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With all this excitement over national elections, taxpayers may have lost count of how much their state government is taking from them. Fortunately, veteran Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters has been keeping track. By his count, “California’s state and local governments hit us with about $250 billion in taxes every year, $6,000-plus per Californian.” This works out to 11 percent of personal income, the sixth-highest level of any state, based on Tax Foundation data.
Before the 1978 Proposition 13, “state and local taxation was 12.2 percent of personal income, the nation’s fourth highest.” If that was the case today, California would tie with New Jersey for number 3, behind New York and Connecticut, at 12.7 and 12.6 percent respectively. In 1978, voters aimed to lower and limit taxes. For the government establishment, however, it’s just the opposite. As Walters notes, the California School Boards Association wants a whopping $42 billion more for K-12 education, already the state’s biggest expenditure, with not exactly stellar results. A tax hike along those lines would turn back the clock to before Proposition 13 and grab a full 13.5 percent of personal income, “the highest of any state in the last four decades.” That has the columnist wondering, “how high is too high?” For taxpayers, that’s always a pertinent question.
Walters does not forget the November ballot measure to extend the temporary surtaxes of the 2012 Proposition 30. As we noted, this is a project of California’s government employees, the highest paid in all 50 states. California remains the least tax-friendly state, and as Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association observes, “No matter how high taxes are increased, it’s never enough for public officials and bureaucrats who live off taxpayer funded paychecks.” In the Golden State, government greed is truly fathomless.