Pro golfer Phil Mickelson may leave US in response to state, federal income tax hikes

Jessica Stanton Contributor
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Professional golfer Phil Mickelson told reporters Sunday that he is considering “drastic changes” in response to state and federal income tax hikes — including possibly leaving the United States.

“It’s been an interesting off-season. And I’m going to have to make some drastic changes. I’m not going to jump the gun and do it right away, but I will be making some drastic changes,” Mickelson said during a press conference following the Humana Challenge golf tournament in La Quinta, Calif.

When pressed by reporters about whether those “drastic changes” could include leaving California or even the United States, the four-time major championship winner didn’t foreclose the possibility. But he made clear the reason he is considering such drastic options is the massive tax burden he now shoulders. (RELATED: Millions flee California because of progressive tax system)

“But if you add up, if you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and the state, my tax rate’s 62, 63 percent. So I’ve got to make some decisions on what I’m going to do,” said Mickelson.

In November, California voters approved Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, which raised taxes on all state residents who earn more than $1 million in annual income. California now has the highest state income tax rate in the nation. (RELATED: Jindal proposes elimination of income and corporate taxes in Louisiana)

Earlier this month, as part of a deal to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff,” Congress allowed Bush-era income tax cuts to expire for upper-income Americans.

Mickelson has collected $73 million in career earnings according to Forbes magazine. His endorsements total $40 million per year.

He said he expects to provide more insight into his future plans next week during his hometown event at the Torrey Pines Golf Course near San Diego.

“I’ll probably be in the media center and I’ll probably be a little more open to it because San Diego is where a lot more things, it’s where I live, it’s where the Padre thing was a possibility, and it’s where my family is,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson had been considering making a bid to become a part owner of his hometown baseball team, the San Diego Padres. In December he announced that he was not pursuing the opportunity because he wasn’t ready to make “that kind of long-term commitment to the city.”

“I think to be involved with the Padres you have to be fully committed to the long term,” Mickelson told U-T San Diego in December. “I’ve been born and raised here, but at this moment I’m not able to make that kind of long-term commitment to the city and to the team.”

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