ON-Lion Letter

Fifty-four percent of the 116 unrestricted free agents and 60% of players with no-trade clauses who changed teams in the National Hockey League (NHL) picked teams in places with lower taxes, according to an October report from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) and Americans for Tax Reform (ATR).

Compiled by CTF research director Jeff Bowes, Major Penalty for High Taxes examines the interaction between low tax rates and player movement in the NHL by analyzing federal, provincial, state, and local income and payroll taxes.  It also ranks teams on their "true cap" by comparing how tax rates of different teams interacts with the NHL salary cap.

"Successful hockey players can choose their team in free agency and thus, their hometown for tax purposes.  So can millions of Americans and Canadians who move from high tax areas to low tax areas," ATR president Grover Norquist said.  "Better than any poll, this tells us what taxpayers want:  lower taxes and less government."

The American teams with no state income tax have the lowest tax rates in the NHL.  In 2015, the Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and Tampa Bay Lightning are tied for first at 40.6%, according to the study.

The Montreal Canadiens have the NHL's highest tax rate, at 54.2% -- beating out the California teams, it found.  The Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks are tied for second-last at 53.1%.

Having a no-trade contract clause gives players the power to avoid being sent to high tax jurisdictions.  Tyler Myers saved the most, at $474,146, by moving from the Buffalo Sabres to the Winnipeg Jets.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation.

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