Gov. Gavin Newsom claims ‘California is not a high tax state’ for middle class


by Julia Johnson at

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) claimed on Tuesday that his state of California is not “high tax,” as it’s often labeled.

According to the California governor, the criticism of its taxes is “lazy punditry.”

Speaking at the Milken Institute’s 2023 Global Conference with MSNBC senior business analyst and host of The 11th HourStephanie Ruhle, he said, “California is not a high tax state.”

“It is for you,” he told the audience. “But not 99% of the others.”

“There was just a new deep analysis that it was the ninth most tax-friendly state for middle-class,” he said, likely referring to a December 2022 study by Kiplinger, which did indeed list California as the ninth most tax-friendly state for middle-class families.

“There hasn’t been a general tax increase in the state of California since the voters approved one in 2011 and went into effect in 2012,” he told Ruhle. “There’s been no general tax increase in the income tax.”

“I am not a tax and spend liberal. I don’t believe you have to be a profligate to be progressive,” Newsom continued.

He further instructed Texas and Florida to “eat your heart out” while touting California’s gross domestic product, which he noted is poised to surpass Germany as the world’s fourth largest.

While the Kiplinger study rated California highly in terms of taxes on the middle class, Wallethub ranked the state as having the 12th-largest tax burden in a study this year.

The state further has the seventh-largest individual income tax burden.

And despite Newsom’s insistence on his state’s superiority, it was one of the top 10 states for outbound migration in 2022, per United Van Lines 46th Annual National Movers Study.

According to the study, residents leaving California in 2022 were more likely to cite affordability as a reason than any other state.


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