More Than $10 Billion a Year in Higher Taxes and Fees Approved by Lawmakers and Governor in 2023

For Immediate Release, November 14, 2023
Contact: David Kline (916) 893-2614 or [email protected]

SACRAMENTO – During the first year of the 2023-24 legislative session, lawmakers and the governor approved more than $10 billion in higher taxes and fees, increasing the cost of living for residents, the nonpartisan California Tax Foundation reported today.

The foundation’s Tax and Fee Report tallies 93 proposals with higher taxes or fees, including 46 that became law.

Of the 46 new laws that include taxes or fees, the 17 that can be quantified represent $10.42 billion in new costs to taxpayers. The 29 measures with unknown costs also will add to the tax and fee burden in the state.

The potential cost to taxpayers can be quantified for 58 of the 93 measures included in the report, for a cumulative total of $203.5 billion a year in additional taxes and fees if all were approved. Many of the measures remain alive as the Legislature prepares to launch the final year of the two-year session.

Taxes and fees enacted this year include an extension of a tax on managed care organizations estimated to increase taxes by $8.2 billion, a constitutional amendment that proposes to lower the vote threshold necessary to increase local taxes, and five bills that allow local governments to circumvent the transactions and use tax cap and impose higher sales taxes.

These proposals come at a time when many Californians worry about rising costs, and voters believe the state no longer will be affordable for future generations. According to a recent Public Policy Institute of California survey: “A record-high 71 percent of Californians think that when children today in California grow up, they will be worse off financially than their parents.” The taxes and fees increased in 2023 likely will add to California’s high cost of living.

Tax proposals that were unsuccessful this year but can be acted upon next year include a proposal to create a government-run health care program estimated to require at least $162.8 billion in tax increases, a $22.3 billion “wealth tax” on current and former California residents’ assets, and a corporate tax rate increase estimated to cost taxpayers $7.2 billion in 2023-24 and $6 billion per year in subsequent years.

“The state budget signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in June proposes total spending of $310.8 billion in 2023-24. In July, the Department of Finance projected general fund operating deficits – the shortfall projected if no changes are made to spending or revenue – of approximately $15 billion to $18 billion per year during the next three years,” the report notes. “The deficit could increase the likelihood that lawmakers propose more taxes and fees.”

The Tax and Fee Report is a regular publication of the California Tax Foundation, updated throughout the year to reflect new legislative proposals. The report includes any measure estimated to cost $1 million or more per year in higher taxes or fees.

The California Tax Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 1980, improves public policy through independent, nonpartisan research.