Do You Know How Much You’re Being Taxed to Live in Greater Los Angeles?

RANTZ & RAVEZ-My column this week reflects the continuation of the high car registration fees and gas tax that California voters failed to modify with Proposition 6 not long ago.

We are now paying nearly $4 a gallon to drive to school or work or anywhere on our congested and neglected pot-holed roadways. 

When the voters were duped by the “establishment” to vote against Proposition 6, few knew how much it would cost all of us to drive a vehicle in California now and in future years. Many are now realizing the negative impact these increasing taxes are having on our daily lives and budgets. This is not the beginning or the end of taxes for us here in Southern California or, for that matter, all the rest of California. I recently conducted some research I want to share with you -- the true and accurate facts about taxes in our region and beyond. 

Now that your 2018 personal income taxes have been completed, many of you, like me, have paid more than in previous years to the IRS and the State of California. The following information will hit you right in the pocketbook. I hope it will convince you to be aware of NEW and ADDITIONAL pending tax increases coming our way in the next few months.     

I will begin with the April 1, 2019 increase in sales tax for 51 cities surrounding the City of Los Angeles. While the state tax rate is currently 7.25%, many of the 51 cities convinced the voters to increase their sales tax to higher levels. Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena and Pomona now have the highest sales and use tax rates in the entire state of California: 10.250% for products purchased. This is up from 9.500% in those cities. If you live in Burbank and purchase a vehicle, the sales tax on your purchase will be 10.250% as compared to a Los Angeles resident with a 9.500% sales tax rate at this time. This could mean hundreds of dollars on a car purchase. 

This is something to think about when you are purchasing expensive items. Remember, in the case of a vehicle, it is where it is registered that determines the tax you pay, not where you purchased it. This applies to all vehicles. But if I am going to purchase an expensive item for my home, should I shop in Burbank or Los Angeles? You may want to avoid some cities with high sales tax rates when shopping for expensive household items, including Culver City at 10.250% and Covina at 10.250%. Before you purchase anything, do your research and save some of your hard-earned money. 

I was recently shopping for a new motorcycle. Not a Honda or Harley but a BMW. BMW is offering lots of incentives because they want to push new 2018 motorcycles out the door and onto the crowded highways across America. You get your money’s worth with BMW compared to other motorcycle brands -- something to consider if you are in the market for a motorcycle. What I discovered is that there are many fees tacked onto your purchase of a motorcycle or car in California. I hope that by sharing this information with you, it will influence you to just say NO the next time you are asked to vote to add or increase fees or property taxes. 

The following fees are associated with purchasing a new 2018 BMW motorcycle in Los Angeles: 

Current registration.    $57

Current CHP:   $26

Current Vehicle License Fee:  $131

Current County Service Authority for Freeway Emergency Fee:  $1

Current Fingerprint ID Fee:  $1

Current Smog High Polluter Repair Fee:  $6

Original Smog Abatement:  $6

Alt Fuel/Tech Smog Fee:  $8

Current Air Quality Management District:  $6

Current South Coast Air Basin:  $1

Alt Fuel/Tech Reg Fee:  $3

Current Vehicle Theft/DUI 2:  $2

Current Transportation Improvement Fee:  $50

Use/Sales Tax:  $1,900

Reflectorized License Plate Fee:  $1

Total Registration Fee:  $299

Total Use/Sales Tax:  $1,900

Temporary Paper Plate: $85 

Total fees for a 2018 BMW 1600 Motorcycle are $2,284. This amount is on top of the $20,000 plus for the motorcycle itself, bringing the total to $21,909.          

On the subject of taxes, I looked up locations across America where you can live with fewer taxes to burden and drain your wallet. There are seven states in America with no personal income tax. So, if you are tired of congestion, homelessness and other negative factors associated with California, you can relocate to one of these states with no income tax: Wyoming, Washington, Texas, South Dakota, Nevada, Florida and Alaska. The following states have no sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon.   

Is it time to consider relocating to another state where your dollar will buy you more peace and happiness? Something to think about as you get older and your dollar continues to shrink in tax-hungry California.    

Additional and increased taxes are coming, and you will decide it they pass or go down to defeat

A parcel tax is expected to appear on the June ballot. The proceeds will go to the Los Angeles Unified School District to bail out the district and cover the contract promises they recently approved for educators without having the funds to pay for it. Who would settle a contract knowing they do not have the funds to cover those costs? Only in Los Angeles would this be done by elected school board members in charge of the LAUSD. This tax is expected to add hundreds of dollars to your property tax as a parcel tax. Its formula calls for the calculations to be based on the square footage of your structure. The larger the structure, the more you will pay. How is that for another hit on your pocketbook?   

I will continue with this topic in future editions of RantZ & RaveZ prior to the June election. Just remember to VOTE NO on any new taxes!


(Dennis P. Zine is a former and retired LAPD Supervisor, former and retired 12-year Los Angeles City Councilman and current General Manager at Bell Canyon in Ventura County. Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.)