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Missouri lawmaker wants umps to pay state tax

11/2/2005 - MLB

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A state lawmaker and St. Louis
baseball fan says umpires should pay -- literally -- for what he sees
as bad calls made during the playoff series in which the Cardinals
lost to the Houston Astros.

Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart, wants to expand the state athlete
and entertainer tax to also cover officials such as umpires and
referees. The tax is charged to out-of-state residents who earn
money in Missouri while performing in such events as baseball games
and concerts. Revenues are supposed to go to the arts, public
libraries and other cultural programs.

Roorda said his idea grew out of his frustration with umpires in
the National League Championship Series. But he also contends that
it is logical to tax the officials affecting a game's outcome, not
just the athletes who play it.

"I think if they're not going to pay attention, they ought to
at least pay taxes," Roorda said. "Seriously though, I think it's
good public policy. Referees and umpires play a critical role in
the outcome of this game and are part of the entertainment
experience."

Roorda said he doesn't know how much money would be generated by
the tax but guessed it wouldn't reach the amount Missouri could
have gained in tourism dollars if it hosted a World Series.

He plans to offer the tax legislation during the legislative
session that starts in January.