Will Olympia take away Seahawks' advantage recruiting free agents?

By JASON MERCIER  | 
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Apr 20, 2016

With the baseball season still in its infancy I know what you're thinking (to paraphrase Jim Mora): "Football! Don't talk about football! Are you kidding me?"

I can't help it. With the NFL draft just a few weeks away and free agency winding down as players start to report for training camp, it's never too early to think about next season. So what does this have to do with the obsession by some in Olympia for an income tax and the ongoing dominance of the Seattle Seahawks? 

The state Department of Commerce isn't the only one that highlights Washington's lack of an income tax as a competitive advantage and reason to move here. Many NFL teams from non-income tax states, including the Seattle Seahawks, do the same thing when wooing potential free agents. As reported by Forbes

While NFL GMs and coaches strategize their free agent game plan this week, the biggest advantage teams get may be decided in state legislatures.

Free agency officially opens Tuesday, and massive factor in where players sign are state income tax rates. Teams in states with low or no income tax have a huge advantage in that they can offer more vastly money to prospective free agents.

“Teams like the Dolphins, Cowboys, the Jaguars, the Seahawks—they’ll flaunt the fact they have no state tax,” accountant Robert Raiola, a.k.a. the “Sports Tax Man,” said in an interview with Bleacher Report.

In fact, the impact of state income taxes may work even more to the advantage of the Seahawks. Not that they've had any trouble recently beating division rival 49ers and QB Colin Kaepernick, consider the following concerning current trade rumors between the 49ers and Broncos

The proposed $4.9 million pay cut the Denver Broncos have reportedly asked quarterback Colin Kaepernick to accept this season might not be as dramatic as it first appears.

Due to the discrepancy in state income taxes in California and Colorado, the difference in net pay could mean the sides do not have to bend as far to reach a middle ground . . . 

California’s top individual income tax rate is 13.3 percent. Colorado's personal income tax system consists of a flat rate of 4.63 percent.

"There are many elements for a player to consider in a situation such as this, and one of those is state tax rates," Raiola said. "This is something that both sides have to be talking about. This isn't the first time, nor will it be the last time, that taxes play a role in a player's decision." 

So remember the next time lawmakers say "Go Seahawks!" that taxes really do matter. This is especially true when it comes to Washington's recruiting advantage, both for the Seahawks and other employers, by not having a state income tax.

Additional Information
Will state Supreme Court open floodgates for income taxes?
Graduated income tax amendment proposed