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Wealthy in California may pay nation's highest taxes

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 6th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

High-income Californians would pay the nation's highest marginal income tax rates with the passage of Proposition 30 last month. If President Barack Obama and Congress fail to make a deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff," the Bush era tax cuts on high-income taxpayers would expire with the arrival of 2013. Rates will revert to their previous levels.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Economics professor at Lynchburg College Gerald Prante in Virginia and Austin John, a Lynchburg economics student using calculated marginal tax rates, the highest rates on the highest levels of income -- for all 50 states. Both combined state, federal and where applicable, local income taxes, in addition to payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare and included the deductibility of some taxes.

The scholars noted that Proposition 30 added three percentage points to the marginal state income tax rate for California's highest-income taxpayers, which brought it to 13.3 percent, raising California over other high-tax jurisdictions to a marginal rate of 51.9 percent, slightly higher than New York City's level.

Hawaii was the only other place with a calculated rate above 50 percent.

Lawmakers are currently engaged in a battle over how to solve the "fiscal cliff" issue by the end of 2012. If nothing is done, a series of tax cuts expire for all Americans and taxes will go up. Republicans favor a continuation of the tax cuts for everyone, including the wealthy. President Obama and Democrats have thrown their support behind continuing the tax cuts for individuals who make $200,000 or less and couples who make $250,000 or less, but they oppose continuing the cuts for wealthier Americans.
 
Republicans also want to cut more spending than Obama. The poll indicates that Americans are reluctant to cut Social Security, Medicare and defense spending, which may lend some weight to Democrats' arguments against major cuts. However, a recent poll also found that more Americans favor cutting government services to reduce deficits than raising taxes, a Republican-held view that the GOP may be able to use in their favor as both parties try to reach an agreement on how to avoid "going over the cliff."

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