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California Ain't So Bad!!!

March 31st, 2009 at 02:01 pm

So says I, on the eve of a 1% sales tax increase.

Then again, it's 73 degrees right now. Big Grin

Yeah, today was interesting. California is pretty aggressive about taxing anything you may have ever earned if you ever lived in California, and anything you earn in this state if you are not a resident, etc., etc.

& California is not likely the best choice if you are a high income earner. That is for sure.

But I think it gets a bad rap. Since it is a little more socialistic, the penalty isn't so bad if you don't earn so much. The college prices can't be beat.

I bring it up because a client in another state earned a whopping $2k from a speaking engagement in North Carolina. He got a 1099 and had $100 income tax withheld in North Carolina. I filed the NC return to get a refund, and instead he owed them like $25. What the heck??? The tax rate on the $2k was 6%. Holy COW!!!!!!

Seriously?

I pulled up NC tax rates and yeah, every taxable dime over $0 is taxed at 6% plus.

I pulled up California in comparison. You have to have $30k taxable income before you even hit the 6% tax breacket.

Yeesh.

One of my favorite bloggers, in this state, blogged recently how California is the most HIGHLY taxed state in the nation.

I had to take issue with that. Seriously? We don't have the highest income tax rates (though maybe close). Not the highest sales tax rates (though close). Certainly not the highest property tax rates. Apparently this guy has never lived in NYC (nor prepared a NYC tax return).

You don't know how many people I know who moved up north but didn't do any research and didn't realize property taxes were sky high.

& so it goes.

Can't say where California will be tomorrow with this budget mess. But for today, being middle income isn't really taxed that much, if you ask me.

Anyway, my sister lives in NC. I had no idea how tax crazy they were. They are a bit like California. Very aggressive.

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Yeah, I had completely forgotten. Our sales tax rates increase by 1% tomorrow. 7.75 to 8.75.

In the grand scheme of things I don't expect it to affect us much. Most of our budget goes to savings, groceries, gas and services, which do not have sales taxes. In fact, they haven't raised gas taxes (yet) in all this mess.

If we average $2400 per year in taxable purchases (just a guess) our tax bill will increase $24. I think we will survive.

One item we have been splurging a bit more on is eating out. Which IS taxed. & unfortunately, is a reason to scale back a bit. It doesn't look good for the restaurants.

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Last night I officially paid all the bills for May. I had a whopping FIVE entries to make on online bill pay. Seriously?

Let's see...

The savings is automatic.

I do have to go in and pay a lot of the utilities monthly with the credit card. I do most of those around the 10th.

But the bills that I could not charge were the mortgage, health insurance, preschool, gardener, gas company. (Don't ask me why all the city owned utilities can be paid by credit card, but not the giant regional for-profit gas company. Whatevah).

& that's it? I have been moving more and more to the credit card. I didn't realize how simple it had gotten. (Until another credit card breach, of course. I am sure handing my info over to so many organizations is not helping the cause. I still have no inkling where the last 3 breaches came from - all about in a years time. I guess it's becoming old hat).

I will have to of course, pay the credit card off, when it closes on the 3rd. So that is another one. The county (sewer) only bills only other month; I have some random annual bills to add to the mix too. But MONTHLY is getting quite simple.

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Beyond all that I paid $500 online for our life insurance (annual billing) and wrote a check of $2300 for the property taxes. Oh joy!

I deposited my $1k gift and with my $1700 in cash savings next month, it will be a wash. Usually I slide backwards a little bit in net worth when I pay the property taxes. I guess my overtime check will help too. It will probably arrive literally days after the property tax check clears. Happy not to fork it over to the county though. Blech. I think there is no better feeling than taking a windfall and just putting it in a savings account. It's nice not to *need* it immediately.

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I am not sure if my paycheck will get stimulated. Guess I find out tomorrow. I think the boss is too busy to care nor to update the software. I actually spent the weekend updating the clients' software as I am sure questions would arise. I think it woud have been overlooked otherwise, in the tax fray. But I did send an e-mail to the boss that it was done. *hint hint*

Anyway, either way I don't particularly care. I expect a bigger tax bill this year and wihholding more isn't the worst. But if it does so happen to arrive I am going to *up* my ROTH contribution to $415/month. That's mostly what I have decided to do. It's just enough to get us to one maxed out IRA. How's that for a sign?

6 Responses to “California Ain't So Bad!!!”

  1. zetta Says:

    I read in The Economist that one of the reasons for the CA budget crisis is that the tax tables are TOO progressive. The bulk of the state's income comes from the earners paying the highest marginal tax rates, and when a recession comes along, the top earners stop having bonuses and large capital gains income. This causes a huge drop in tax money collected by the state.

  2. whitestripe Says:

    when DF went to the US with his friends for a holiday they remarked on how when you buy something in a store you end up having to pay all these taxes when you are at the checkout. here we just have gst tax and that is already added to the item on the price tag.

  3. PauletteGoddard Says:

    Good to know. Some of us outside of CA see SoCal with its 30 million citizens and hovels in gang-infested neighbourhoods starting at $500K, and SanFran with studios starting at $650K and tend to think that CA is all high-income earners who think nothing of the taxes...

  4. debtfreeme Says:

    i got my new check with the stimulus money. it was about 43 more than normal.

  5. M E 2 Says:



    All I know is that your (California) house prices are insane. And NOT in a good way.

    Sunday on HOUSE HUNTERS, they bought a 1500 square foot/3 bedroom/2 bath ranch (style) house that was a fixer-upper for ...........................................











    the *alleged* (choking noise) bargain price of 1.6 million dollars. Seriously? Seriously!! W T F ?!!!?


  6. monkeymama Says:

    zetta - extremely true. That is why I probably confuse some readers since I am always ranting about high taxes. But I prepare taxes for a lot of higher income individuals.

    PG - Considering literally high earners only get to keep 50% of their income a lot of the time (between fed & state taxes), believe me they complain plenty. They move away too which is the other problem - we neighbor so many income-tax-free states.

    ME2 - Depends where and when. Not all of the state is so expensive. That expensive? Very few zip codes.

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