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LeBron James (23) signed a $153.3 million contract through the Los Angeles Lakers and also California will get its re-publishing in taxes. Photograph by open minded Franklin II, linked Press

In summary

Over the course of his four-year $153.3 million contract, LeBron James can pay an ext than $20 million in California income taxes. That’s around $1 for everyone in the state workforce.


Gov. Jerry Brown has gotten a most credit for California’s fiscal rebound. Once he came to office, the state budget was running a deficit that $27 billion; now, together Brown pipeline office, he’ll leaving his successor, Gavin Newsom, v a $15 billion merganser day fund.

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Thanks, Jerry! but Californians actually should be thanking other, richer Californians. Under the state’s steady tax structure, 46 percent of state income taxes space paid by the optimal 1 percent.

Tales of the rich supposedly fleeing the state’s high earnings taxes are hardy perennials, but California still leads the country in billionaires, and recent research studies have uncovered that, among greater earners, California has actually experienced a network gain.

In fact, one such report, by Stanford University’s facility on Poverty and Inequality and also the state Franchise taxation Board, came out this year right around the time a famed 1 Percenter announced the he was departing the snow belt to sign up with the Los Angeles Lakers.

LeBron James has been, in concept at least, a California taxpayer for numerous months now. Just how grateful need to the rest of united state in the gold State it is in to him because that his contribution?

As an illustration that the state’s fiscal dependency on the wealthy, and perhaps as solace to the shivering fans James left behind in Cleveland, let’s counting the ways.

First, what is a California 1 Percenter? it’s those do at least $580,429 a year, according to the state room of Finance.

And the average income of the 1 percent? $1.9 million. It is 23 times much more than the average California filer’s $83,256 income.


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Celebrities, moguls and also techies don’t just pay out of your paychecks, but any type of time castle cash in on your investments. As a result, California’s income taxes room much much more volatile due to the fact that the state treats funding gains, cooperation income and also dividends, interest and also rent—all the methods the wealthy make their money—the same as wages.

That volatility has spawned dispute in Sacramento around whether California demands tax reform. Newsom advises that when the economy records a cold, “our budget is going to record the flu.” (Check the end our taxes explainerfor a inside wall on whereby California’s tax dollars go.)

Newsom states there room a range of philosophies to help stabilize the state budget, including a sales tax on services, transforming property taxes, including an oil severance tax, and also adjusting earnings tax rates. While he acknowledges the risk, he hasn’t endorsed any type of plan yet.

But all else being equal, we have the right to make this back-of-the-envelope calculation:

Over the course of his four-year $153.3 million contract, James could pay more than $20 million in California income taxes. That’s around $1 for anyone in the state workforce. That also more than dual what he would certainly pay in Ohio if he preserved his residency there.

Thanks, LeBron!

Now, just how do I recognize James will file as a California resident? Well, ns don’t recognize for sure and the Lakers haven’t dubbed me back. But circumstantial evidence argues the p counters in ~ the California Franchise tax Board will figure it out.

“They recognize everything,” quips Larry Pon, a CPA based in Redwood City. “This one customer said he stayed in Florida but the FTB agent asked, ‘How he is in Florida, once I see ATM withdrawals in Sunnyvale and also credit card charges in Palo Alto?’ an additional guy asserted he wasn’t a residents California however there’s a passport stamp mirroring the day he arrived in California.

“There’s a many of proof of where you are and California is walking to get its re-superstructure of taxes.”

Where you room taxed is generally based on residency and also work. California checks off both. Yes his $21 million mansion in Brentwood. Then there’s his 2nd $23 million mansion in Brentwood. And his son, LeBron James Jr., attends a private school in Santa Monica—you can capture the video of LeBron Sr. In the stands in ~ his basketball game on YouTube.

Even together a part-year resident, hell pay on the games he’s played in California because signing with the Lakers in July. All experienced athletes pay to the claims where they have actually games, claims wealth manager plunder Seltzer that Seltzer company Management in Century City.

“If he determined to continue to be in Ohio, he would then have actually California residency because that the 41 home gamings he has actually with Lakers, and for the gamings that that plays on the road with the Clippers, the Warriors and other California teams,” Seltzer says.

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