Lawmakers nix bill that would exempt Olympians from paying taxes on their medals

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California’s Olympic athletes will be coming home to a mound of taxes on their medals after state lawmakers set aside a bill on Thursday that would exempt Olympians from those taxes.

The Senate Appropriations Committee shelved the measure after some senators questioned whether waiving taxes on Olympic medals would be fair. They pointed out that people who win other awards still have to pay Uncle Sam for their winnings.

Members also suggested that giving tax breaks in this instance may not be the best thing to do right now, given California’s current budget woes.

Republican Assemblyman Allan Mansoor of Costa Mesa had introduced the bill. Saulo Londoño, a representative from Mansoor's office, contends taxpayers wouldn’t have to worry about giving up extra dollars if lawmakers allowed an exemption on awards.

“This money comes from the Olympic Committee, which is fully funded by private and corporate donations," Londoño said. "There [are] no taxpayer dollars involved here so this is not a cost thing.”

The bill had attracted growing bipartisan support. Londono said Assemblyman Mansoor plans to retool and re-introduce the tax-break bill for Olympians at a future, to-be-determined date.

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