We live in era in which many resources are dwindling, but there's still one thing California has in abundance: rich people. According to a review of tax records for the years 1999-2004, done by the NewTithing Group of San Francisco, California has 407,000 households with $200,000 or more in adjusted gross income, and those households also have a total of $1.04 trillion in investment assets (and that's not counting pensions or real estate holdings). That makes California number 1 in big money households, with almost twice as many as the state in second place, New York. And according to a story in this morning's San Francisco Chronicle, the rich are different from you and me– well, from me, at least– because California's rich are cheap bastards.
From the Chronicle:
Despite ranking first in wealthy people, California ranks 21st among states for actual gifts per wealthy filer as a percentage of assets. Affluent Californians donated an average of $19,000 per household — 0.74 percent of their investment assets and 3.24 percent of their adjusted gross income. Using the percentage of assets as a measure corrects for cost-of-living differences.
In Utah, the most-generous state, gifts per wealthy filer averaged $38,000, which came to 1.63 percent of assets and 7.4 percent of adjusted income. Utah's population was 62.4 percent Mormon in 2004, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Mormon adults are expected to tithe 10 percent of their incomes to the LDS church.
Wealthy people in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Minnesota and Georgia were the next most-generous.
“If wealthy Californians were as generous as affluent households in the most-charitable five states, California giving would increase by $3.7 billion,” said NewTithing director Tim Stone.
If I were Mr. Stone, I wouldn't be counting on that extra $3.7 billion showing up anytime soon.
Just a little something to remember the next time that someone tells you government social programs should be replaced with good ol' private charity.