I just went through the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans and started counting, and guess what? A full 80 of the 400 live in California. That’s one out of every five billionaires in America, living right here in a state that can’t afford to educate its kids.
Then I took out my calculator and added up a long row of numbers and got a big one: The total net worth of the billionaires in California is $231.8 billion. Ten percent of that wipes out the budget deficit. And that doesn’t even count the folks worth $900 million or less; they didn’t make the list.
Folks: This is a very, very rich state. A very modest tax increase on a very tiny number of people could solve our budget problems not just today but into the foreseeable future.
Really inspiring news from the FFRF.
The national Freedom From Religion Foundation, along with 21 of its California members, has filed a nationally-significant federal lawsuit in Sacramento, challenging tax benefits for “ministers of the gospel,” commonly known as “the parsonage exemption.”
Ministers, who are paid in tax-free dollars, also may deduct their mortgage interest and property tax payments. Under both Federal and California law, allowances paid to “ministers of the gospel” are not treated as taxable income, unlike the situation for other taxpayers. Only “ministers of the gospel” may claim these benefits, so the statutes convey a governmental message of endorsement, unconstitutionally favoring religious employees and institutions over all others, the Foundation maintains.