Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The real reason Cliff Lee chose Phillies over Yanks?

It's cheaper here than with the Yankees, says a local tax accountant

The real reason Cliff Lee chose Phillies over Yanks?


While New York sports reporters puzzle over why pitcher Cliff Lee would prefer a reported $100 million, five-year deal to return to the Phillies, instead of a potentially richer offer from some team in New York, Horsham tax accountant John Kostenbauder  points out one advantage:

Living and playing in New York City, Lee faces a combined city-state tax rate of 11.5% for home games.

Living in Philadelphia's Pennsylvania suburbs and playing at the Phillies' stadium down in South Philly, Lee would pay just 6.6%.

Living in South Jersey, as so many Philadlephia pro athletes do, state income tax would zoom to almost 9%. "But New Jersey's property taxes are brutal," added Kostenbauder, a partner at the accounting firm WeiserMazars.

Of course, if income taxes were all Lee cared about, he'd try to get back to the Texas Rangers, who are located in one of the few states that still doesn't charge any income tax.

Kostenbauder suspects other factors, like compatability with the Phillies that Lee worked with in the 2009 World Series year, played a bigger role. Which is natural and healthy, he added: "We have a saying among tax accountants," when clients ask for advice on where to live without paying the government too much: "Don't let the tax tail wag your dog."


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About this blog

PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at and his Inquirer columns at Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph at or 215 854 5194.

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