Californians Realize They Pay The Government Too Much In Taxes

tax burden illustration

It’s always easier to survey the landscape from afar than while stuck down in one of its ravines, so credit Californians with coming to the slow realization — in greater numbers than ever before — that they pay too much money to the State’s maze of governments in taxes.

According to a survey from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), 60 percent of the State’s taxpaying residents believe the government is confiscating too much of their earned wealth.

The far-ranging March survey finds that “a record-high 60 percent of adults say they pay much more in taxes (30%) or somewhat more (30%) than they feel they should in state and local taxes…” The same survey also finds that about half believe the State’s tax system is fairly structured, although the prevalence of that sentiment declines as respondents’ reported incomes increased.

Progressive government’s successful obfuscation of the relationship between the individual and the state has evidently infected many Californians, however. A majority of the surveyed group — the very same group in which that majority believes it pays too much in taxes — favors increasing taxes — at least on the highest earners — in order to raise State revenues:

In light of their overall impressions of the state and local tax system, how do Californians feel about raising some state taxes? Among four types of state taxes, we find solid majority support for raising  income taxes on the wealthy, while half favor raising state taxes paid by California corporations. A  majority is opposed to extending the sales tax to services not currently taxed, but when asked about  extending the sales tax to services while lowering the overall tax rate, they are closely divided.

At least Democratic Governor Jerry Brown can get comfortable. Across every demographic category, the survey found it likely that he’ll trounce his Republican competitors in the State’s June primary (California uses a “top-two” primary system in which candidates from all political affiliations must participate.) Even among Republicans, only one GOP candidate — Tim Donnelly — enjoys a lead over Brown, and it’s a modest one: 20 percent for Donnelly, compared with 15 percent for Brown.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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