Written by Richard Rider, Chairman of San Diego Tax Fighters
One of the more enduring progressive criticisms of California’s Prop 13 limits on property taxes is that it “starved” California governments. Supposedly our property taxes are lower than most other states where property owners pay their “fair share.” Attacks on CA homeowners are targeted at the long term residents — the evil old people (mostly white) who have on average lived longest in their homes.
Compared to other states, we pay PLENTY of property taxes. The median California homeowner pays 53.6% more property tax than the national average. And remember, this average INCLUDES the huge state of California!
Texas — hated by progressives — has a high property tax rate, but the median CA homeowner property tax bill is 23.5% higher than the median TX homeowner’s property tax. That’s because California’s government-mandated shortage of homes and high home building costs make our abodes far more expensive than Texas. Indeed, the cost of CA properties is considerably higher than found in all states except Hawaii, where EVERYTHING is expensive.
The relationship between high state property tax bills and a state’s politics is dramatically indicated in the chart. Of the worst ten states, nine are liberal bastions (CA is 7th worst) — and have been for decades. The notable exception is New Hampshire. But NH is the only state that has no income tax AND no sales tax.
MAYBE one could justify California’s high property tax — if our other CA taxes were low. They aren’t.
CA has the top THREE state income tax brackets — an Olympic sweep! CA has the second highest total capital gains tax rate in the world — only Denmark is higher. CA also has the highest state sales tax rate. And the highest total gas taxes. And by far the highest diesel taxes. CA has the highest state corporate income tax rate west of Iowa (our economic competitors). The exception is Alaska, but no one moves their corporation to Alaska.
BOTTOM LINE: CA is awash in tax revenue. We don’t have a revenue problem — we have a SPENDING problem. The LAST thing the Golden State needs is higher taxes. But in 2020 there will be a deluge of tax increase propositions on the CA state and local ballots.