Maybe We Overdid It on the Whole Tax Thing, Californians Tell Pollsters


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Californians have shown a bit of a propensity for taxing the shit out of themselves and each other. Just a year and a half ago, voters in the Golden State went to the polls and approved a $6 billion tax hike with Proposition 30. This is a state that enthusiastically made its way to the Revenue Room at the House o' Pain and then promptly forgot its safe word.

Well, mostly. Maybe Californians are having second thoughts. While half of voters in the state call the tax system fair and majorities want to tighten the squeeze on corporations and "the wealthiest," a record 60 percent say they themselves are paying too much.

The results come in a wide-ranging poll (PDF) conducted last month by the Public Policy Institute of California. Asked, "Overall, how fair do you think our present state and local tax system is—would you say it is very fair, moderately fair, not too fair, or not at all fair?" 3 percent said "very fair" and 47 percent answered "moderately fair." The results were consistent across income groups, with 53 percent of those making over $80,000 agreeing with the 49 percent of Californians earning under $40,000 that the tax system is just swell.

Of those polled, 51 percent also said corporations should pay higher taxes and 63 percent called for raising the top income tax rate on the state's wealthiest residents.

But if Californians agree that the other guy should get it in the neck, they're all ready for a little mercy on their own behalf. Fifty-six percent of those making less than $40,000 say they're paying more than they should, 59 percent of those making between $40,000 and $80,000 agree, and 64 percent of those earning over $80,000 chime in with a "ditto."

Californians pay too much in taxes

Tax us more and harder, please. Whoah! But enough on me, already.

Last month, the financial site WalletHub published a state-by-state comparison of real estate tax, state income tax, local income tax, vehicle property tax, vehicle sales tax, sales and use tax, fuel tax, alcohol tax, food tax, and telecom tax. California comes just after New York as the most burdensome, tax-wise. It also ranks as the second worst state for overall freedom in Mercatus Center rankings.

Scott Shackford noted earlier today that all of that extra tax revenue is doing California little good—its economy still staggers along, with outstanding bills, such as $3 billion in required payments to the state teacher pension fund, essentially glossed over.

C'mon Californians. If you think hard, you'll rememember that safe word. Maybe it's "Jarvis."

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    1. And yet Subarus continue to be awkwardly weird.

      1. I love my Subaru with its full size spare.

        1. That’s probably the next car I buy. Or something else Japanese. I had a Mazda that I loved, then I got run off the road and the car got totaled. Now I have a Ford, and it sucks.

          1. What is wrong with your Ford?

            1. What is wrong with your Ford?

              Eh, it’s just boring, drives boring, despite being bigger and heavier than my Mazda it has less room inside and for storage space (how the fuck does that work exactly?). Oh and the door panels come off. Because the Great American Autoworker can’t operate glue.

              The Mazda was just a better car in every way, despite being three years older. Had more features, better mileage, better handling, looked better. Fuck I miss that car.

              1. I would take Focus ST or a Fusion. I understand the build quality of Japanese cars. I just don’t like them. It is funny but I think the worst Ford is less boring than any Mazda. None of the Japanese cars have ever appealed to me on an emotional level. I really don’t know why. They just don’t.

                And it is not out of nationalism. I own European cars and think Toyota trucks are the bomb.

                1. My Mazda

                  My Ford

                  Neither is a Benz SL gullwing, but I think the Mazda is better looking than the Ford. Of course, “better looking than a Taurus” is damming with faint praise.

                  The real reason I loved the Mazda was the handling, the ergonomics, the interior, just everything was better. Even the little stuff, like on wheel radio controls and little storage compartments. I could not find one anywhere to buy.

                  1. In fairness that Ford is particularly awful. The Focus and the Fusion are much better.

                  2. That is a particularly nasty car, as John mentioned, on an ancient platform, and their worth almost nothing.

                    The 06-13 Fusion is built on the same platform as the 6, and their lovely cars. What prevented me from buying one was the horror stories about the Duratec.

                    1. My ’10 Fusion has been aces throughout 60k rather hard miles. Probably helps that I exclusively purchase stickshifts.

              2. I fucking love my Mazda 3. Tight handling, nice little punch and go, decent storage for it’s size, and light on maintenance needs.

            2. Ford = Fix or Repair Daily.

              1. We bought a ford CUV a few years back. The Mazda CX-9 and the Buick Enclave were both runners up. But Fords are awesome in that they don’t have a European luxury brand. That means you can get pretty upscale interiors compared to the other mid tier brands.

                Since then, the Mazdas have stayed relatively the same while there have been new revs of most competitors. I’m afraid that Mazda kinda blew it over the last 5 – 7 years, and once great cars are now pretty meh.

                I owned a WRX for about 8 years and loved the performance. Nevertheless, I will never again buy a Subaru. They think that being AWD is an excuse to be around 5 years behind every other car’s interior technology (electronics, convenience features, etc). Their cabins are terribly spartan. Since pretty much every other platform out there has a turbo/AWD option, I’ll probably never again go for a Subie, as fun as it was during my DINK years.

                I hate to say it, but if you want a non-US brand, look at the Koreans. Hyundai and Kia are both making some great values- not the best all around, but best for the money. The Hyundai Genesis is (IMHO) the best full size sedan VALUE out there today with the 5.0 rspec engine. And the Sorento is pretty close to the fusion for compact sedans.

                1. Yeah Overt,

                  The Koreans are what the Japanese used to be. I think their cars look better too. Regardless, they are cheaper and just as well or better made.

                  There is a lot to be said for buying Korean.

                  1. Hyundai builds their engines in Korea, but the powertrain design comes from an office in Germany. Their car body designs come from southern California. So they are busy recruiting from some of the best designers in mechanical engineering and aesthetic design. On top of that, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

                    I loved the Genesis rspec- it has the best sound system of the various full size sedans- and we tried everything from Audi to BMW, Merc, Lexus, Jaguar, Volvo, Ford, etc etc. And the engine is very, very quick. Add to that the price- you are paying 3-series prices for a well stocked 5-series competitor. Unfortunately the transmission was still a little wonky and (biggest killer) they don’t have an AWD version- in farm country Colorado, you just can’t rely on automatic 500hp rear wheel drive in winter.

                  2. Drove a rental Hyundai Genesis a while back and loved it.

                    My Toyota Avalon has been really reliable over 50K miles, and was roomy and comfortable for a recent 12K mile road trip.

                    I’ve owned three Fords, and they were all unreliable POS. Never again.

                    Toyota, Honda, Hyundai — you won’t regret any of these.

          2. Tradeoffs. While my Subaru spends less time in the shop than my last Ford, the repairs are much more expensive. And fucking gaskets! Can’s Subaru figure out how to make gaskets that last?

            1. And fucking gaskets! Can’s Subaru figure out how to make gaskets that last?

              They can and did and then thought the better of it.

          3. Used Toyotas FTW

            Let somebody else break ’em in.

            1. already 1/2 through on my second timing belt. The 3.4L takes the abuse with minimal upkeep on my part. Of course the rear quarters are rusty and the bed is starting to go… and the rear brake lines also went… and I need a new u-joint soon – but my Toyota truck just keeps on going. It’s my post-apocalyptic vehicle of choice.

              1. There are places in the world where if you truck breaks down you are in real danger of dying. In those places, people always drive 4 runners and Tacomas. The damn things just won’t die, ever.

                1. Toyota Hilux – they operated successfully in Afghanistan…. think about that.

                  1. I’m certain they don’t have all the extra emissions crap that the US versions do. Less complications = better vehicle.

      2. not the newer ones I see – they seem to be falling into the quicksand of boring design as of late.

        Odd factoid that I read years ago: a mid-80s Monte Carlo SS had a lower drag coefficient than the new Beetle introduced in ’97

        1. Odd factoid that I read years ago: a mid-80s Monte Carlo SS had a lower drag coefficient than the new Beetle introduced in ’97

          Huhn — the Monte Carlo doesn’t look all that sleek.

          That said, the dirty little secret of aerodynamics is that the underside is the part of the car that is the least cleaned up aerodynamically, so the topside appearance can be deceiving.

    2. My grandfather got on the waiting list to buy a Chevy during the war ( yes, there was a waiting list). After he finally got it and while it was still brand new, he drove it to the grocery store. He shopped, came out of the store, hopped in and drove home.

      The next day the local dentist came knocking on his door. Back then no one locked their doors or took the keys out of their cars. Apparently the local dentist had bought a car identical to his and was shopping at the same time. They had both mistakenly gotten in the wrong car and driven it home. It wasn’t until the next morning that the dentist realized his mistake and brought the car to my grandfather to exchange.

      1. What? The government wasn’t involved in this civil exchange?

        I no believe.

        1. Anybody hear the story about Leno’s Dad? trading his Impala for a Cadillac, there was a price dispute of 50 dollars and Mr. Leno went to retrieve his Impala, where the dealer mechanics already rolled the odometer back to 15K, from 90K.

          He won the price argument.

      2. My ex once took my ’76 Toyota shopping. When she returned to the lot the car was gone. While she was talking to the cops, here it comes. Turns out a guy had borrowed his brother’s near-identical car, forgotten exactly where he’d parked it, thought mine was his though the key was kind of hard to turn, and only when he got it back to his brother’s did he find out it was the wrong car.

        1. Had a white Camry, and several times tried to open an almost identical looking Camry with the key.

          Then my son managed to cave the side and get yellow paint all over that side, and it became impossible to mistake it for any other car on the road.

          1. I don’t know if this applies to all Toyotas, but the teeth on the key to my ’76 were sort of wavy and indistinct, not sharp and delineated like most keys. That probably helped the guy get into my car.

    3. . . . every car seems to look like every other car.

      Oh dear me, did the government pass a law preventing you from repainting/decorating your car when I wasn’t looking? Do dealers make you sign a ‘users license’ that disallows modification?


      Then why the fuck is this guy laying the responsibility for customizing cars on the manufacturers? The fucking cars look the same because that’s the damn style people want – and because the flashy cars are usually the ones where most of the money was spent on making an interesting *shape* and not enough was spent on making it *reliable*.

      Unless you’re rich or an 18 year old dude, cars are not a medium of personal expression, they are a form of transportation and reliability and comfort trump faddish looks.

      1. Except with safety standards and CAFE standards, and the truly insane EU safety standards, the only way to design now is to make everything compliant with all the government rules, and then hopefully whatever generic box you come up with will sell.

        Reliability is great. I’d love to stick a modern engine and drive train into a ’60 Lincoln Continental. How cool would that be?

        1. Way cool. And people do that. They are called resto mods. The trend in people going to the expense of putting new engines in old body designs tells you all you need to know about how right this article is.

          In the 50s and 60s people built hotrods because they were too poor to buy a new sports car. No one who could afford a Corvette or a 911 or a Ferrari spent their money on hot rodding an old Ford instead. Now people who have the money to buy even the best new cars, often spend their money restomodding an old one. That is because the old ones look so much better.

          1. A year or two ago in Asheville, NC, I spotted a gorgeous Chevy coupe of the 60s era. The owner came out of the restaurant and I asked him what’s under the hood. He popped the hood and displayed a full-up modern Corvette engine. Looked funny, as it appeared to be a foot or two below the hood line at the air cleaner! But it sounded great and passed all kinds of gumblement tests. Drool…

        2. Apparently, sometime soon, cars sold in the EU will have to be able to not kill a pedestrian when the car hits the pedestrian at 25 mph. Apparently, the car design people are talking external airbags.

          I wondered if they had some idea whether it was possible to do it before they made the rule… probably not.

  1. Whenever I hear a liberal talk about California’s fiscal issues the line always is “Californians want big government but also want to be taxed like Libertarians”. I kid you not. I guess that 60% didn’t get the message that the real problem is that taxes are not high enough.

  2. Epi will have to pardon my collectivism, but….

    Fuck California.

    1. Fuck Michigan!

      1. ….heeeey!…..

  3. Also:

    1) This is some superior writing, TooChill: “…made its way to the Revenue Room at the House o’ Pain and then promptly forgot its safe word”, and

    2) I like the pic as much as the alt text.

    Definite “A” work, JD! Take the rest of the day off – have the interns bring you lemonade. And gin.

    Bill it all to “California”

    1. Well, its not like the Controller is going to notice.

  4. “Most voters want to raise taxes on other people. Film at 11.”

  5. Can’t you Californians please cancel the ridiculous hi-speed train deal before the Feds send you another dime of our tax money?

    1. Bwahahaha

      “WASHINGTON, D.C. ? The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) today joined the Women Construction
      Owners & Executives (WCOE) in a major effort to maximize small business participation, especially those owned by
      women, on the high-speed rail system. During a special ceremony on Capitol Hill at the WCOE National Conference,
      Authority Board of Directors Chairman Dan Richard and WCOE President Lee Cunningham signed a Memorandum of
      Understanding (MOU) that ensures women-owned construction firms and female construction executives are aware of,
      and prepared for, job opportunities on the project. “

      1. I predict a lot of disability claims for broken fingernails.

        /ducks and scoots

      2. In other words, construction firms run by men with wives who have 51% ownership and don’t even know it.

        1. Ah, you are familiar with this (and the minority owned firm) ownership type in Cook County, IL then!

          1. Ah yes. I used to work at a place that was owned by a Lebanese ex-pat. There was a sister company that was literally through two doors from my desk in the same building that was run by his wife. Talk about gaming the system. This was in DuPage County. Not quite Cook, but close.

  6. But if Californians agree that the other guy should get it in the neck, they’re all ready for a little mercy on their own behalf.

    90% of all politics is contained in this statement.

  7. How can the rich have paid their fair share and still be rich?

  8. It still boggles my mind that the state moved to cash-based accounting so it can ignore billion dollar liabilities and the AFT’s not howling. Do they think another state stabilization bailout is in the works?

  9. Think about this, California, a place that connects the US to Asia, has one of the best climates in the world, still has some of the best universities in the world, is where both the modern entertainment and computer industry reached maturity, has more natural resources than most nations and yet, its economy still staggers along. Just bad luck I guess. That seems to happen every time the Progs sink their fangs into a place. All they ever have is bad luck. They just can’t catch a break, poor fellas.

    1. I view California and the northeast coast line as the biggest threats to my boring, but comfortable life in Iowa.

      1. California used to be the engine that drove a lot of the economy. The whole country is worse off because the Progs have fucked it up so far beyond repair. The state has a good chunk of the country’s natural resources. It also should be one of the best places to do business. Instead, it is a fucking black hole thanks to these retards.

        1. With their current drought problems, we could see an interesting clash of priorities.

          1. Remember: they don’t have a fucking drought problem. It is all due to environmentalists fucking shit up in the Central Valley.

            Yes, they had low rain fall this year. But the real problem is huge swaths of their water gets diverted by crazy enviros.

        2. At some point, I am going to be asked to bail out the failed states of CA and NY and there won’t be a single fucking thing I can do about it. 2 Senators and 4 Congress-critters aren’t worth shit.

          1. I think that is going to be the limit. I don’t think the country will agree to do it. I really don’t. I also think the Democratic Party is going to tear itself apart during the debate. I don’t think the rest of the free shit brigade is going to agree to bailout CA and NY at their expense. They can’t bailout all of the states. So gets tossed over the side? That debate may end in gun fire and not between left and right but between the various free shit people on the left.

            1. I am not convinced.

              I think it will be a series of bailouts — industry by industry — entitlement by entitlement — and we’ll get very, very fucking deep into it before it hits a brick wall.

              1. I think you are wrong on that. Time will tell. But there is a limit to how often they can do that. TARP is pretty close to that limit. I don’t think they can pull that off again.

                1. I actually hope that you are right.

                2. The big bailouts that need to happen are the public employee bailouts. No one is going to vote against cops, teachers, and firefighters. Not in this country.

                  1. I think they will Virginian. And there won’t be enough money to go around. You bet the cops and the teachers in places like Ohio and Texas will happily vote against the ones in California and New York.

                    1. I really don’t. This population is so brainwashed by those teachers that need to be bailed out. I work with kids man, they start on them real young. I’ve had seven year olds tell me teachers don’t get paid enough and should be paid more. The local county had a big meals tax referendum last election, for funding the schools of course. The kids were being told how important it was that their parents voted for the meals tax.

                      It’s straight up propaganda, and this is in a semi-conservative county in VA. In prog places you have the kids singing praise hymns to Obama, and that’s normal.

                    2. Hell, that’s what I thought myself all the way up through high school. And then I found out how much most of my previous teachers actually made, and how much more was wasted on the fucktarded administration.

                    3. You bet the cops and the teachers in places like Ohio and Texas will happily vote against the ones in California and New York.

                      Sounds incorrect to me.

                      The first couple states to get bailed out will get the full support of the rest of the country (when you put it out in terms of the affected professions). The attitude will be “I’m going to support it because I will eventually get mine.”

                      But once those first few states are bailed out, those first few states will then behave as one would expect – they won;t support further bailouts because “I already got mine”.

                  2. If the Dem coalition of various free-shitters breaks up, you can bet they will fight each other tooth and nail. Each part of that coalition (pubsec workers, the indigent, the ivory tower, et al.) is only a small part of the electorate. The productive majority can beat them if they’re divided.

              2. ” think it will be a series of bailouts — industry by industry — entitlement by entitlement”


                It won’t be “Let’s Bail Out California”. It will be the same as the Michigan Bailout- let’s save these core companies. Or let’s save the Teachers. Or let’s bail out Police Pensions, because no one wants ol’ Sheriff Smalltown to eat cat food after his years of service.

                The fact that CA and NY will represent a full 80% of the bailout will be an interesting sidenote that only wonks notice.

            2. But those teachers were promised 80% (if we’re lucky) in perpetuity, you black-hearted bastard. And anyone who mentions Jerry Brown short-changing their pension fund is a lying dog.

            3. Someone’s going to propose federalizing California.

          2. kinnath, those Senators and Congresscrittes children go to school and play with the children of Senators and Congress-critters from the People’s Republic of California and the Democratic-Republican Socialist Republic of New York. You have to help their friends, otherwise they might lose their next election and have to go home and live among the peasants.

          3. Wow, where do you live – even my state has *8* representatives.

        3. There’s a saying here in Texas: California’s government is so bad, that people are choosing fucking TEXAS over California as a place to live.

      2. You should, Kinnath. California and NY are bleeding jobs and population but are still stuck with a crap ton of unfunded liabilities. Guess who’s gonna pay…

    2. + 1000.

      You win the internet!

    3. Not to mention it’s breathtakingly beautiful, full of things to see and do. Great weather. Pleasant people.

      1. One of the things I hate most about Progs is how they will take over a really incredible place, proceed to completely fuck it up, and then point to how great it is in spite of them as evidence of the success of their policies.

        1. Especially when they point to either inertia or cronyism as an example of talking about businesses leaving prog states is just fearmongering.

          Take Ruger as a great example. Founded in CT, and the old plant is in NH. But the second plant is in AZ, and the third one will be in NC. I doubt they’ll be modernizing the NH plant either. It will close at some point, and they’ll probably open a new one somewhere in TX.

          Or cars. People say “America doesn’t build cars anymore.” Bullshit. Americans build Hondas in AL and Toyotas in TX. They just don’t built shitty GM cars in Detroit anymore.

          1. Subarus in Indiana

          2. Americans build Hondas in AL and Toyotas in TX.

            They don’t count because the workers aren’t in a union.

          3. Or cars. People say “America doesn’t build cars anymore.” Bullshit. Americans build Hondas in AL and Toyotas in TX. They just don’t built shitty GM cars in Detroit anymore.

            Had this conversation with a Detroit native last week. He was complaining about it, and I corrected him. He’s a nice enough guy, but believes what he has been told, and is not intellectually curious enough to find out for himself. You know, an average American.

            1. GM moved to Canada; Ford moved to Mexico.

              Japan moved to the US and hired non-union workers.

              1. We all remember what happened when Boeing tried to expand to S Carolina…can you imagine the shitfit if GM moved more operations to the South and didn’t hire UAW?

                They’re pretty much forced to move out-of-country.

                1. They’re pretty much forced to move out-of-country.

                  And the demonized for doing so.

          4. “Americans build Hondas in AL…” and Mercedes and Hyundais

    4. Hey man, Seattle has a port too. Just because our weather sucks 9 months of the year doesn’t change the fact that it’s the other Silicon Valley. I see enough Amazon nerds for all of you.

      1. And for some reason all of these people moved out of beautiful sunny California in the 1970s and 80s to start their businesses in a place where the weather sucks most of the time.

        It is like the Progs are cursed or something.

    5. The entire premise of Prog philosophy is that people are too stupid to run their own lives, so they need to have their lives run by people in government.

      They fail to see the inherent contradiction.

    6. “poor fellas”

      I totally read that in Butter’s voice. I think that is how we should respond to all prog-derp.

  10. “Please tax the corporation where I work even harder. They don’t have enough reason to skip my raise this year!”

    Just make profit illegal already, fucking morons.

  11. The slow & dark version of California Dreamin’ by John Phillips

    Not sure why the uploader of this video decided on this album cover which is from Phillips’s first solo album.

    1. I guess it is because it is in a minor key, but I always found that song to be a bit dark in a good way.

    2. I think I was in the crowd when this version was recorded.

  12. “The SEIU’s proposed new contract with the city includes calls for:
    — A 15 percent raise over the next three years.
    — A $21-an-hour minimum wage for all city workers.
    — Fully paid health coverage for single workers, 98 percent paid coverage for couples and 85 percent coverage for families.”
    And more.…..399680.php
    These are taxpayer-paid people; no word about the pensions, but they are probably already as ridiculous as is possible.

    And, BTW, for your reading pleasure:

    1. My counter proposal is that we get to raid the union coffers for 50% of any civil suits brought against union members working in their official capacity. (Note: If the union wants to put all of this cost back off on the member, that is fine with me, but for collective bargaining purposes, if the union wants to be the point of contact for all worker-related issues, they get to pony up for negligence, as I have been told by my union friends that the union is a free-market way of certifying competence.)

      1. I always though this was a great idea. I bet cops would rat each other out if beating up a homeless man meant they couldn’t afford payments on their boat.

  13. Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree…who’s unfortunately not there anymore because he left for Texas a couple years ago when you decided to build a huge choo-choo that goes real fast.

  14. . . . corporations should pay higher taxes . . .

    Fucking morons.






    Shareholders, employees, and customers pay taxes. Raise ‘corporate’ taxes you are raising taxes on the group that is least able to resist having to pay them – and it usually ain’t shareholders.

    1. This can’t be said enough.

    2. The largest stockholder in the US is CalPERS ? the California Public Employee Retirement System. Raising corporate taxes reduces the income on retired teachers.

      Why do you hate old teachers?

  15. The State of California State Franchise Tax Board just pulled $18,375 out of my checking account today. I have ideas on what I could have spent that money toward, that I worked very hard for… but at least California will find a way to help a derelict queer on drugs obtain their next hit without having to work.

    My beef is the eighty thousand dollars the IRS took from me in Federal Withholding that will be spent to bomb some people I don’t even know back into the stone ages.

  16. CA taxes too high? We moved to AZ, I’m making $14/hr LESS and my take home is the same. You be the judge. 0.o

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