State per-capita taxes among nation’s highest

The Associated Press
Wednesday October 11, 2000

Californians shouldered the eighth-highest per capita tax burden in the nation last year, paying $2,183.96 per person, U.S. Census data released Tuesday shows. 

The per capita figure was up $111 from the previous year’s $2,072.87. 

The census figures include taxes on alcohol, insurance premiums, gas and business licenses as well as property taxes, individual income and corporate taxes and others. 

State income tax collection grew 10.6 percent last year, from $27.7 billion to $30.7 billion, the figures show. 

Lenny Goldberg, executive director of the California Tax Reform Association, said the increase in income tax revenue was due to higher salaries in the booming economy. 

“A lot of that comes from the wealthiest incomes and that’s as it should be because they’re making the most money,” he said. 

California collected $72.4 billion in all taxes in 1999, up 6.9 percent from $67.7 billion collected the year before. 

At the same time, the net income tax collected from corporations dropped $128 million, from $5.59 billion in 1998 to $5.46 billion in 1999. 

“The corporations have been poking more and more loopholes in the tax laws,” Goldberg said.  

“Programs such as the Manufacturers Investment Credit, enterprise zones, research and development tax credits, those have grown substantially.” 

Pat Hill, spokesman for the Franchise Tax Board, which is responsible for collecting income and corporate taxes, agreed that the decrease in such revenue is due to tax incentive programs. 

“There’s been a widespread use of tax credits by businesses and corporations that are reducing their taxes,” he said. 

Taxes on tobacco products rose 38.5 percent — the highest percentage of any of the categories— from $649 million in 1998 to $899 million in 1999. 

That increase is due to Proposition 10, the 1998 voter-approved 50-cent-per-pack tobacco tax, said Dave Hayes, research manager for the Board of Equalization. 

“It’s completely due to that. Cigarette consumption has fallen off since that was implemented,” Hayes said. 

Nationally, the states collected about $500 billion in tax revenue in 1999, up from $474 billion in 1998. Individual income tax revenues rose 7 percent nationally. 

The average per-capita taxes collected by states were $1,835 for every person. Connecticut was highest, with $2,932, followed by Delaware with $2,695 and Hawaii with $2,671. 


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