Research Reports

Tax and Fee Report

Tax & Fee Report 2019, Vol. VI, No I
An overview of the major taxes and fees introduced in the California Legislature. Since December 3, 2018, lawmakers introduced 40 proposals that cumulatively would cost taxpayers more than $6.2 billion annually in higher taxes and fees. This number is preliminary and expected to increase as bills are amended through the legislative session.

California Tax Facts

California Tax Facts: A Guide to the Golden State's Tax Structure (Fourth Edition)
How much revenue does California get from the personal income tax? Which business collects the most sales and use tax? How stable are property revenues under Proposition 13? The answers to these questions and more are included in the updated 84-page reference guide that includes informative colorful charts and tables with state agency statistics. The popular guide is now in its fourth edition.

The Evolution and Impact of Proposition 13

The Evolution and Impact of Proposition 13: A Visual Guide to Califronia's Property Tax Sysstem
This informative chartbook provides readers with a detailed history regarding California's landmark 1978 property tax initiative, Proposition 13, and its effect on California's revenue and taxpayers. This chartbook uses colorful graphics and charts in a reader-friendly format to demonstrate the basic tenets of Proposition 13 and its practical application to taxpayers.

Water's Edge Factsheet

How California Taxes Business Income Within the Water's Edge
A one-page factsheet on California’s approach to taxing foreign income through a unitary worldwide combined reporting option or a water’s edge option. This factsheet provides a basic overview of the water’s edge option and key facts regarding its approach.

The Challenge of Taxing Services

The Challenge of Taxing Services
An overview on the challenge of implementing a sales tax on services in California and the problems with administering the tax and the increased costs California businesses and consumers would face if a service tax was to be implemented.

Tax Watch

Tax Watch 2018, Vol. V, No III
In 2018, California lawmakers had the opportunity to raise taxes and fees that would have cumulatively cost taxpayers more than $273 billion annually. Through the end of the session, only $201 million in higher taxes and fees were approved by lawmakers and signed into law by the governor.

Tax Watch

Tax Watch 2018, Vol. V, No II
In 2018, California lawmakers introduced 39 bills and constitutional amendments that, if enacted, would cost taxpayers more than $272 billion annually, more than doubling the amount of taxes and fees already paid.

Tax Watch

Tax Watch 2018, Vol. V, No. I
An overview of the major taxes and fees introduced by California's legislature. Lawmakers have proposed more taxes and fees in the first four months of the 2017-18 legislative session than in all of 2015 or 2016.

Proposition26

Proposition 13 and California’s Property Tax Burden
An overview of how a split roll tax increase on business property would impact California’s property tax burden.
 

Proposition26

California Tax Facts: A Guide to the Golden State's Tax Structure
This 77-page reference guide describes the taxes imposed by California's state and local governments, and includes informative color charts and tables with statistics on who pays the taxes, how much revenue is collected, and much more.
 

Proposition26

California's New Tax Agencies An overview of California's new tax agencies including the Office of Tax Appeals and California Department of Tax and Fee Administration that were created as result of of the restructuring of California's State Board of Equalization.

Proposition26

Understanding the Impact of A Countywide Parks Parcel Tax in Los Angeles Los Angeles County is considering a proposal to ask voters in November to increase property taxes by up to $250 million each year, based on a property’s improved square feet. This report analyzes the impact of the tax on communities within Los Angeles County.

Proposition26

2015 Tax Watch - Major Taxes and Fees Introduced by California Lawmakers
During the 2015-16 legislative session, state lawmakers have proposed tax and fee increases that would add more than $132 billion per year to California’s tax burden. The report includes every bill introduced as of June 5, 2015, for the 2015-16 legislative session, that would impose or authorize higher taxes, fees, or tax-like "fees" estimated by state officials to generate $5 million or more per yer in net revenue.

Proposition26

Evaluating State and Local Bonds
Bonds can be an appropriate mechanism to finance capital projects at the state and local levels of government. However, expenditures funded by a bond should be thoroughly evaluated.

Proposition26

Principles of Sound Tax Policy
Policymakers, scholars and think tanks overwhelmingly agree on a number of key overarching principles of sound tax policy. For a list of these policies, click on the report.

Proposition26

How Health Savings Accounts Reduce Health Care Costs
California is one of only three states that do not allow a deduction for contributions to a health savings account. Learn more about how HSAs can reduce health care costs.

Proposition26

Piecing Together California's Parcel Taxes
The first comprehensive study of California’s parcel taxes identified more than $1.9 billion in parcel taxes imposed annually on property owners. The in-depth survey also identifies local trends and provides recommendations for improving the parcel tax. 

Proposition26

Beyond the Wall of Debt: Detailing California's Debt and Unfunded Liabilities
California state and local governments face more than $443 billion in outstanding liabilities from borrowing, deferrals, and other unfunded financial obligations. Using the most recent reports published by the state controller, state treasurer, the California Department of Finance and the Employment Development Department, CalTax tabulated state and local debt and unfunded liabilities to determine the size of the financial obligation that California faces.

Proposition26

Proposition 13 Revisited: A Look at California's Property Tax 35 Years After Passage of Proposition 13
This report finds that homeowners remain the largest beneficiaries of Proposition 13's assessment limits, that assessment limits make property tax a stable revenue source, and that even with rate limits, property tax is growing source of revenue.

Proposition26

The Other Property Tax: An Overview of Parcel Taxes in California
This report examines what a parcel tax is, how they are implemented, issues that arise when they are created, and ways that they can be improved.

cost

Split Roll Property Tax Policy Brief
This report explains what a split roll property tax is, how split roll taxes would impact California's economy, how split roll would affect the tax burden of property owners, and examines other problems created by split roll.

cost

What Proposition 13 Did
This report examines what Proposition 13 did to change how California assesses property taxes, and how it has protected taxpayers for more than three decades.

cost

Government Cost Savings Report: How State and Local Government Can Increase Efficiency and Become More Effective
This report identifies more than $7.3 billion that state and local governments could save, or obtain from revenue enhancements, if proactive steps are taken to address inefficiencies and reform existing programs.

Proposition26

Understanding Proposition 26: A Sponsor's Guide to California's New Tax Structure
The CalTax guide includes a flowchart to help taxpayers and government officials easily and accurately determine whether any given proposal includes a tax that requires a two-thirds vote or a public vote at the local level.

A Decade of Waste, Fraud, and Mismanagement
Waste, fraud and mismanagement by state government has cost taxpayers more than $18.9 billion since 2000. During the past 10 years, California faced its share of difficult budget cycles. In any one-year period, eliminating waste, fraud or mismanagement would not have been enough to bridge a particular year's budget gap.