A frequent visitor to our website emailed us s few days ago to tell us how excited he was to have won a radio contest to attend the NBA All Star Game in Toronto on the 14th of February. Included were 3 nights,4 days in a first class hotel, tickets to the NBA All Star game, and the free throw contests held the night before. Great deal right, maybe not. While you may be lucky enough to live in one of the 11 states that won't make you pay income tax on winning a contest, there are still 39 states that are going to hit you up. In addition to that there are our friends at the Federal level who are not as benevolent as say California, which is one of the states that won’t pick your pocket. So while our friend could not believe his luck in winning a $3,700.00 contest, after awhile he figured out he could not afford to go. What you have to factor in is transportation cost for 3 nights and 4 days. Then there is eating out; breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and if you so choose, the drinks. We looked at 10 "affordable” restaurants in Toronto and averaged out the cost of B, L, and D. Breakfast was $12, lunch, $22, and dinner (supper) was $29 with prices in Canadian dollars. Transportation from airport to hotel was 70 bucks each way with a cab fare cost of $4.25 at the start and $3.68 per mile. These are just the basic prices.
Before I begin to rant here is my point. Most people would be more than willing to pay for these expenses and why not, winning the contest is a great deal and I am not slamming the contest holders for not providing meals, they gave away very generous prize packages, but in this case our player decided not to claim his prize after finding out it is going to cost him approximately $925.00 in combined state and Federal taxes and there probably are plenty of people like this poor guy. He won a fantastic prize, but because of the tax system he can't afford to go on the free NBA All Star package he won; that to me is pretty sad and wright or wrong, thats my two cents.