California vs. the Other States — latest update

This dreary, annotated fact sheet is updated at least twice a month, but the latest version is NOT posted here. To see the latest version, always go to this URL to the fact sheet posted on Richard Rider’s blog site –  –   (You must use “copy and paste” to go to this URL.  No clue as to why).

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 Uncategorized Comments Off

Breaking Bad: California vs. the Other States

by Richard Rider, Chairman, San Diego Tax Fighters

Version 1.836 Revised: 10 November, 2012

Regular issues blog online at:

Email: NEW!

Phone:  858-530-3027

Facebook blog page:

Here’s a depressing but documented comparison of California taxes and economic climate with the rest of the states. The news is breaking bad, and getting worse (at least twice a month, I update crucial data on this fact sheet):

Prior to Prop 30 passing, CA already had the 2nd worst state income tax rate in the nation. Our 9.3% tax bracket starts at $48,029 for people filing as individuals.  Now our retroactive “millionaires’ tax” rate is 13.3% – including capital gains.  Increased taxes now start at $250K. CA now has by far the nation’s highest state income tax rate.  We are 21% higher than the 2nd highest state (Hawaii), 34% higher than the 3rd highest state (Oregon), and a heck of a lot higher than all the rest – including 7 states with zero state income tax. CA is so bad, we also have the 2nd highest state income tax bracket.  AND the 3rdPlus the 5th and 7th. Tables #11 & 13  and

CA has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation.  7.25% (does not include local sales taxes). 7.50% starting next year.

CA corporate income tax rate (8.84%) is the highest west of the Mississippi (our economic competitors) except for Alaska. Table #1   – we are 6th highest nationwide.

CA has the 2nd highest gas tax in the nation at 68.9 cents/gallon (October, 2012).  National average is 49.3 cents. (also CA has the nation’s 2nd highest diesel tax – 77.1 cents/gallon. National average 54.5 cents)

California in 2009 ranked 15th highest in per capita property taxes (including commercial) – the only major tax where we are not in the worst ten states.  But CA property taxes per owner-occupied home were the 10th highest in the nation in 2009. and (2009 latest year available)

CA has now instituted the highest “cap and trade” tax in the nation – indeed, the ONLY such U.S. tax. One study estimates the annual cost at $3,857 per household by 2020. Even proponents concede that it will have zero impact on global warming.

New Tax Foundation study ranks CA as the 4th worst taxed state. But if counting ONLY in-state and local taxes, we are arguably the 2nd highest.

CA has the 3rd highest state unemployment rate.  (September, 2012) – 10.2%.  National unemployment rate 7.8%.   National unemployment rate not including CA is only 7.5%, making the CA unemployment rate 36.5% higher than the average of the other 49 states.
Using the more accurate U-6 measure of unemployment (includes involuntary part-time workers), CA is the 2nd worst at 20.3% vs. national 15.3%.  National U-6 not including CA is 14.6%, making CA’s U-6 38.9% higher than the other 49 states.

CA needlessly licenses more occupations than any state – 177.  Second worst state is Connecticut at 155.  The average for the states is 92.

California’s 2013 “business tax climate” still ranks 3rd worst in the nation – behind New Jersey and New York state.

CA public school teachers the highest paid in the nation.  CA students rank 48th in math achievement, 49th in reading. page 36

1 in 5 in Los Angeles County receiving public aid.,0,4377048.story

California has 12% of the nation’s population, but 33% of the country’s TANF (“Temporary” Assistance for Needy Families) welfare recipients – more than the next 7 states combined.  Unlike other states, this “temporary” assistance becomes much more permanent in CA.

California prison guards highest paid in the nation.

California is the worst ranked state for tax administration – another anti-business factor.

California now has the 2nd lowest bond rating of any state – Basket case Illinois just beat us out for the lowest spot.  We didn’t improve our rating – Illinois just got worse.

California has the 6th highest (worst) state per capita debt. Not counted is local government debt.
The American Tort Reform Association ranks CA the worst state “judicial hellhole” – extremely anti-business.
But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks CA higher – “only” the 4th worst state (unfortunately, up from 7th worst in 2008).

CA tickets are incredibly high. Red-light camera ticket $480. Next highest state is $250.  Most are around $100.

California is tied with 3 other states (Hawaii, Texas[!] and Florida) for having by far the least competitive property & casualty insurance markets.

California has a nasty anti-small business $800 minimum corporate income tax, even if no profit is earned, and even for many nonprofits.  Next highest state is Oregon at $150.  A few others under $100, with most at zero.

California small businesses failed in 2011 at a rate 69% higher than the national average — the worst state in the nation. (based on Dunn & Bradstreet study)

America’s top 650 CEO’s rank California “the worst state in which to do business” for the 8th straight year (May, 2012). (It’s worth reading the short article, and especially the part about California.)

California, a destitute state, still gives away college education at fire sale prices. Our community college tuition is the lowest in the nation.  How low?  Nationwide, the average community college tuition is almost three times higher than California CC’s. Table 5b

This ridiculously low tuition devalues education to students – often resulting in a 30+% drop rate for class completion.  In addition, 2/3 of California CC students pay no net tuition at all – either filling out a simple unverified “hardship” form that exempts them from any tuition payment, or receiving grants and tax credits for their full tuition.

On top of that, California offers thousands of absolutely free adult continuing education classes – a sop to the upper middle class.  In San Diego, about 1,000 classes for everything from baking pastries to ballroom dancing are offered mostly if not totally at taxpayer expense.

Protests about increased UC student fees too often ignore one crucial point – all poor and many middle class students don’t pay the “fees” (our state’s euphemism for tuition).  There are no fees for California families with under $80K income.  Moreover, Pell Grants and federal tuition tax credits covered the total 2009-10 fee increases for nearly 3/4 of all undergraduates with household incomes below $180K. and

California residential electricity costs an average of 36.6% more than the national average. CA commercial rates are 51.4% higher.   For industrial use, CA electricity is 69.1% higher than the national average (August, 2012).

A 2011 survey of home water bills for the 20 largest U.S. cities found that for 200 gallons a day usage, San Diego was the highest cost.  At 400 gal/day, San Diego was third highest.

From 2007 through 2010, 10,763 industrial facilities were built or expanded across the country — but only 176 of those were in CA. So with roughly 12% of the nation’s population, CA got 1.6% of the built or expanded industrial facilities. California Manufacturers and Technology Association podcast

California is now ranked as the 2nd worst state to retire in.  Only basket-case Illinois is worse.  We “beat” NY, RI and NJ.

Consider California’s net domestic migration (migration between states).  From 2000 through 2009, California lostNET 1.5 million people. Net departures slowed in 2008 only because people couldn’t sell their homes.  But more people still leave each year — in 2011 we lost 66,000 net people to domestic out-migration.   Again, note that this is NET loss.

These are not welfare kings and queens departing.  They are the young, the educated, the productive, the ambitious, the wealthy (such as Tiger Woods) – and retirees seeking to make their pensions provide more bang for the buck. Too often these departing seniors are retired state and local government employees fleeing the state that provides them with their opulent pensions – in order to avoid the high taxes that these same employees pushed so hard through their unions.  And once they move out of California, our state can no longer tax their California-paid pensions.

As taxes rise and jobs disappear, we lose our tax base, continuing California’s state and local fiscal death spiral. This “race to the bottom” must stop NOW.

NOTE: To see the latest version of this “Breaking Bad” column, go to my blog at, or my more active Facebook page The latest two-page fact sheet Word file is available free upon request.

Friday, November 16th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

San Diego Tax Fighters’ Proposition Recommendations for Nov 2012


Contact:  Richard Rider, Chairman        Phone:  858-530-3027

Proposition Recommendation Description
30 No Temporary taxes to fund education
31 Yes Two year state budget
32 Yes Prohibits political contributions by payroll deduction
33 Yes Changes law to allow auto insurance companies to set prices
34 Position Not Taken Death penalty repeal
35 Position Not Taken Human trafficking penalties and sex offender registration
36 Yes Three strikes law sentencing for repeat felony offenders
37 No Genetically engineered foods mandatory labeling
38 No Tax for education and early childhood programs
39 No Increase tax treatment for multistate businesses
40 Position Not Taken Redistricting of state senate districts
Proposition Recommendation Description
A Yes City of Carlsbad – charter amendment
B Yes City of Chula Vista – charter amendment
C No Cajon Valley Union School District – bonds
D No Dehesa School District – bonds
E No Chula Vista Elementary School District – bonds
F No City of Coronado – increase hotel tax
H Yes City of Del Mar – medical marijuana dispensaries
J Position Not Taken City of Del Mar – amend village specific plan
K Position Not Taken City of Encinitas – to elect a mayor and city council members
L Position Not Taken City of Encinitas – office of mayor to be two years
M Position Not Taken City of Encinitas – term of office of mayor to be four years
N Position Not Taken City of Escondido – amend general plan
P Yes City of Escondido – charter city proposal
R No Ramona Unified School District – bonds
S Yes City of Imperial Beach – medical marijuana dispensaries
T Yes City of Lemon Grove – medical marijuana dispensaries
U No City of Santee – increase hotel tax and broaden definition
V No Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District – bonds
W Yes City of Solana Beach – medical marijuana dispensaries
Y No South Bay Union School District – bonds
Z No San Diego Unified School District – bonds
AA No San Dieguito Union High School District – bonds
BB Position Not Taken Bonsall Union School District – unify school district with Fallbrook
CC No Del Mar Union School District – bonds
EE No MiraCosta Community College District – bonds
Carl DeMaio Mayor of City of San Diego
Ray Ellis City Council of San Diego District 1
Jerry Kern Mayor of Oceanside
George Plescia CA State Senate District 39
Scott Hasson San Diego Community College District B

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Saturday, September 22nd, 2012 News, Uncategorized No Comments

2012 June Ballot Recommendations

San Diego Tax Fighters June Ballot Voter Recommendations

Contact:  Richard Rider, Chairman

Phone: 858-530-3027

LOCAL PROPOSITIONS (with “!” for extra importance or emphasis)

  • Proposition A – City of San Diego Fair & Open Competition Ordinance. Amends Municipal Code: YES!!
  • Proposition B – City of San Diego Comprehensive Pension Reform Initiative. Amends City Charter: YES!!!
  • Proposition C – City of Chula Vista Charter Amendment. Limit Authority, Compensation and Establish Term Limits for Elected City Attorney. Establish Office of Legislative Counsel: NO
  • Proposition D – City of El Cajon Charter Adoption. Change from General Law to Charter City: YES!
  • Proposition E City of Oceanside Ordinance. Phase Out Mobile Home Park Rent Control: YES!
  • Proposition F – City of Oceanside Charter Amendment. Numbered Council Seats: YES!
  • Proposition G – Mt. Empire Unified School District $30.8 million School Bond Measure: NO
  • Proposition H – Alpine Union School District $12 million School Bond Measure: NO!


  • Proposition 28 – Limits on Legislator’s Terms in Office. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.: NO POSITION
  • Proposition 29 – Imposes Additional Tax on Cigarettes for Cancer Research. Initiative Statute.: NO!


Mayor Carl DeMaio

City Council
District 1 Ray Ellis
District 7 Scott Sherman
District 5 Mark Kersey

District 39 — George Plescia

District 77 — Dustin Steiner

District B Scott Hasson

District A Mark Powell

Mayor Jerry Kern

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Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 News Comments Off

Tax Fighters Compare the News and What Prop D Is About

Ignore our lack of audio/video technology. This was just us messing around with a video camera that turned out to be slightly funny, and hopefully illuminating on what Prop D is really about.

Friday, October 15th, 2010 Blog No Comments

Phil of Phil’s BBQ is a great Tax Fighter

Phil, who is the owner of Phil’s BBQ, held a great Prop D fundraiser last night, and made a an amazing 5 thousand dollar conribution towards fighting Prop D, the sales tax increase.  I spoke with Phil who described himself as not hating politics, but is just “really mad” at what’s going on.  Phil’s been in San Diego for 20 years.  Originally Phil is from Cleveland, a town that has had a population decrease of roughly 50% over the last 40 years due to a poor economic environment.

Phil stuck me as a classic entrepreneurial guy who just wants to run an honest business, but is frustrated that politicians’ failure to make tougher choices results in his customers’ tab increasing.

If you have a chance to visit Phil’s restaurant, please do.  Good food and it goes into the pocket of a true tax fighter!

Thursday, October 14th, 2010 News No Comments

San Diego Tax Fighters Ballot Recommendations

Prop      Subject     Recommendations
19    Marijuana         YES
20    Elections         YES
21    Taxes             NO
22    State spending    NO
23    Environment       YES
24    Taxes             NO
25    State spending    NO
26    Taxes             YES
27    Elections         NO

Prop		Recommended	Description
A		YES		Ban on County Project Labor [Union] Agreements
B		No Position     San Diego City Attorney Office hiring practices
C		No Position     Development of Pacific Highlands Ranch
D		NO		San Diego City Sales Tax increase
G		YES		Carlsbad — Require citizen vote to raise pensions
H		NO		Chula Vista — Raise phone taxes
J		NO		SD Unified School District — Impose parcel tax
K		NO		San Marclos School District Bond
L		NO		Julian High School Bond
M		NO		Dehesa School District Bond
O		NO		South Bay Union School Parcel Tax
P		NO		Encinitas Union School Bond
Sunday, September 26th, 2010 Blog No Comments