California Democrats consider wealth tax — including for people who moved out of state

California Democrats consider wealth tax — including for people who moved out of state

California lawmakers are pushing laws that may impose a brand new tax on the state’s wealthiest residents — even when they’ve already moved to a different half of the nation.

Assemblyman Alex Lee, a progressive Democrat, final week introduced a bill in the California State Legislature that may impose an additional annual 1.5% tax on these with a “worldwide web price” above $1 billion, beginning as early as January 2024.

As early as 2026, the brink for being taxed would drop: these with a worldwide web price exceeding $50 million could be hit with a 1% annual tax on wealth, whereas billionaires would nonetheless be taxed 1.5%.

Worldwide wealth extends past annual revenue to incorporate numerous holdings reminiscent of farm belongings, arts and different collectibles, and shares and hedge fund curiosity.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 01: California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference after meeting with students at James Denman Middle School on October 01, 2021 in San Francisco, California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California will become the first state in the nation to mandate students to have a COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend in person classes. The mandate will go into effect at all private and public schools in the state when the FDA approves the vaccinations for students age and grade level. It is expected that 7th to 12th graders will likely have to have the vaccine by January of 2022. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom


The laws is a modified model of a wealth tax permitted within the California Assembly in 2020, which the Democrat-led state Senate declined to cross.


The present model simply launched contains measures to permit California to impose wealth taxes on residents even years after they left the state and moved elsewhere.

Exit taxes aren’t new in California. But this invoice additionally contains provisions to create contractual claims tied to the belongings of a rich taxpayer who would not have the money to pay their annual wealth tax invoice as a result of most of their belongings aren’t simply became money. This declare would require the taxpayer to make annual filings with California’s Franchise Tax Board and finally pay the wealth taxes owed, even when they’ve moved to a different state.

California was one of several blue states final week to unveil payments to impose new wealth taxes. The different states have been Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York and Washington. Each state’s proposal contained a distinction tax method, however all of them centered across the identical fundamental concept: the wealthy should pay extra.

Lee’s workplace did not reply to a request for remark for this story. However, he is made public statements echoing the message that wealthier residents ought to pay greater taxes.

“The working class has shouldered the tax burden for too lengthy,” Lee wrote in a tweet. “The ultra-rich are paying little to nothing by hoarding their wealth via belongings. Time to finish that.”

According to Lee, the tax would have an effect on 0.1% of California households and generate a further $21.6 billion in state income, which might go to the state normal fund. California has among the highest taxes of any state within the nation.

Advocates argue that the cash might increase funding for colleges, housing and different social applications. Perhaps extra importantly, nevertheless, Lee hopes it might assist tackle California’s large $22.5 billion funds deficit.


“This is how we will hold addressing our budgetary points,” he informed the Los Angeles Times. “Basically, we might plug your entire gap.”

However, consultants counter that the invoice can have the precise reverse impact via excessive administrative prices and by inflicting an exodus of people to flee the state.

“It brings vital administrative challenges with respect to asset and legal responsibility valuation, excessive and distortionary efficient charges, amongst different issues that make it an inefficient income supply,” Gordon Gray, director of fiscal coverage on the American Action Forum, informed Fox New Digital.

Others echoed this level, additionally arguing a brand new wealth tax would doubtless lead many rich residents to depart California.

“The proposed California wealth tax could be economically damaging, difficult to manage and would drive many rich residents — and all their present tax funds — out of state,” Jared Walczak, vp of state tasks at Tax Foundation, informed Fox News Digital. “The invoice units apart as a lot as $660 million per 12 months simply for administrative prices, greater than $40,000 per potential taxpayer, giving an concept of how troublesome such a tax could be to manage.”

People are already shifting from high-tax states into low-tax ones, in keeping with a current analysis by James Doti, president emeritus and economics professor at Chapman University. He discovered that the ten highest tax states misplaced almost 1 in 100 residents in web home migration between July 2021 and July 2022, whereas the ten lowest tax states gained nearly 1 in 100.

California lawmakers pushing the wealth tax suppose they’ll “get round” the issue of residents leaving “by making an attempt to tax people even after they go away the state,” stated Patrick Gleason, vp of state affairs at Americans for Tax Reform. However, he, Gray and Walczak all questioned the legality of such an method or labeled it outright unconstitutional.


Past research have proven that the highest 1% of taxpayers pay about 50% of state revenue taxes in New York, California and elsewhere, elevating the query of how damaging a mass exodus of rich residents might be to tax income.

Walczak famous {that a} wealth tax could be particularly problematic for California, joking that the people most enthusiastic about such a regulation needs to be people in Texas, the place some high-profile Californians have relocated in recent times.

“A wealth tax might be notably damaging in California, house to so many tech startups, as a result of the homeowners of promising companies might be taxed on a whole bunch of thousands and thousands of {dollars}’ price of estimated enterprise worth that by no means truly materializes,” stated Walczak. “Very few taxpayers would remit wealth taxes, however many taxpayers would pay the value. The solely people who ought to genuinely love a California wealth tax are those who work in Texas’ financial growth workplace.”

However, some proponents of wealth taxes argue they’re essential to fight financial inequality.

Maryland Democrat Delegate Jheanelle Ok. Wilkins, for instance, has proposed a invoice in order that households would owe taxes on inheritances over $1 million moderately than $5 million, as is the case at this time. She stated such concepts will now acquire extra assist after the COVID-19 pandemic uncovered inequality between the wealthy and poor.

“That’s fairly a bit of funds that we’re leaving on the desk,” she informed the Washington Post.

Other supporters say wealth taxes are small and the wealthy can afford them. But consultants be aware that as a result of the charges are on web price, not on revenue, they’ve an outsized impact.


Walczak illustrated the purpose in a current weblog post, utilizing for instance a $50 million funding, held for 10 years and incomes a ten% nominal annual price of return in an surroundings of 3% annual inflation. Without a wealth tax, that funding would yield $46.5 million in funding returns, in present {dollars}, after 10 years. With a 1% wealth tax, nevertheless, it could yield $37.3 million, wiping out almost 20% of the beneficial properties.

Wealth taxes “reduce deeply into funding returns, to the detriment of the broader economic system,” wrote Walczak. “Average taxpayers could not care if the ultra-wealthy have decrease web worths. But they are going to definitely care if innovation slows and investments decline.”