SUPCO Rules Cleveland "Jock Tax" Unconstitutional
The Republican-controlled Ohio Supreme Court has ruled Cleveland's tax on professional athletes who work for short periods of time in the city unconstitutionally violates their due process rights. Brian Bull of member station WCPN in Cleveland reports.
The City of Cleveland has a “games played” tax model. That means the city imposes a 2 percent income tax on the games a visiting athlete plays in Cleveland, divided by the total number of games in the season.
But Hunter Hillenmeyer, a former player with the Chicago Bears, brought suit against Cleveland saying the city overtaxed him. The Ohio Supreme Court agreed and told Cleveland it should tax pro athletes for games played in the city, divided by their overall income. That amounts to a smaller percentage of the player’s paycheck.
Ohio justices also ruled that Cleveland could not tax an injured Indianapolis Colts player who stayed home during a game against the Browns in 2008.
The court stopped short of eliminating the tax altogether.
Cleveland estimates the jock tax raises about one-million dollars annually, from visiting NFL, MLB, and NBA players.
A call left with the City of Cleveland’s legal department was not returned