Prop Zero
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Serena Williams, Not a California Taxpayer, Inducted Into Hall of Fame

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    NEWSLETTERS

    I play tennis and am a huge fan of Serena Williams. The story of the rise by her and her sister Venus to the top of the athletic world is a compelling California story.

    But I'm not sure it was right to induct her into the California Hall of Fame, a project of First Lady Maria Shriver. At least right now.

    What's the problem? Williams, according to news reports, isn't a California taxpayer. She and her sister live in Florida, which doesn't have a state income tax. This isn't a new phenomenon; other Hall of Fame inductees reside elsewhere. And Florida is a haven for rich athletes and entertainers who want to avoid state income taxes. Tiger Woods, inducted into the California Hall of Fame three years ago, also lives in Florida.

    But as near I can tell from public records, other inductees -- among them director James Cameron and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg -- live and pay taxes here. Why should this matter? It probably shouldn't, at least in ordinary times. But these aren't ordinary times for the state of California. When the state is cutting back on important public services, should we be honoring Californians who are living elsewhere, at least in part to avoid paying our taxes?