But perhaps the key factor in California’s dwindling population of productive citizens is taxes: The current top state income tax bracket is the second highest in the nation (behind Hawaii, which is somewhat harder to move away from), and Brown wants to give it the dubious honor of taking the lead in that category.
What’s arguably worse is that California’s tax rates brutalize the middle class: Individuals making between $37,005 and $46,766 pay an 8 percent state income tax. Only six states and the District of Columbia have a maximum tax rate higher than 8 percent, but that is the burden on someone making only $40,000 in California — a place where $40,000 doesn’t go very far towards ordinary costs of living.
And from $46,766 to $1,000,000 of income, the California state tax rate is 9.3 percent. Only two states, Hawaii and Oregon, have tax rates higher than that paid by someone earning $50,000 in California: Oregon’s 9.9 percent rate kicks in at $125,000 of income and in Hawaii a 10 percent rate starts at 175,000 of income with an 11 percent success penalty (no, it’s not officially called that) above $300,000.
California doesn’t just soak the rich; is an equal-opportunity pillager. And this is why it is losing the productive part of its population at a stunning pace.