March 20, 2006

Economic War Between the States and NBA Tickets

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, state and federal lawmakers are mobilizing to rebuild New Orleans as quickly as possible. But Oklahoma lawmakers appear not to have gotten the memo.

The Big Easy's professional basketball team, the Hornets, has been playing its games in Oklahoma City while the hurricane cleanup is underway. Now Oklahoma lawmakers, in the words of one miffed Louisiana commentator, have gone "from being good hosts to doing whatever necessary to keep the Hornets permanently."

State lawmakers have enacted a sales tax exemption for tickets to professional basketball games in a naked effort to keep the Hornets from returning to New Orleans. As it happens, Louisiana law already contains the same exemption, so Oklahoma's tax break is just leveling the playing field between the two states.

But this is exactly the sort of "economic war between the states" that the ongoing Cuno Supreme Court corporate tax break case will hopefully resolve. For those who missed the fireworks two weeks ago, a transcript of the Court's Cuno debate is now available here.

This post was originally published in CTJ's Tax Digest, a weekly email that highlights state and federal tax trends across the country. If you'd like to subscribe to the digest send an email to:


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