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Reason Foundation

Happy Tax Freedom Day, California!

Adam Summers
April 16, 2011, 7:35pm

My fellow Californians may be interested to hear that today, April 16, is the state's "Tax Freedom Day" for 2011, according to the Tax Foundation. This is the day that the average taxpayer has finally earned enough to pay off his or her tax burden for the year, including federal, state, and local taxes. In other words, taxpayers have to work nearly 30% of the year just to cover their tax liabilities before they can start earning for themselves and their families.

At 106 days spent working to pay taxes, California's Tax Freedom Day is the sixth-latest (or sixth-worst) in the nation. Only Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, and Washington were worse (see a table of the states' Tax Freedom Days at the Tax Foundation Web site).

The national Tax Freedom Day fell on April 12, three days later than last year. Note that this calculation does not include the $1.5 trillion federal budget deficit. If the deficit were included, national Tax Freedom Day would fall on May 23. That means the average taxpayer must devote about 40% of his annual income just to paying taxes.

The fact that the federal government's annual budget—and now even its annual deficits!—are in the trillions of dollars is enough to make the Founding Fathers turn in their graves. Given the exponential growth in the size and scope of government (and government debt), especially in recent years, Americans need to seriously re-evaluate their priorities and when, if ever, government should be considered a viable solution to their problems. An honest appraisal will reveal that it is the government that is the source of our troubles and the cause of our fiscal shackles.


Adam Summers is Senior Policy Analyst


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