By George Skelton
March 7, 2019
… California is in a league of its own on personal income taxes. We’ve got by far the highest state rate in the nation, topping out at 13.3%.
By contrast, Pennsylvania has a low flat rate for every taxpayer regardless of income. It’s just 3.07%. That’s one reason why superstar slugger Bryce Harper signed an eye-popping 13-year, $330-million contract last week with the Philadelphia Phillies, spurning the Dodgers and Giants.
It was the largest free-agent deal in the history of North American sports.
Harper will save tens of millions in taxes by signing with the Phillies instead of a California team.
California’s so-called jock tax for pro athletes can be complicated. Basically, a ballplayer is taxed for the amount of time he’s in the state.
If he’s an all-year California resident it’s fairly simple: His contract is taxed at the state rate.
But if he’s a non-resident, he gets taxed based on what the state calls “duty days.”
[California] It relies too heavily on rich people’s capital gains, which tumble during downturns and drain the treasury, forcing sharp cuts in programs for the poor. At last count, the top 1% were paying 46% of the state income tax while earning 23% of the income.
But you don’t need to be rich to be thrust into a high tax bracket: $56,000 in taxable income will force a single person to pay at the 9.3% rate. Double that for couples.
So whose fault is this? Sacramento Democrats orchestrated the enormous state taxes. Voters approved them. …
It was a team effort.