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Will New York State Income Tax Cost the Knicks LeBron James?

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: If things are on schedule, representatives of the New York Knicks are meeting with LeBron James who today becomes a free agent in the National Basketball Association. Now, many of you are saying, "Oh, come on, Rush, stick to the issues. Football's bad enough, golf's even worse, now, we gotta talk NBA?" No, we're not talking NBA. The New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets both want LeBron James. The Cleveland Cavaliers want him to stay in Cleveland, of course. Here's the decision LeBron James has to make, and let's just use his current contract. His contract just expired, was five years, $96 million. If LeBron James had earned that money in New York he would have had to pay an additional $12.34 million in state and city income taxes than, say, if he played in Miami or for the Dallas Mavericks or wherever there is no state income tax. So here you have these poor schlubs that run Madison Square Garden that own the Knicks and they're going to try to persuade LeBron James to move to New York to play for the Knicks and they gotta tell him, "By the way, you're going to pay about 12 to 15, maybe $20 million more in taxes in New York than you would if you --" they won't tell him but his agent will.

Now, I have a question for all of you do-gooders out there, what should LeBron James do? Should LeBron James decide to play for the Knicks and pay the additional taxes to show his compassion and to show he's willing to give something back, which is what we demand of our athletes, or should he not sign with the New York Knicks or the Nets, sign with the Miami Heat and pocket and use the additional money for his own economic stimulus? What would you do if you were LeBron James and somebody was going to offer you in excess -- remember, his old deal is $96 million over five years. Let's just make it up. Let's say somebody's going to pay him $140 million over five years. I don't know what it's going to be, but let's say that new number is gonna -- and, you know, taxes are going up next year, federal taxes going up, New York taxes are going up, if he goes to play for the Lakers, it's the same kind of situation. I don't think the Lakers are in the running, but regardless, what would you do?

Now, I'm going to make a prediction. (interruption) What, Snerdley, what, what? Yeah, okay. Snerdley says you are making my prediction come true even before I make it. Snerdley said, "Well, there's more to New York than just the taxes. New York versus Miami? Come on. Yeah, I've made that call, and where am I?" In fact, for a guy like LeBron Miami is more -- I mean you got South Beach down there, you got Dwyane Wade down there playing for the Heat. Here's my point. A lot of you are probably saying, "I would go to the team that I really wanted to play for regardless the extra taxes because even at $140 million, even if I have to pay an additional 15 or $20 million, look at what I will have left over." I know a lot of people will say that. Until you earn it, and then you will totally change your mind about it. But my question to you is, is LeBron James, if he chooses to play for the Miami Heat or the Mavericks, I don't know if they're in the running -- let's say if he chooses a team with no state income tax, and saves 12 to $20 million dollars a year in taxes, is he being smart, is he being selfish, is he not being a good citizen? What is he?

Now, you people in Cleveland, of course, look at this in an entirely different way. You want to win the championship, he's the guy, and you're saying to the ownership, "Pay him, and whatever the additional taxes are essentially pay those for him." Well you can't legally do that, but you can up his gross so that he ends up with the net that he would have while not paying the taxes. But that's just gonna cost everybody more to do it. So I find it very fascinating. These guys from MSG are in there trying to sell LeBron James on coming to New York, or he'll probably live in Connecticut and commute down 'cause that's where they train, and drive all the way down to Madison Square Garden, maybe stop off at some restaurants after the games and head back home. And the Knicks where nowhere guaranteed to win anything. But it is New York. (interruption) Yeah, more endorsements and -- (interruption) with LeBron, I don't know, Snerdley. With LeBron James I'm not sure you get more endorsements just because you're in New York. (interruption) Well, okay. H.R. here, "He just wants to win the championship." Yeah, I've heard that, they want the ring, they want the ring, wants to win a championship. Yeah, okay, I'll buy that. Well, it ain't going to happen in New York. One guy can't make it happen. At any rate, I don't want to get into a discussion of who's gonna win the NBA championship, the finals next year. It's an interesting question. You know where this story is, is in Page Six of the New York Post today. It's a gossip story.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Chris in Myrtle Beach. Myrtle Beach? Don't tell me. Myrtle Beach. Yeah, he says California here, and I know there's no Myrtle Beach in California.

CALLER: North Carolina, Rush.

RUSH: Yeah. Welcome, Chris. How are you?

CALLER: Doing good, Mr. Limbaugh. You're my hero. I remember listening to you riding back from day care, and you've even inspired me to have my own talk show on my college campus. So...

RUSH: Wow. You remember me riding home from day care?

CALLER: I remember the old the EIB tune, "The daaaa-da!" if you will. So, yes, back when you were talking about Clinton. But my point today is --

RUSH: Wow. Wait. Let me ask you a question. Are you on a cell phone, Chris?

CALLER: Yes, sir.

RUSH: I want to conduct a test.

CALLER: Okay.

RUSH: I want you to count to ten. I don't want you to pause. I want you to go "one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten" when I tell you to and I'm going to say, "Chris, stop," and I want you to stop if you hear me okay?

CALLER: Okay.

RUSH: Go!

CALLER: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven --

RUSH: Chris, stop.

CALLER: -- eight...

RUSH: You heard me?

CALLER: I heard you.

RUSH: You heard me?

CALLER: Yes, sir.

RUSH: Okay, Brian, what did you do? You turned it on, didn't you? You finally turned it on just to make the host look bad. Here it was not working a moment ago, I do an on-air beta test, and he turns it on to make me look bad.

CALLER: (laughing)

RUSH: This is how comfortable my employees are, they'll make the host look... (interruption) All right. Chris, you have helped me with the test. What was the point today you wanted to make?

CALLER: Well, I heard you talking about LeBron James, if you will, and it's funny that you talk about him because this guy, this wacko reminds me a lot of our fearless leader, Barack Obama. I've got five reasons.

RUSH: Wait a second! Are you calling LeBron James a wacko?

CALLER: I think that the fact that he's trying to be a billionaire instead of win championships, that's a little wacko to me. The main goal of being an NBA complete is to win championships, not to be an international global superstar.

RUSH: (sigh)

CALLER: So yes.

RUSH: I think he's trying to do both. That's the reason for the decision.

CALLER: Well...

RUSH: I know this is a sentiment that's sprung up among fans ever since free agency hit the books in all sports. "Where's the loyalty to the team? Where's the loyalty to the fans? Where's the loyalty to the city? Stay in the city; help the team win. Who cares if it costs you 50 million? Where is your loyalty?" On the other hand, the players are saying, "I have an average of five years in this sport to make my money," and in the process, I might end up disabled, disfigured or in a wheelchair. So I'm going to go for my family and my security, and after I get that, then I'll think about giving something back." A lot of people are devoted to the ring, too. We'd all be pretty happy to be in LeBron James' situation today, other than facing $20 million in taxes in New York if he decides to go there.

END TRANSCRIPT

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