Ozzy Osbourne leaves the California Hotel. Why? Taxes

“Heirs of a Cold War, that’s what we’ve become. Heirs of the Troubles, I’m mentally numb.” -Ozzy Osbourne

JThe lyrics to a song from another era (1980) in Ozzy Osbourne’s classic hard rock anthem “Crazy Train” could describe the world the singer-songwriter inhabited back in the day ages ago. decades, but these days, the “Diary of a Madman” rock star has something else troubling his mind — California’s exorbitant state taxes.

It got to the point where Osbourne and his family decided to pack their bags and return to the UK, taking their hugely successful business ventures with them.

Osbourne recently told Britain’s Daily Mirror: “We’re leaving Los Angeles. We’re a bit sad. But the taxes are getting too high. I’m sad because I really, really like staying and living there. If they do better taxes, then I can come back. I don’t know. I’m taking my recording studio with me. I’m going to build a barn there and make my own studio in [Welders House, in Buckinghamshire, England]. I’ll keep making music and my band will come.”

Both the United States and the United Kingdom have seen a decline in economic freedom in recent years, with the United States dropping five notches from No. 20 in the world to 25th this year in the 2022 Index of Economic Freedom. Heritage Foundation, and the UK declining further, from sevene in the world at 24e.

The tax burden is one of 12 subcategories of economic freedom in the Index of Economic Freedom. The tax burden score sits at 65.4 (out of 100) in the UK this year, and a much higher and less burdensome score of 75.9 in the US.

But Osbourne didn’t say the US tax system was his problem; rather, California state-specific taxes drive it away.

The Osbourne family is heading east to live across the pond due to high taxes, even though they “really, really like” living in California.

So what are these California taxes that made Osbourne and his family decide to leave?

The highest marginal federal income tax in the US is 37%, which is lower than the UK rate of 45%. But California has a top marginal income tax rate of 13.3%, the highest in the country.

It is financially harmless for the Osbournes if they return to England – where they are from – because 37% + 13.3% = 50.3%.

With only combined income taxes in the state exceeding 50%, you can see why people are leaving, especially when all the other local taxes are added on top of that.

The Tax Foundation describes some of the other California taxes, which are exorbitant in themselves, as follows:

California has a progressive personal income tax, with rates ranging from 1.00% to 13.30%. There is also a jurisdiction that collects local income taxes. California has a corporate income tax rate of 8.84%. California has a state sales tax rate of 7.25%, a [maximum] a local sales tax rate of 2.50% and an average combined national and local sales tax rate of 8.82%.

California tax system ranks 48th [of the 50 states] overall on our 2022 State Business Tax Climate Index.

Other significant taxes in California include a death penalty property tax increase, which went into effect in 2021 as part of Proposition 19, and a top tax rate of 13.3% on capital gains. .

Suffice it to say that individuals know their own lives and circumstances far better than the government or anyone else.

No reasonable person could legitimately argue that Osbourne and his wife, Sharon, don’t know what they’re talking about when they say taxes in California are way too high compared to England. This is also apparent from examining the California tax rate data above.

Awareness of one’s own economic situation is one of the main reasons why economic freedom brings so many free market benefits to society as a whole.

Everyone is an expert in their own life. When economic freedom is retained by individuals to make their own economic decisions, individuals make smart decisions. The government does not know individuals or families. Even if that were the case, he would be no better at making decisions for individuals or their families than they are themselves.

Government policies are based on categories of people and businesses. When a decision is made by government for a wide range of individuals or businesses, it is unlikely to be the best decision for those involved, or for anyone (other than perhaps a politician trying to make advance your career by reporting or paying off people).

High taxes take money away from people who would use it wisely to hire productive people or invest in the future of their family members, leading to a more educated and innovative society.

High taxes put that money in the hands of government employees, who spend it less wisely or efficiently, without improving society and the community, or inspiring anyone to innovate.

Unless the government spends tax revenues on limited and specific, but crucial, roles that are necessary to protect individual freedoms, such as providing strong national defense, enforcing immigration laws, and protecting individuals from crime and danger, excess taxpayers’ money should be left in private hands.

As an example, Ozzy Osbourne can inspire far more innovative guitar soloing than California state government bureaucrats ever could.

This piece originally appeared in
The daily signal
and is reproduced by kind permission of the Heritage Foundation.

Nicholas E. Crittendon