robot_grrl and I just got our license plate renewals, which in California, include a vehicle property tax. On my two-year-old car, this tax, plus the plate fees, smog fees etc., adds up to over $400.00. For Tara's six or seven-year-old car, it is less than half, but still more than what we paid in Illinois, including the village fee. Similarly, we pay considerably more than the 3% Illinois state income tax here, and our sales taxes are comparable. Property taxes are, if I remember correctly, generally less for the value of the property, but most of the property is worth at least a bit more -- I'm not sure about the assessed value though -- so that may offset the total property tax revenue.
However, The State of California is suffering a horrendous budget crisis. There is a gap of billions of dollars, and growing daily. The Governator, or at least his staff, is now talking about making deep cuts in School and health care budgets, and even shutting down State Parks to try to close the gap (I'll say more on that in a moment).
So, it looks like things that everyone -- or at least everyone except for the most dedicated libertarians -- consider basic services from a US State or local Government (Schools, Health Care, natural and historic parks) are being cut to save money. The message coming from Sacramento is that there is no other place to cut the budget. So, my question remains, where is the money getting spent?
On the parks issue, it sounds like the Governor's staff is trying to make sure that they select parks that will cause the most outrage for being closed. In San Diego County, among the parks slated for possible closure are all of Torrey Pines -- both the reserve and the very popular beach -- two or three other popular state beaches, and both the Anza-Borrego and Cuymaca parks which are draws for both local, semi-local and out of town visitors. The only major state park that I'm at least somewhat familiar with that isn't on the list to be closed is Old Town, which may actually make money thanks to its restaurants and other shops.
I think that putting the Del Mar fairgrounds on the list of properties that might be sold is a similar move, since if anyone other than the County (or City) of San Diego were to buy the fairgrounds, the fair and its historic and popular race meet -- not to mention the events that keep it busy the rest of the year -- would either be shut down or have to relocate, or pay rent to the new owners which would end up costing more.