The bad news is that the state's personal and corporate income taxes as well as its sales taxes are in the top 10 countrywide.
When you balance it all out, Californians' federal, state and local taxes in 2012 equaled their income from Jan. 1 to April 20, putting us in 11th place for heaviest tax burden by that measure, according to the Tax Foundation's Tax Freedom Day calculation.
The national average Tax Freedom Day was April 17. Topping the list was Connecticut, where residents on the average worked until May 5 to pay all their taxes for the year.
This year, California has the highest sales taxes in the country at 7.5 percent. When you tally the state by combined state and average local sales tax, the amount is 8.38 percent, a mere ninth highest nationwide. Highest is Tennessee at 9.44 percent.
Other California rankings:
- State personal income tax per capita in 2011 was $1,346, sixth highest. The national average was $835. New York topped the list at $1,864.
- State corporate income tax collections per capita in 2011 was $256, fifth highest. The national average was $129. Alaska topped the list at $1,003.
- Average homeowner property tax as a percentage of a home's value was 0.8 percent in 2011, 33rd highest. New Jersey topped the list at 1.98 percent.
- Combined excise taxes - including those for gas, alcohol, cigarettes and phones - were $325 per capita, 45th highest. The national average was $475. Vermont topped the list at $866.
The Tax Foundation sends copies of the annual report to each of the nation's state legislators and governors. It advocates for "simplicity, transparency, stability, broad bases and low rates" for taxes. It tends to lean right of center in its analysis and advocacy, while the Tax Policy Center tends to lean left of center. Both groups are nonpartisan, and while their interpretation of data can vary, their statistics are usually virtually identical.
Regarding the state's property taxes, you may be interested in my story about nine pending bills that would tweak aspects of Proposition 13's protections.