Tax rates in california are the highest in the nation and voters are to blame kite electricity generation

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In 2015, state and local governments collected $228.7 billion in taxes, including property, sales, personal and corporate income levies and a few others, according to the census. That’s in a state with more than 39 million residents and personal income worth nearly $2 trillion that year.

California’s taxes have risen in ranking partly because of voter-approved increases. In November 2012, the state passed a temporary hike in sales taxes of 0.25 percent and raised personal income taxes on the rich. Four years later, voters extended the income tax increase for 12 more years.

Individual wages and business income as a measure of the overall economy aren’t terribly volatile. But California’s income taxes are over five times more volatile than personal income because they also include investment gains, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. The state taxes capital gains, partnership income and dividends, interest and rent—areas where the highest-income taxpayers derive most of their money.

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, half of the state’s personal income tax revenue comes from those making $500,000 or more. Conversely, households making $50,000 or less make up nearly 60 percent of tax filings but make up just 2 percent of revenue.

This volatility can mean huge cash infusions in good times. For example, when Facebook went public in 2012, top employees such as company founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, along with early investors, plumped state coffers with an estimated $2.5 billion, which arguably prevented some school funding cuts amid a $16 billion budget deficit.

The California Teachers Association estimates 30,000 teachers were laid off during the recession. When the state ran low on cash in 2009, it issued IOUs, mostly to taxpayers waiting for their tax refunds. The state cut benefits for the poor, such as dental coverage for those on Medi-Cal. And state workers, along with many local government employees, were forced to take furloughs, hitting working-class families.

The tech sector has an outsized influence on California’s tax volatility. According to the legislative analyst, the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area contribute 40 percent of personal income taxes but are home to only 20 percent of the state’s population.

In 2015, state and local governments collected $228.7 billion in taxes, including property, sales, personal and corporate income levies and a few others, according to the census. That’s in a state with more than 39 million residents and personal income worth nearly $2 trillion that year.

California’s taxes have risen in ranking partly because of voter-approved increases. In November 2012, the state passed a temporary hike in sales taxes of 0.25 percent and raised personal income taxes on the rich. Four years later, voters extended the income tax increase for 12 more years.

Individual wages and business income as a measure of the overall economy aren’t terribly volatile. But California’s income taxes are over five times more volatile than personal income because they also include investment gains, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. The state taxes capital gains, partnership income and dividends, interest and rent—areas where the highest-income taxpayers derive most of their money.

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, half of the state’s personal income tax revenue comes from those making $500,000 or more. Conversely, households making $50,000 or less make up nearly 60 percent of tax filings but make up just 2 percent of revenue.

This volatility can mean huge cash infusions in good times. For example, when Facebook went public in 2012, top employees such as company founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, along with early investors, plumped state coffers with an estimated $2.5 billion, which arguably prevented some school funding cuts amid a $16 billion budget deficit.

The California Teachers Association estimates 30,000 teachers were laid off during the recession. When the state ran low on cash in 2009, it issued IOUs, mostly to taxpayers waiting for their tax refunds. The state cut benefits for the poor, such as dental coverage for those on Medi-Cal. And state workers, along with many local government employees, were forced to take furloughs, hitting working-class families.

The tech sector has an outsized influence on California’s tax volatility. According to the legislative analyst, the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area contribute 40 percent of personal income taxes but are home to only 20 percent of the state’s population.