National golf today

Today is National Golf Day! And it’s a good time for golfers to think about the proposed sales tax on playing golf in California. For more information, check out www.forecalifornia.com.

Today, golf representatives are carrying the message of golf’s “positive impacts to lives and livelihoods” on the second annual National Golf Day. Here in California, while many golf courses are struggling in the current economic environment, golf remains a vital contributor through jobs and charitable giving to the Golden State.

WHAT GOLF MEANS TO CALIFORNIA

160,000 jobs, directly in golf and in hospitality, retail and landscape employment
$6.9 billion in revenue, in 2006, to the California economy, contributing substantially to the state through tourism, property taxes, income taxes and taxes on golf merchandise

The biggest current threat to golf is a proposal to expand the sales tax to the playing of golf. Such a tax would negatively impact a golf industry integral to California’s tourism and recreational economy at a time when the industry is already reeling from the recession, with fewer rounds being played and more courses closing than opening (see attached document).

In this environment, a proposal to tax golf will be detrimental to “working stiff” golfers who constitute the great majority of those who play and to an industry that provides jobs and dollars for California’s economy.

You also may be surprised to learn that a golf tax will harm Californians who never pick up a golf club: Public golf courses provide critically needed financial support to vital city-county pool, playground and park programs enjoyed by kids and adults across the state.

It was reported in the Los Angeles Times that the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks receives half of its $30-million revenues from golf fees. A loss of golf rounds from the tax will hurt the bottom line of park programs, which are already facing budget cuts. That means less money for a wide variety of services that, helped by golf, enrich many people’s lives–including child care and after school youth programs and senior classes/field trips and meal programs. Said the Los Angeles Times in an article today on efforts to increase appreciation of the benefits that golf provides: “In Los Angeles, for example, a 6% drop in play at the municipal courses is expected to translate into about a $1-million drop in revenue to support recreation programs this year.”

Golf’s positive impacts in California include innovative industry initiatives on water conservation and recycling. The California Alliance for Golf is working proactively with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to achieve significant water use reductions, both in the current drought and in the longer term to address water stewardship issues.

For more information, please visit www.forecalifornia.com

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About Jill Painter

Jill Painter is a sports columnist for the Los Angeles News Group, covering everything from the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, USC, UCLA, Kings, golf and all human interest stories in sports.