California industry coalition fights proposed golf tax

A coalition of California golf industry organizations, owners, operators, vendors and related enterprises has been organized to fight a tax on golf course greens fees proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
 
The group’s website, www.ForeCalifornia.com, urges opposition to the proposed tax, which in some California cities could add more than 10 percent to current greens fees if imposed.
 
According to Bob Bouchier, executive director of the California Alliance for Golf, which sponsors the website, the golf tax is lumped into the governor’s proposal for what is being called an “entertainment tax,” although the tax would also include business transactions as varied as veterinary services, oil extraction and car repairs.
 
“Golf is lumped in, but it is singled out because there is no other recreational sport in there, although if you went to a professional sporting event in California, you would pay an additional tax under the proposal,” Bouchier said. “We have been singled out as an industry as a target.” 
 
Bouchier and other opponents of the tax argue that the vast majority of golfers play at public courses, and that many of those are senior citizens, weekend municipal course players or juniors who would be severely impacted by the additional cost to play. In turn, park programs that include golf courses would suffer from the loss of revenue, jobs at the course and in related industries like hotels and resorts would be slashed, and already slim or non-existent course operating margins could force owners to close. 
 
No date has been set for a vote on the governor’s proposal by the state Legislature, but the latest date for implementation of the tax was scheduled to be April 1 of this year, although that could change. Bouchier said that as of late January, more than 2,000 people had supplied the website with names and emails in opposition to the tax. 

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