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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Richard Rider

CA state income tax rate is now 34% higher than the 2nd highest state — vs. “only” 21% higher in 2015

Bad news for California. Other states are dropping their state income tax rates for the well-to-do, making those states ever more attractive for wealthy folks — compared to the money-grabbing Golden State.

In 2015, CA was “only” 21% higher than the 2ndhighest state — Hawaii. But starting in 2016 Hawaii has dramatically cut their top rate from 11% to 8.25%. A very liberal state, Hawaii’s politicians nevertheless figured out that it should welcome rich people rather than drive them away.

That locks in California’s “worst” rank among the 50 states. With our 13.3% top tax rate, we are now 34% higher than the 2ndhighest state. Oregon is #2, with a top rate of 9.9% — down from the 11% they charged a couple years ago.

Below is my updated summary of the CA income tax, as found in my constantly updating fact sheet comparing CA with the other 49 states. Note the update to the nation’s highest tax brackets(inbold):

Prior to… Read More

Katy Grimes

‘Jock Tax’ is Ill-Gotten Revenue Windfall for California

Regardless what a punk Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton may or may not be, the ugly news that he will owe $137,900 in taxes — for losing the Super Bowl – shouldn’t be the thanks he gets.

The thanks is courtesy of California’s highest-in-the-nation tax rate of 13.3 percent, known as the “jock tax” – the nonresident income taxes that states and cities enforce on athletes performing in their jurisdictions.

As Kurt Bedenhausen explained in Forbes last week, “Newton will pay California 86.3% of his Super Bowl earnings if the Panthers win. Losing means his effective tax rate will be a whopping 172.2%. Oh yeah, he will also pay the IRS 40.5% on his earnings.” This tax bill is based on Newton’s 2016 earnings of $20 million.


Sounding very Orwellian, California’s Franchise Tax Board website explains:

“The SportsRead More

Jon Coupal


Even if one lives in a cave, it’s hard to avoid the publicity surrounding the high profile presidential debates that are a reminder that this is an election year. And California taxpayers know, from hard experience, it also means that it is open season on taxpayers as local politicians rush to put tax increases on the ballot.

Emboldened by success in little publicized 2015 off-year elections in which 29 out of 40 local tax increase measures passed, scores of communities and special districts are seeing this year as an ideal opportunity to raise your taxes.

Presidential election years tend to bring out more voters, including many who do not pay close attention to what’s on the ballot until the last minute. These “low information voters” are a prime target of tax raisers because they are more easily convinced by simplistic arguments. These duplicitous arguments often tout the benefits of a measure to a community, without ever mentioning that it is a new tax. Or they minimalize the actual cost by expressing it in pennies per day, “It will only cost about 50 cents a day!”

To read the entire column click here:… Read More

Richard Rider

If Cam Newton loses the Super Bowl, his California state taxes will be 199% of his earnings

This article is a reminder to all pro athletes why they don’t want to make California their home, and why they don’t want to play for a California team. Indeed, from a tax standpoint, they’d be wise not to play in a western conference — given that many of the games will be with California teams. Cam Newton is learning this lesson the hard way — and doubtless is thanking his lucky stars he plays in an east coast NFL conference.


California Taxes Will Eat Up All Of Cam Newton’s Super Bowl Earnings By K. Sean Packard

Remember when Peyton Manning paid New Jersey nearly $47,000 in taxes two years ago on his Super Bowl earnings of $46,000? Manning has nothing on the state taxes facing Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, Calif. Newton is looking at a tax bill more than twice as much, which will swallow up his entire Super Bowl paycheck, win or lose, thanks to California’s tops in the nation tax rate of 13.3%.

Before we get into the numbers,… Read More

Hector Barajas

Celebrating Rubio’s 3rd Place Iowa Finish

In the past few days, presidential candidate, Marco Rubio has picked up several key endorsements and hauled in over $2 million in donations. He has become the talk of the town among the political commentators, the rank-and-file Republicans, big donors and party leaders. While he is a smart young, optimistic Latino senator from Florida, with a campaign built around the American-Dream narrative and high expectations for generations to follow, he has also become the closet alternative to the top two vote getters — Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

The fear and angst of having either Cruz or Trump as the Republican nominee for president has center-right Republicans cheering Marco Rubio’s 3rd place finish and here are a few reasons why:

Donald Trump’s bombastic approach, while attractive to some, gives heartburn to those who know the process of running for… Read More

Katy Grimes

Gov. Brown’s Latest Tax Increase May Have Republican Support

“If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

~Ronald Reagan

Despite California’s highest-in-the-nation taxes, a couple of Assembly Republicans have allegedly agreed to vote for Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax on health plans in the State of California.

Even if Brown is able to convince health insurers, he needs a two-thirds majority vote from the Legislature. And this is where Republican votes come in. Currently, Democrats do not have a supermajority, and need to peel off a couple of Republican votes for tax increases.

Predictably, Brown has been trying to convince Republicans his health plan tax is really “tax reform.”

“This is not a tax increase, no matter what anyone tells you,” he said during his State of the State address.

“It will be pretty easy to tell if this is a tax increase, or some sort of revenue neutral swapping of one tax for another,” said Jon Fleischman, publisher of the Flash… Read More

Ed Ring

California’s Pension Contribution Shortfall At Least $15 Billion per Year

“Pension-change advocates failed to find funding for a measure during the depths of the 2008 recession and the havoc it wreaked on government budgets, so they won’t pass (a measure) when the economy is doing well.” – Steve Maviglio, political consultant and union coalition spokesperson,Sacramento Bee, January 18, 2016

It’s hard to argue with Mr. Maviglio’s logic. If the economy is healthy and the stock market is roaring, fixing the long-term financial challenges facing California’s state/local government employee pensions systems will not be a top political priority. But that doesn’t mean those challenges have gone away.

One of the biggest problems pension reformers face is communicating just how serious the problem is getting, and one of the biggest reasons for that is the lack of good financial information about California’s government worker pension systems.

The California State Controller used to release a “Public Retirement Systems Annual Report,” that consolidated all of California’s 80 independent… Read More

Ron Nehring

Decisive Iowa win proves Cruz is the courageous conservative America needs

Last night’s dramatic and decisive victory in the Iowa caucuses wasn’t just a victory for Senator Ted Cruz — it was a victory for the American people who have spent nearly eight years suffering under the failed leadership of President Obama. Now, we are past the end of the beginning of the process to elect a new Republican president, one who will put our country on a new, and better, path.

Ted Cruz proved that he could take on a powerful special interest — in this case, the ethanol lobby, which threw everything it could at him — and prevail. That’s the kind of leader I want to see in the White House. Not a leader who is intimidated by entrenched and powerful interests, but one with the courage to challenge them when we have better ideas rooted in our party’s principles.

In the days leading up to the vote, it was clear that others were getting desperate. Canadian! Loans! He’s not nice! Give me a break. I wondered what would be next — unreturned library books? Most of those claims came from Donald Trump, who clearly didn’t have a good night. It’s never a good idea to build your… Read More

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