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Jon Coupal


Jon Coupal is President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

During Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first campaign for governor, one of his biggest backers, super wealthy Warren Buffet, famously said his property taxes on his Laguna Beach home were not high enough. The comment caused California homeowners to question Arnold’s bona fides as a conservative so he threatened to make Buffet do 500 sit ups for his transgression. While the controversy blew over, there seems to be no record of Buffet making a voluntary additional payment to the county tax collector to assuage his conscious.

Most California homeowners don’t have Buffet’s wealth and rightfully believe they are already paying enough to finance local services. But still, the question of just how California property taxes measure up against other states is the source of a lot of angst and disinformation. (Rumors have it that some on the far left are preoccupied with this subject as they look for opportunities to force the “evil landowning elite” to pay their “fair share.”)

For years, the curious could consult information made available by the Tax Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank whose mission is to educate taxpayers about sound tax policy and the size of the tax burden borne by Americans at all levels of government.

If one consulted the Foundation earlier this year they would have been informed that California ranks 19th out of all 50 states in property tax burden. However, if one were to check today, they would find that our state now ranks 34th.

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