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Richard Rider

The median California homeowner pays 53.6% more property tax than the national average

One of the more enduring progressive criticisms of California’s Prop 13 limits on property taxes is that it “starved” California governments.  Supposedly our property taxes are lower than most other states where property owners pay their “fair share.” Attacks on CA homeowners are targeted at the long term residents — the evil old people (mostly white) who have on average lived longest in their homes.

As the table below demonstrates, facts trump progressive fictions.  Compared to other states, we pay PLENTY of property taxes.

As the graphic below tells us, the median California homeowner pays 53.6% more property tax than the national average.   And remember, this average INCLUDES the huge state of California!

Texas — hated by progressives — has a high property tax rate, but the median CA homeowner property tax bill is 23.5% higher than the median TX homeowner’s property tax.  That’s because California’s government-mandated shortage of homes and high home building costs make our abodes far more expensive than Texas.  Indeed, the value of CA properties are considerably higher than all states except Hawaii, where EVERYTHING is expensive.

The relationship between high state property taxes and a state’s politics is dramatically indicated in the chart.  Of the worst ten states, nine are liberal bastions (CA is 7th worst) — and have been for decades. The notable exception is New Hampshire. But NH is the only state that has no income tax AND no sales tax.

MAYBE one could justify California’s high property tax — if our other taxes were low.  They aren’t.  CA has the top THREE state income tax brackets — an Olympic sweep! CA has the second highest total capital gains tax in the world — only Denmark is higher.

CA also has the highest statewide sales tax rate.  And the highest total gas taxes. And by far the highest diesel taxes. CA has the highest state corporate income tax rate west of Iowa (our economic competitors). The exception is Alaska, but no one moves their corporation to Alaska.

If you’d like to know just how badly California compares to the rest of the nation on 35 different economic criteria, check out my dreary, annotated, constantly updated fact sheet:
www.TinyURL.com/CA-vs-other-states  

BTW, this fact sheet that I maintain is actually used by a number of state and local business development agencies around the country to help persuade businesses to flee the Golden State. It puts numbers to what most Californians sense but can’t quantify — California doesn’t pencil out for businesses OR individuals.

BOTTOM LINE:  CA is awash in tax revenue.  We don’t have a revenue problem — we have a SPENDING problem.  The LAST thing the Golden State needs is higher taxes.  But in 2020 there will be a deluge of tax increase propositions on the CA state and local ballots.

2017 Median Homeowner Property Tax – Ranked By State

  Median Property Tax CA Property Tax
     State Annual as % of National as % of Each
Rank   State Property Tax Prop Tax Average State’s Prop Tax
1 Alabama $571 23.5% 653.1%
2 West Virginia $686 28.3% 543.6%
3 Arkansas $780 32.1% 478.1%
4 Louisiana $849 35.0% 439.2%
5 South Carolina $893 36.8% 417.6%
6 Mississippi $942 38.8% 395.9%
7 Tennessee $1,165 48.0% 320.1%
8 Indiana $1,181 48.6% 315.7%
9 Kentucky $1,203 49.5% 310.0%
10 Oklahoma $1,225 50.5% 304.4%
11 Wyoming $1,301 53.6% 286.6%
12 New Mexico $1,361 56.1% 274.0%
13 Idaho $1,408 58.0% 264.8%
14 Delaware $1,440 59.3% 259.0%
15 North Carolina $1,440 59.3% 259.0%
16 Arizona $1,456 60.0% 256.1%
17 Missouri $1,492 61.4% 249.9%
18 Nevada $1,499 61.7% 248.8%
19 Georgia $1,584 65.2% 235.4%
20 Utah $1,699 70.0% 219.5%
21 Hawaii $1,716 70.7% 217.3%
22 Colorado $1,736 71.5% 214.8%
23 North Dakota $1,838 75.7% 202.9%
24 Florida $1,861 76.6% 200.4%
25 Montana $1,865 76.8% 199.9%
26 Kansas $2,075 85.5% 179.7%
27 South Dakota $2,119 87.3% 176.0%
28 Virginia $2,194 90.4% 170.0%
29 Ohio $2,217 91.3% 168.2%
30 Iowa $2,302 94.8% 162.0%
31 Michigan $2,358 97.1% 158.1%
32 Minnesota $2,445 100.7% 152.5%
33 Maine $2,562 105.5% 145.6%
34 Nebraska $2,642 108.8% 141.1%
35 Pennsylvania $2,855 117.6% 130.6%
36 Oregon $2,978 122.7% 125.2%
37 Texas $3,020 124.4% 123.5%
38 Washington $3,226 132.9% 115.6%
39 Alaska $3,232 133.1% 115.4%
40 Wisconsin $3,257 134.1% 114.5%
41 Maryland $3,336 137.4% 111.8%
42 California $3,729 153.6%
43 Rhode Island $4,173 171.9% 89.4%
44 Vermont $4,210 173.4% 88.6%
45 Illinois $4,328 178.3% 86.2%
46 Massachusetts $4,561 187.9% 81.8%
47 New York $5,308 218.6% 70.3%
48 New Hampshire $5,624 231.6% 66.3%
49 Connecticut $5,710 235.2% 65.3%
50 New Jersey $8,124 334.6% 45.9%
Nationwide $2,428

2017 Property Tax data gleaned from Bureau of Labor Statistics

NOTE: This data was provided in response to my special request to SmartAsset.com. They had a story on this topic, but did not publish it in table form. I contacted them and they quickly sent me this spreadsheet data, which I had difficulty finding anywhere via Google.

Hat’s off to this outfit, and to Kara Gibson, their media rep who who assisted me in my query.

Here’s the link to the SmartAsset story: