Recently, U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs), who represents Murrieta, pushed legislation through the House that would eliminate taxes on payments to athletes by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The USOC, like many other nations, gives specified cash gifts (or honoraruims) to medal-winning athletes.
"Taxing the Olympic medals of U.S. athletes is like Scrooge putting a tax on Christmas presents," Bono Mack and bill co-author G.K. Butterfield (N.C.) said in a joint statement Aug. 1. "It’s just wrong. Our athletes work and sacrifice for years to reach the pinnacle of their sports and to proudly represent the United States of America in the Olympic games. Only the U.S. tax code can turn the ‘thrill of victory’ into the agony of victory. We strongly urge our colleagues in Congress to join us in this effort to salute our U.S. Olympians. When they’re standing on the podium, they should be savoring the moment – not calculating their taxes. This is just one small way to say thank you to our Olympic medalists for their efforts and achievements."
Congresswoman Bono Mack further explained the reasoning for her bill in an Op-Ed piece in USA TODAY. The paper takes an opposing view, saying that payments for medals should be taxable like a performance bonus in any other career.
Bono Mack is running against challenger Raul Ruiz (D-Coachella) for the newly formed 36th Congressional District—which loses Murrieta—in November.