Bill to exempt Olympians from being taxed on success
Rep. Mary Bono Mack explains effort
- Duration 6:31
- Date Aug 5, 2012
Rep. Mary Bono Mack explains effort
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Imagine spending nearly your entire life hitting the gym every day before the crack of dawn.
Running miles outdoors when the temperatures are below zero in some cases even moving away from your family.
All for a chance to become an Olympian.
Then you achieve your dreams and proudly represented the United States as you stand on the medal podium.
But the flag draped around your shoulders.
Next thing you know.
You get a knock on the door from good old Uncle Sam asking you to pay up.
Medal winners most of them amateur athletes are going to be tax on the prize money that they earned.
Because they -- one of the top three spots in the Olympics California congresswoman Mary Bono Mack along with north Carolina's GK Butterfield.
Have introduced a bill to be exempt our olympians from being taxed on their success.
Congresswoman -- joins me now.
Congresswoman -- you and a Democrat have joined together.
In saying we really don't wanna punish our athletes for being successful tell me how -- the bill come about for years.
Well first of all I think we're all in middle of Olympic fever right now when we heard the story about Ireland -- being taxed for winning medals.
We started talking about it and went to my ranking member speak to is excited about introducing something to stop this this new discriminatory tax if you will.
From going into effect.
It helps that we've -- really got the Olympic fever right now we're so excited about her Lincoln's.
And just happy -- have a bipartisan.
Bill on the table to save them from this tax.
This is sort of set the stage athletes get 25000 dollars if they win a gold.
They get -- -- 101000 dollars 151000 dollars for silver and ten for a bronze medal.
And this is money essentially it's a stipend for all the months and years of preparation that they have had to be away from income producing opportunities it's a tiny -- and some amount of money especially to that level of success.
But the IRS since 1984 has said that that's taxable income.
And we've got to a full screen we'll take a look at it if if they win a gold it's almost 9000 dollars.
-- 5300 dollars if they win a silver and 3500 dollars if they won a bronze.
I don't think the federal treasury is somehow gonna get out of debt congresswoman if if we assess our medalist these these taxes.
What do kind of response are you getting from your colleagues in congress to end taxing the Olympic mountains.
That's a great question governor it's probably great response from my colleagues that for my constituents back home to.
They think this is outrageous.
There's so appreciative of all of the hard work in the dedication the years of sacrifice -- olympians have put into their careers.
You know the Americans are not very to win money I mean that's ridiculous there -- -- To show that they're the best in the world and perhaps more importantly they're there to show that the United States is the best in the world.
It you know that's what this is all about so.
The feedback from my constituents and my colleagues is overwhelmingly supportive and they're really scratching their heads.
Why the IRS has really monitoring what happens in London right now.
Only eight out of 34 countries that participating in the Olympics even tax -- -- on the part of the athletes.
I think a lot of this week -- this and I just found out about it this week myself in a first reaction is my gosh these are people who are giving America a good name.
Taxing them might give us a bad name so.
And how did you first come to know about it and when did you say I gotta do something -- you got 435 members of congress but.
You're the one who took up this lead with congress congressman Butterfield so.
Tell us why it would became so important to -- Well it actually again -- I think the news bubbled up through the media.
My staff was watching the Olympics and they said wait this is wrong -- look at this let's let's introduce a bill.
Interestingly enough you know my bill is not the only one that was -- was dropped that day I know that Marco Rubio is is on board and he's pushing an effort.
-- -- colleagues in the house in -- rockets also pushing an effort people saw the news saw the story.
Again we're so proud of what's happening I'm especially proud of our female -- this right now.
But we all saw the story and was just wanted to jump on it as quickly as we could.
We're so proud of our athletes you know where -- -- that they're out -- showing the very best that the United States has to offer.
And I think every American's can say hey let's thank them not tax them.
Have you have you heard whether the president will sign the bill -- it makes it through both houses of congress.
I have I have not heard that but again you know my ranking member GK Butterfield from North Carolina.
-- -- -- he's a great number we worked together on a lot of issues we certainly don't agree on everything.
But on this one I have his strong support I really enjoy working with him and and I to dissipate that his relationship with the White House will help in that and that effort.
What about -- this bill apply retro actively to this year's Olympic champions are would -- only be going far.
Now -- very importantly would be retroactive in this is organs would be covered.
Well that's got to be good news for them.
Especially Michael -- because I got Michael maybe one of the few guys who's gonna earn enough medals that this could amount to some serious pocket change for him.
But yeah you know I've not talked to a single person personally.
Who thought that we ought to be taxing these athletes because I think we feel that they are providing for all of us and for our country.
A great moment of national pride at a time when we can use some good news is almost like we ought to not only forgot -- taxes we had to get my whole lot more money.
And I hope they'll learn -- in endorsements they probably -- but they really do bring extraordinary sense of patriotism and national pride to the country.
There's so right governor and it it's important you know we like to give -- ticker tape parades we like to celebrate them.
It's also important remember that.
They've sacrifice much of their lives to get to this moment to stand on that podium they shouldn't be dreading the IRS when they get home they should be looking forward to.
A ticker tape parade in the gratitude the American people have.
Not only that but -- inspirational to us we love what they do.
We all are they're celebrating with them nobody wants to think about the IRS at a moment with somebody standing on the podium you know celebrating their gold medal.
Well I appreciate what you're doing I think it's a great and noble effort it may be one of the few bipartisan piece -- -- legislation that makes it through this congress.
And after you get this one done.
Maybe you can work on tax relief.
For the rest of us to congress I went well thanks so pleasure being here great to talk.