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Faulconer Proposes Largest Middle-Class Tax Cut In California History

The California Comeback Tax Cut to Help Make Our Golden State Affordable Again

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

LOS ANGELES – Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer – the leading candidate in the recall of Gavin Newsom – proposed the largest middle class tax cut in California history today. Joined by local leaders and academic experts in the Los Angeles area, Faulconer emphasized his campaign is focused on the people of California as he introduced the California Comeback Tax Cut plan.

“The hard-working men and women who are being priced out of our state need more than a one-time rebate, they need permanent financial relief that lasts. California’s serious problems require serious leadership, and our campaign is focused on real solutions to make our state affordable again,” said Faulconer. “Under my plan 99 percent of taxpaying households will qualify for relief, many middle-class families will see their state income taxes reduced to zero, and we will make it rational to retire here. This is not a tax cut for the Wall Street crowd, it’s a tax cut for the people who make our state work and deserve change in this election.

Mayor Faulconer’s tax plan is welcome news for Californians who are struggling in the wake of this pandemic,” said Downey Mayor Claudia Frometa. “Millions of Middle-Class families will receive needed relief to help them put food on the table, pay their mortgages, and afford a proper education. This proposal represents fundamental change that will make our state more affordable for all of our communities.

Mayor Faulconer’s responsible tax reform plan will help restore the California Dream that is now out of reach for so many California families,said Lee E. Ohanian, UCLA Professor of Economics and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow. “The plan provides immediate and significant help to so many Californians who are mightily struggling to afford the high cost of living. The plan will help pay for housing, groceries, child-care, and transportation. California’s record-setting surplus makes this the perfect opportunity to enact meaningful tax reform that supports California families by allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned income.”

Current state taxes are unfair to the middle class. An individual earning $50,000 in California pays a higher marginal tax rate than someone making $1 million in the state of New York.

Faulconer’s plan will reduce the marginal tax rate to zero for the first $50,000 earned by individuals, and the first $100,000 earned by families, for those earning under $1 million per year. It will also eliminate taxes on military retirement income.

For example, a single office worker earning $48,000 in annual income will owe no state taxes. A single construction worker earning $55,000 in annual income will owe no state taxes on the first $50,000 they earn, and only pay state taxes on the income they earn over that amount ($5,000 at a tax rate of 8 percent). A married couple earning a combined $110,000 in annual income will owe no state taxes on the first $100,000 they earn, and only pay state taxes on the income they earn over that amount ($10,000 at a rate of 8 percent). A complete listing of tax rates is included below.

Not only does California have the highest income taxes, highest gas taxes, and highest supplemental poverty rate in the U.S., it is also flush with cash despite the pandemic. The state government is projecting a $75 billion three-year budget surplus – an amount larger than the budgets many states.

The massive surplus was announced days after figures showed California’s population has declined for the first time in recorded history.

State government spending on daily operations has increased by 30 percent per person over the last decade, even after adjusting for inflation.

Faulconer’s California Comeback Tax Cut Plan will:

Provide real relief for Californians

  • Largest middle-class tax cut in California history
  • 99 percent of California households who pay state income taxes will benefit
  • Everyone in California making under $1 million per year will get tax relief
  • Directly addresses Californian’s sky-high cost of living
    • State has nation’s highest incomes taxes, gas taxes, and supplemental poverty rate – while projecting a $75 billion budget surplus over 3 years

Make California more affordable

  • Marginal tax rate reduced to 0% for all Californians on first $50,000 earned by individual tax filers, or first $100,000 earned by joint tax filers, earning under $1 million
  • No state income tax for individuals making $50,000 or less, and families making $100,000 or less
  • Up to nearly $2,000 in savings for individuals each year
  • Up to nearly $4,000 in savings for families each year
  • Permanent, lasting tax relief – enough to pay for 8 months of groceries, 8 months of utilities, or 92 tanks of gas for the average California family
  • Tailored for people most likely to leave California – those earning less than about $50,000 annually have left at the highest rates

Make it rational to retire in California

  • Faulconer also proposes a tax-free retirement for veterans by eliminating state taxes on military retirement
  • Strengthens our economy and keeps families together – most service-members start a new career after military retirement, and will have a new reason to stay in California
  • Brings California in line with rest of U.S. – only 3 states fully tax military retirement

Current State Income Tax Rates

 Singles Married Filing Jointly
Tax rateTaxable income bracketTax rateTaxable income bracket
1%$0 to $8,9321%$0 to $17,864
2%$8,933 to $21,1752%$17,865 to $42,350
4%$21,176 to $33,4214%$42,351 to $66,842
6%$33,422 to $46,3946%$66,843 to $92,788
8%$46,395 to $58,6348%$92,789 to $117,268
9.3%$58,635 to $299,5089.3%$117,269 to $599,016
10.3%$299,509 to $359,40710.3%$599,017 to $718,814
11.3%$359,408 to $599,01211.3%$718,815 to $1,198,024
12.3%$599,013 to $999,99912.3%$1,198,025 to $1,999,999
13.3%$1,000,000 or more13.3%$2,000,000 or more


The 36th mayor of San Diego, Faulconer has earned a reputation for returning ethics and integrity to public service and putting people above politics by focusing on the issues that matter to Californians. From bringing California’s second-largest city back from the brink of bankruptcy, to getting San Diego back on track after it was rocked by a corrupt mayor, to making San Diego the only big city in the state to reduce homelessness, Kevin Faulconer is tested and ready to keep leading. As America’s only big city Republican mayor, he has shown how to turn government around and return its focus to what’s important: serving the public. As governor of California, Kevin Faulconer will work for us – and restore balance to our state.