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Organization Seeks to Slice Proposal that Would Tax California Golfers


California lawmakers are evaluating a proposal to tax golf. A group called the California Alliance for Golf has launched a website (www.forecalifornia.com) that aims to fight the proposal now under consideration in the state capital of Sacramento.

According to the group, the proposed user-tax could increase fees as much as 10 percent and applies to all golf activities, including:

* Greens fees on all courses in the state
* Driving range fees
* Cart rentals
* Lessons
* Private club memberships and monthly dues
* Potential other golf-related items, such as tournament entries.

The proposal singles out golf for taxation when other sports and recreational activities - skiing, bowling, tennis, etc. - are not being similarly taxed. The group believes that the tax unduly penalizes California golfers and damages an industry important to the state's tourism and recreational economy.

If the tax passes the California legislature, the move could have national ramifications that could adversely affect golf across the U.S. Recent studies have shown that golf is a $76-billion-a-year industry, producing two million jobs that generate $61 billion in wages. In addition, golf's total annual impact on the U.S. economy is $195 billion. Efforts by individual states - and perhaps eventually the federal government - to tax the game could lead golfers now teetering on the financial brink to permanently store their clubs in the garage.

In other words, taxing golf serve as a financial disincentive to wield one's mashie and spoon, regardless of its physical and social benefits derived by its players.

The California Alliance for Golf recognizes that the state needs a budget fix - but it should not come at the expense of California's golfers and its golf industry. The group believes there are other solutions, and that lawmakers need to hear from California's golfers and others as well.

There is no cost to join the alliance, so those interested in airing their views on this tax proposal should visit www.forecalifornia.com.