America's Millionaire Capitals


Medina, Wash., where Bill Gates has a nice home, is one of the five wealthy communities where high-bracket taxpayers cough up no more than 25% of income to all levels of government. The other four are Florida spots where the respectable houses come with boat slips: Fisher Island, Key Largo, Boca Grande and Longboat Key.

At the other end of the tax spectrum are the rich folk in Bel Air, Calif. and Short Hills, N.J. Their tax bills consume 45% or more of income.

There's a big range, too, in charitable impulses. The big givers live in Medina, Longboat Key and the horse country around Charlottesville, Va. Wealthy families in these three places put aside 5% or more of their income for philanthropy.

The cheapskates are concentrated in two places: New York City and its suburbs and downtown Miami.

The stingiest NYC suburbs tend to be found across the Hudson River. The high-income residents of all four New Jersey towns on the roster give away 2% or less of income. That's noteworthy because average Joes are at the 2.9% level: That's the percent of income given away by the 40 million taxpayers whose donation levels are known because they itemize deductions.

New Jersey's skinflint towns: Rumson, Alpine, Short Hills and New Vernon. The cheap club also includes two places in New York: Tribeca and a portion of White Plains.

Where do the rich get their income? Just under half of the money coming in is from working: salaries, pensions, Social Security, IRA payouts. The upper-bracket folk in the 64 rich hot spots take in 52% of their income from property: stocks, bonds, real estate, oil wells and businesses.

For the average American taxpayer, property income is only 17% of the pie.

The fraction of income from property peaks at 85% for Fisher Island. Property accounts for 75% or more of income in two other Florida communities, Boca Raton and Key Largo, and in Charlottesville. It hits bottom in fast-paced New York. Tribecans get only 25% of their income from investments.

Tribeca, in other words, is for up-and-comers. Fisher Island is for people who made it a long time ago and are sitting on fat brokerage accounts.

Residences on Fisher consist for the most part of ritzy condos with very stiff maintenance fees. You can't get on the island except by boat. Mel Gibson and Oprah Winfrey have had places there.

Related Links: 15 Silliest Uses Of Taxpayer Money

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