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« Jarrod Lyle Eyes 2014 Return To PGA Tour | Main | Coming Down Under: Jurassic Park Golf Resort And Wax Museum? »

"Taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize sports organizations already benefiting widely from willing fans and turning a profit"

Reader David passed along Tom Coburn's (R-Oklahoma) "Waste Book," released just before the election where the senator outlined wasteful spending by the United States government. Coburn's full quote:

"Taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize sports organizations already benefiting widely from willing fans and turning a profit, while claiming to be non-profit organizations."

Among the examples of waste cited by Coburn? The non-profit, 501(c) status of professional sports leagues, namely the NFL and PGA Tour.

Unfortunately, whoever wrote the report for Coburn (A) does not know the difference between the PGA Tour and PGA of America, and (B) he neglects to mention the PGA Tour's charitable donations, especially compared to the other leagues.

PGA Tour events have raised more for charity than all other pro sports leagues combined.

As evidence of for-profit activities, Coburn's Waste Book cites "PGA" commissioner Tim Finchem's $5.2 million salary in 2010 and "over $900 million in revenue, mostly through television rights, tournament earnings and sponsorships, and royalties."

From a Fox News report after the release of Coburn's book (PDF):

In all, the 2012 Waste Book report details 100 examples totaling nearly $19 billion. Coburn acknowledges that's a drop in the bucket in contrast to the overall federal deficit, which tops $16 trillion, but he says the items are snapshots of the bigger problem.

"Would you agree with Washington that these represent national priorities, or would you conclude these reflect the out-of-touch and out-of-control spending threatening to bankrupt our nation’s future?" he said.

The PGA Tour part of the report, screen-captured because I'm too lazy to transcribe:

In light of many professional golfers lamenting the election results and in particular, government debt, no doubt the PGA Tour's finest will agree with Coburn that the PGA Tour's tax status needs to be changed?

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Reader Comments (23)

You'd think that someone at Fox would know the difference between the deficit (1.1 trillion) in 2012 vs. the debt of 16 trillion. Well actually not. The 19B should be related to the deficit not the debt.
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone Else
Is Coburn a Thunder fan?
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
Pretty sure the players don't get it and really don't want to get it, as long as their world isn't changed. If it is, they'll blame Obama.
11.13.2012 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
love how no matter what the topic when it comes to the government people bash the players because they are rich. anymore, being rich and successful has become a sin. Jealousy is at all-time high and everyone wants a piece of the pie no matter whether they are deserving. Seems the less you make, the bigger piece people want. Its a country of entitlements.

Fact is government is the biggest waste of taxpayer money. Whether its investing in Solyndra's that go bankrupt, the never ending bureaucracy, the unproductive taxpayer funded government jobs, if the government would become a tiny bit efficient we'd get yearly deficit under control. hard to make money when they waste it like they do. And now the solution is to increase capital gains and dividend tax, which will decrease investment while leading to more compliance gov jobs. America is in a free fall.
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie
Thsnk goodness for the thousands and thousands of volunteers who donate their time to make the events and charitable donations possible..
11.13.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjstiles
@charlie----Amen brother! You said it all there!
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterViz
@Charlie, " Its a country of entitlements."

Couldn't agree more, Charlie. Heard a story on the news about war veterans trying to apply for disability benefits through the VA and I said "WTF?!" Who do these entitled veterans think they are wanting special handouts from the government for their injuries from combat? Paul Azinger is totally right when he says we should slash entitlements. I like my vets poor, injured, and living in a van down by the river.
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJosh
No one is bashing players for being successful.
They are being bashed for their dim witted remarks about why the country is in its current state.
And the hypocrisy of claiming that the countries issues are due to too many hand outs and freebies, when they and the tour are benefiting from one of those freebies.
If you cant see it , you are not looking.
As far as that wasted government investment , yeah I tell you all the scientific advances from the military and space exploration are a real drag on the economy.
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterQrispy2
Well the gov't had to do SOME-thing to keep the bread and circuses going while financial Armageddon was taking place. Folks tend to embrace "escape" while living vicariously through others. (ie Sports, Entertainment, Political Theatre, etc)

This book unfortunately is about 20 yrs too late. The horse has long left the pasture, let alone the barn.
11.13.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Colburn is as red a republican as they come. What's Zinger have to say about this idea to remove 501 status from the tour? Is that crickets I hear Paul?
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterP dog
I don't think Charlie was calling out the Military in his "entitlements" comment per say. The Military should get all the monies they deserve for defending our Country. There are loads of people working the system is what I think he was referring to.
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterViz
Oh, come on, Greg. Unless it appears on Fox News and EIB Network it cannot be true! MIT Press? Nothing but a bunch of liberals who live in the reality-based community, as opposed to those who make their own reality.

P dog asks a good question. Zinger? The world awaits. Actually, not really.

Loads of people working the "system"? Shall we call roll? Blankfein, Dimon, Pandit, Lewis, Greenberg, Welch, Trump, Immelt, Paulson I, Paulson II, Corzine, Altman, Summers, Rubin, Orzag, Bowles, Peterson, Koch I, Koch II, Simpson, Emanuel, Daley, Geithner, Whitman, Fiorina, Petraeus (oops), Kelly, Howell III, Mayfair, Toms, Stricker, Leonard, Perry, Scott, Appleby, Donald...

"Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."
–Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
@Viz and Charlie the military is the biggest chunk of the budget, by far. Then there are those damm pesky programs like social security that we all pay into and health insurance for kids (god dang those 5 year olds should be able to fend for themselves). Stupid government too caring about clean air, or that food and drugs are safe. So wasteful.
11.13.2012 | Unregistered Commenterelf
KLG +1

I for one am tired of the wolves in sheep's clothing that has become of foundations and tax breaks for the rich so they can pay less to make more because of their special tax bracket. They all do it, even the for profits.
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Strangelove
@josh Very funny stuff
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterOl harv
Can anyone explain how the PGA Tour charitable contributions are actually made. I had the understanding that it was the local charity that ran the event and receive revenue, and after its expenses, it would make the caritable contributions, not the Tour. The Tour would essentially arrange for the entertainers (players), provide the various game officials, and assist in the promoton of the event. The local charity would be responsible, with the Tour's assistance, arranging sponsorship (money to pay the players, the officials, and money to pay the Tour).

I know that I am probably all wrong. That's why I'm asking.
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHBL
why does the non profit USGA have about 250 m ??
11.13.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
"Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."
–Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

When do we get the civilized society?
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterWalt Dropo
Hey, it's a work in progress...Don't pay your taxes and you get Somalia, perhaps Greece. In either case there is no golf.
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Josh, they have it good... they are living *under a bridge* in a van ,etc......
11.13.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
I am always amazed at the stupidity of our elected officials. If the illustrious representative had thought a little bit more about the non-profit issue he might have saved a few trees before he wrote his book. Where does he think all that sports revenue from TV etc goes? For the NFL, it goes to the teams who pay taxes on it. For the PGA Tour it goes to charity, prizes money to players (who pay taxes) as well as other expenses. Even the salary of Tim Finchem is subject to taxes. Ultimately except for charitable donations most of the revenue goes out to taxable entities. Maybe I am missing the point but is this non-profit status really a drain on the republic? Even if it were revoked tomorrow, net tax revenue to the government would end up about the same.
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn M
John M

I agree net taxes would be about the same so why should any entity be exempt from tax making another entity have a higher risk profile or on unequal competitive footing?
11.13.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPABoy

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