Monday, December 08, 2008

Where My Tax Money Goes

I often have discussions (or perhaps gripe sessions would be a better term) with Jon and others about where all my tax money goes. With sales and income taxes that are both among the highest in the nation, and property tax to boot, it feels like we're getting dinged at every turn.

So, after a little coffee-time debate at work, I decided to harness the power of the internet and find out. What I found were these links.

First, a study of the California total tax burden versus that of other states concludes that while we pay more than the national average in taxes, it's not a lot more (11.5% versus 11% average for the nation). This article on wikipedia argues that prop 13 has had a disruptive effect on the state economy by making it more advantageous to hold on to your property than to sell it, thus chilling the housing market in many areas.

As for where the money goes, the Governor's budget office has a nice income/expense graph. This shows that, for all their complaints, schools get about 41% of the state budget, with the next biggest item being health services at 25%. Bond funding isn't shown on this graph, elsewhere I found a figure of $4.4B, which would put it at around 3% of the budget. Corrections is also a big chunk of the budget at 7.3%.

However, all of this may be moot if the legislature can't break the deadlock and come to some agreement on the state budget for next year; otherwise the budget for everything will be zero.

1 comment:

The Kawanga Kid said...

Hi Man,

Over here, we always feel bad about paying our taxes -- because we don't see any of the supposed benefits for 'em.

Local taxes are the worst (city / municipal) because there are all these "ghost projects" that are supposed to improve the cities or municipalities that they're in, but they're never finished (or in some cases, never started).

It's gotten to the point that when we see someone trying (however incompetently) to finish a project, we say "at least we know some our tax money's being spent instead of stolen".