willful ignorance. The vast majority of wage earners prefer to keep more of their own money and will take the steps necessary to limit their tax bills.
That includes self-proclaimed socialist and Democrat presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders. He released his tax returns on Monday. The Free Beacon found that the Republican tax cut plan saved him almost $40,000 last year. He kept that money instead of giving it to the government voluntarily.
The relocation of an NFL franchise is a unique event. But California’s high cost of living is driving away lower earning residents as well. From 2007 to 2016, net migration resulted in 1 million people leaving the Golden State. The destinations of choice were Texas, Arizona and Nevada, where taxes and housing prices are more reasonable.
Big-spending politicians often act as if they can raise taxes without consequences. Wrong. These Raiders players provide yet another example to Nevada’s lawmakers about the value of fostering a low-tax and reasonable regulatory environment.