The November election made California the highest-tax state in the nation by raising the top rate of state income tax to 13.3 percent, an increase of 29.13 percent. Sales tax now ranges from 7.5 percent to 10 percent in parts of Los Angeles County. But the same legislators who pledged fiscal restraint now want more money from the people.
Gasoline prices have already approached $6 a gallon in some parts of the state, but thanks to the state Board of Equalization consumers will be paying even more in July. That is because the Board has hiked the excise tax on gasoline by nearly 9 percent to 39.5 cents a gallon. Assembly Bill 1002 would raise the already high vehicle registration and renewal fee by $6, supposedly to encourage use of bicycles, busses, pedestrian walkways and such.
At the grocery store Californians will be paying five cents on every paper or plastic shopping bag thanks to Senate Bill 700, supposedly to raise money for cities and parks. Senate Bill 622 tags tea, sport drinks, energy drinks and other beverages with a tax of one penny per ounce. This is supposedly for the war on childhood obesity and to combat dental disease.
Californians often have cause to record various legal documents such as deeds, liens and so forth. Senate Bill 391 targets those with a new fee of $75. The measure will supposedly support affordable housing. Bullets are already subject to California’s high sales tax but Assembly Bill 760 imposes an additional tax of 5 cents for every bullet sold. The money from this tax increase is supposed to help mental health services.
A 9.9 percent oil severance tax will supposedly raise money for parks and education. Further, bars and restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages and offer anything resembling nudity get slapped with a tax of $10 per person under Senate Bill 782. The funds will supposedly be used to prevent sexual assault and provide treatment.
The state already apportions funds for all the purposes cited above, but evidently it’s not enough. This does not surprise Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, who told reporters “Our elected political class has an insatiable appetite for even more money.” And money is fungible, so the funds from all these measures may be used for other purposes or simply wasted.