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RP GOVERNOR PROP 30 SIGN.JPGCalifornians carried the nation's fourth highest state and local tax burden as a proportion of their personal incomes in 2010 - and that was before voters increased sales and income taxes last year - according to the latest national tax survey by the Tax Foundation.

California's state and local tax burden in 2010 was 11.2 percent of personal income, putting the state behind only No. 1 New York (12.8 percent), New Jersey (12.4 percent) and Connecticut (12.3 percent).

On a per capita basis, California's state-local tax burden in 2010 was sixth highest at $4,934.

Last year, voters passed Proposition 30, which raises the state's sales tax rate by a half-cent and imposes additional income taxes on the highest-income Californians. It is supposed to raise about $6 billion a year to close the state budget deficit, and that would add less than a half-percent to the tax burden, leaving it still below Connecticut's proportion.

Proposition 30 did, however, give California the nation's highest marginal income tax rate at 13.3 percent for those with taxable incomes of $1 million and above, jumping over Hawaii's 11 percent, the Tax Foundation reported.

California's high tax burden ranking is a mix of relatively high sales, income, automotive fuel and corporate taxes, offset by relatively lower property taxes and very low taxes on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.

The Tax Foundation's data on tax rates is up to date for this year, but some of its comparisons on tax burdens were based on earlier years because no current data were available.

California's state sales tax rate of 7.5 percent, for example, is now the nation's highest but its combined average state and local sales tax rate of 8.38 percent is No. 9.

California is No. 2 in its fuel tax rate of 48.7 cents per gallon, but No. 32 in cigarette taxes at 87 cents per pack, No. 38 in taxes on whiskey and other distilled liquor at $3.30 per gallon, No. 44 in wine taxes at 20 cents a gallon and No. 29 in beer taxes at 20 cents a gallon.

California was No. 33 in its average property tax rate of .8 percent of mean home value in 2011 but in 2010 was No. 19 in property tax revenues per capita at $1,450 per year, thanks to its generally higher property values vis-a-vis other states.

Finally, California's state and local bonded debt load was the nation's seventh highest at $10,875 per capita in 2010.

PHOTO CREDIT: Students, dignitaries and supporters cheer on Gov. Jerry Brown who holds up a campaign sign and encourages students to vote yes for Proposition 30 at Sacramento City College in October. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench


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