Capitol Alert

Data Tracker: Who pays California government’s bills?

Gov. Jerry Brown makes a point in San Diego in 2012 as he holds a sign in support of Proposition 30, which temporarily increased the sales tax, as well as the income tax for high-income filers.
Gov. Jerry Brown makes a point in San Diego in 2012 as he holds a sign in support of Proposition 30, which temporarily increased the sales tax, as well as the income tax for high-income filers. Associated Press file

When it comes to who’s paying for California government, certain regions of the Golden State stand out.

The $122.6 billion general fund spending plan Gov. Jerry Brown released this week relies more than ever on revenue from the personal income tax. Its share of the estimated state revenue pie is 68 percent for the budget year beginning July 1, 20 percentage points higher than it was two decades ago.

Just 10 of the state’s 58 counties contributed more than three-quarters of that revenue in the 2013 tax year, the most recent tax data available. In some counties, per capita income tax revenue is significantly higher than elsewhere.

Marin County had a per capita income tax payment of $5,017 in 2013, the highest in the state, followed by San Mateo ($4,754), San Francisco ($4,312), Santa Clara ($3,407), Contra Costa ($2,007), Alameda ($1,912), Napa ($1,856), Orange ($1,724), El Dorado ($1,433) and Placer ($1,423) counties.

That list tracks almost exactly with the list of counties that have the highest household median income data, according to the latest census data.

Within every county, meanwhile, certain ZIP codes yielded especially high income tax receipts. In the 2013 tax year, ZIP codes in the wealthy enclaves of Palo Alto, Atherton, Beverly Hills and Pacific Palisades contributed several hundred million dollars apiece, averaging from $24,000 to $90,000 per tax return. That compares to a statewide per-return average of $3,000

In the four-county Sacramento region, El Dorado Hills’ 95762 ZIP code generated the most income tax money in the area ($8,300 per return), followed by Folsom’s 95630 ($4,000 per return), and Granite Bay’s 95746 ($10,000 per return.)

California’s second-largest source of money is the sales and use tax, which will yield an estimated $25.2 billion in the current fiscal year.

In 2013, almost three-quarters of the sales tax revenue came from 10 counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Santa Clara, San Bernardino, Riverside, Alameda, Sacramento, San Francisco and Kern. So while places like San Bernardino and Kern counties have fewer high rollers, their residents generate more than their share of taxable sales.

The Sacramento Bee’s Data Tracker is a weekly feature that offers a deeper look at the numbers behind today’s news. Jim Miller: 916-326-5521, @jimmiller2

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