Watercooler Stories

By ALEX CUKAN, United Press International  |  April 12, 2004 at 8:24 AM
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Taxpayers balk at paying higher taxes and politicians like to avoid raising the taxes of their constituents, but the "jock tax" suits both.

Money earned by an athlete or performer while playing in that particular city or state gets taxed -- politicians like it because taxes are raised from people out of town. Cincinnati levies a 2.1 percent jock tax, CNN/Money reports.

Begun in California in 1991, the Golden State levied the first jock tax on athletes from Chicago, right after the NBA's Chicago Bulls beat the Los Angeles Lakers.

Most states with a professional sports team now impose a tax on athletes and the tax has been extended to entertainers and their entourages.


Hollywood directors like Peter Jackson, who made "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, are being courted by computer games manufacturers.

Ken Kamins, Jackson's manager, says his client realized while making the trilogy that "while a film experience for an audience is over after two or three hours, a successful game experience, if it captures the imagination, can last for days."

Last year in the United States video games sales generated $10 billion in revenue, while the U.S. box office trailed at $9.5 billion, the New York Times reports.

"No one is going to make any money, no matter how famous," Cody Alexander, an agent at William Morris, cautioned, "unless they make a game that people want to play over and over and over again."


For decades a half-mile strip of Francis Lewis Boulevard in Queens, N.Y., has been used for drag racing -- often with souped-up cars.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says the police cracked down on the organized drag racing by charging 27 drivers with reckless endangerment and seizing 16 cars and 33 motorcycles -- but that was 1995, Newsday reports.

Recently two teens were seriously injured and neighbors say dozens of men watched drag racers racing at 90 mph.

Brown says, however, these recent races were done on the spur of the moment.

"Two kids come to a light in hopped-up cars, one kid waves a $50 bill at the other and says, 'Do you want to run?' " Brown said. "They make their deal and they take off at the light."


American taxpayers have been slow to embrace the option of paying their federal income tax with a credit card.

According to a study of 1,000 American adults conducted by Ipsos-Insight, 63 percent of U.S. adults are aware the Internal Revenue Service accepts credit cards, but only 1 percent plan to use that option.

"The barrier to broader use is clearly the large convenience fees being charged directly to the taxpayer for this service," Greg Mahon, vice president with Ipsos-Insight's Financial Services, says in a statement.

"Most consumers are looking for ways to trim $100 here and there from their tax bill, not add $100."

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