Legislation being introduced at the Capitol would allow Olympic athletes to avoid paying state income taxes on medals won during the spring and summer games.
Under current law, Olympic athletes who win a medal or prize money at the games have to report those winnings on their taxes. State Representative Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) argues it’s not fair to penalize them for doing well. “We want to encourage these athletes, and really reward them for all of the personal sacrifice that they put into getting to that level of being able to compete,” he says.
The New Berlin Republican is co-sponsoring a bill with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) that would keep them from having to report those winnings on their income taxes. The exemption would not apply to any money they earn from endorsement deals.
Sanfelippo says the examption would likely cost the state just a few thousand dollars in revenue in years where the games are held. “It’s a very symbolic gesture,” he admits, but he argues even the modest savings could be important to younger athletes.
Sanfelippo says the “victory tax repeal” is similar to a federal exemption that was signed into law last October.