One prevailing stereotype of Californians—shared by state residents as well as red-state politicians and the Trump Administration—is that we pay higher taxes than anyone else in the country.

A national consumer website, WalletHub, this month has released its 2018 Taxpayer Survey, as well as its yearly Tax Rates by State report. And it shows that when you take into account all kinds of taxes that we pay, Californians pay overall tax rates that are among the lowest in the U.S.—not the highest.

The survey features a wide range of facts about people’s opinions on taxes, and the tax rate report compares the cost of the average person’s various obligations in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The report discovered that states with no income tax aren’t always the cheapest overall, as they tend to have higher sales and property taxes.

California ranked 8th lowest among all states for it “Overall Effective State and Local Tax Rate,” according to the survey.

Broken down, California had the 11th lowest income tax, and the 17th lowest real estate tax rates.
The state ranked less well—around the median—for vehicle property tax, 27th and 30th lowest for sales and excise taxes.

The website’s annual taxpayer survey reported that fewer than 4 in 10 people are happy with President Trump’s tax reforms: 69 percent of people think the reforms are better for corporations than consumers, and 67 percent think they benefit the rich more than the middle class.

The survey also revealed that:

90 percent of people think the government currently does not spend their tax dollars wisely

30 percent of people say making a math mistake is their biggest fear when filling out tax forms

37 percent of people would move to a different country for a tax-free future

22 percent would switch political parties.

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  1. Dear Mr. Holtzclaw,
    In 38 years of representing small and very small business owners in Gilroy, Hollister, Morgan Hill, and surrounding areas, I’ve never met one who thought his/her tax burdens were light, as your Editorial suggests. Just the opposite is true.
    And when you see them at the Bankruptcy Court, their cry is, “Why does our government persecute us so much.”
    I’ve been on Gavilan Employers Advisory Council, and served three years on Gov. Wilson’s Regulatory Reform Roundtable.
    RRR’s conclusion, which Gov. Wilson adopted in his Executive Order, was California’s taxes/fees are too high, its burdensome, crucifying, strangling and suffocating regulations to onerous, and they ought to be reduced.
    Unlike the President’s current Executive Order to reduce regulations on business, the California Legislature did just the opposite, even creating new crucifying, strangling and suffocating regulatory agencies and regimes.
    Why don’t you ask local small business owners if they’re happy about unannounced joint regulatory agencies’ “sting” operations?
    While serving on GEAC, we had local employers being subjected to inspections, while at the same time unregulated, unlicensed gray market businesses were operating on Monterey Street, including the bar with under-age lap dancers.

    Tax Freedom Day in California would be much later in the year if the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of a “tax” were followed in California, rather than the California Supreme Court’s illogical decision in Sinclair Paint Co. v. State Board of Equalization (1997), 15 Cal.4th 866 (a government imposed “fee” is not a “tax”).
    So, in giving speeches I’ve held up two dollar bills, and asked the small business owners which one was for payment of the “tax” and which one for payment of the “fee” that they pay. Of course, they saw no difference. Is there any wonder why? Tax or fee, they both get the same money from the small business owner, like your employer.
    Having trouble staying open? One editor today, whereas we had three in the past, one for each town’s paper?
    If you had been with me at the Bankruptcy Courts, from San Diego to Redding, in all four Federal Districts in California, during the past 38 years, then I don’t think that you’d write about California’s low rate of taxation.

    After reading what you wrote, I ask: “What planet are you from?”

    My personal experience is that our California government leaders have us on the Road to Serfdom. They are taxing us out of the State, in droves. Local government kowtows to Sacramento, worsening business failures and job flight. Yet, you never report it. Why not?

    That is not what your Editorial suggests. So, where are the myth busters at the Dispatch Office? I’ll drop bye ASAP.

    Joseph P. Thompson, Esq.
    Past-President (2x), Gilroy-Morgan Hill Bar Assn.
    Charter Member, SBCCOG Citizens Rail Advisory Committee,
    Charter Member, SBCCOG Citizens Transit Task Force
    Gilroy 408-848-5506

    When are you going to report the fraud, waste and abuse at COG? I’ve got hundreds of letters about it if you want them shared with your reporters.



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