I recently spent some time on the Internet investigating the governor's claims that Californians are the most highly taxed state, or nearly so. I found as follows:
  • California's property taxes under Proposition 13 are ranked in an Arizona study as 34th for residential property taxes and 41st for industrial property taxes under California's split-roll system.
  • California's state and local sales taxes per capita are ranked 15th per $1,000 of personal income in a Wisconsin study.
  • Our taxing of utilities ranks 12th per $1,000 of personal income in a Wisconsin study.
  • California's personal income tax ranks seventh greatest among the states at $3.22 per $100.00 of personal income per capita.
  • The state corporate income tax has a flat rate of 8.8 percent and is ranked sixth, but many corporations pay no taxes due to legal loopholes.
  • Cigarette taxes of 87 cents per pack are ranked 30th among the states, less than the U.S. median of $1 per pack.
  • Excise taxes on liquor ($3.30 per gallon) are ranked 19th among the states, less than the U.S. median of $3.75 per gallon.
  • Excise taxes on beer (20 cents per gallon) are ranked 43rd among the states, considerably less than the U.S. median of 69 cents per gallon.
  • The real estate transfer tax of $1.10 per $1,000 valuation is ranked 29th among the states.
  • Gasoline tax of 35.3 cents per gallon is ranked third among the states, most of which has been diverted to the state's general fund for years, last raised in 1994.
  • The recent increase of the state's vehicle license fee ("car tax") from .65 percent of the car's value to 1.15 percent raises the tax from 20th rank to about seventh, it appears, based on a Wisconsin study.

I concluded that Californians aren't overtaxed and that the governor's story is misleading.

This is evidence of the same old misleading and partisan tricks that cause us to be divided instead of illustrating a productive way for California to solve its problems.

President, Hemet Unified School District Governing Board
Director, Region 18, California School Board Association