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New Bill Proposed Would Nix State Tax on Olympic Winnings

Winning an Olympic medal is a great thing, but in Wisconsin, if you win one, you'd better declare your winnings with the rest of your taxable income. Some state lawmakers are now trying to get rid of what they call the "Victory Tax."

The medals themselves are worth a few hundred dollars, but the US Olympic Committee also rewards medal winners with up to 25,000. Right now, the state of Wisconsin wants its piece of those Olympic winnings. 

"It's kind of a slap in the face." State Representative Joe Sanfelippo wants Olympic champions to stop giving a piece of their prize to Wisconsin. "We should be recognizing them for these achievements. There are only very few people in this world that are ever going to earn an Olympic medal."

Under Wisconsin tax law, an Olympic champion's winnings like the cash and even the price of the Olympic medal are counted as income. That means all that needs to be put on a state tax return. Sanfelippo's bill would make Olympic winnings exempt from state taxes. 

"It's rewarding our citizens who go out there and do this remarkable achievement and I don't see any reason why anybody would be against it," Rep. Sanfelippo said.

Milwaukee is also a favorite training ground for some Olympic level speedskaters. In response to Sanfelippo's bill, a US Speedskating Spokesman said:

"Earning a medal at the Olympics is a lifelong achievement that consists of many sacrifices. US Speedskating supports all the efforts that are being made to ensure athletes experience winning a medal for the United States to the fullest."

Last year, the federal government approved a law to stop taxing Olympic winnings. This state-level bill is modeled after that same law. legislators expect wide bi-partisan support for this bill and say it should become a law before next year's Olympic games in South Korea. 

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