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Mr. Hodge countered that the stack of tax returns for each state can be “a nightmare,” especially for athletes who cannot afford professional help, and there is precedent for home states shifting their tax-credit rules.

Mr. Evans is confident the athletes will be reimbursed by their home states to avoid double taxation, a practice akin to a commuter tax.

The council member, who serves as chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, said critics of the proposal will probably see the athlete tax as a “camel’s nose under the tent,” or bridge to a broader tax that takes on lawyers, lobbyists or other professionals who shuttle into the District from high-priced homes in neighboring states.

Mr. Hodge shares their fears, given the number of professionals who cross into the District each day.

“This law could easily be extended to them,” he said.

Mr. Evans promised that his proposal will be limited to pro athletes, yet acknowledged the bill will require “the acquiescence” of representatives from Maryland and Virginia.

“We’ve gotten the raw end on so many other things,” Mr. Evans said. “This is a bone that someone can throw us, to be honest.”