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Old 06-16-2011, 12:39 AM
 
68 posts, read 77,348 times
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Hello. I am currently living overseas but moving back to the US soon. I want to live in Western Oregon or Western Washington. I want a liberal, small to medium sized city with lots of natural beauty. I want a place where I can feel freedom. I am mostly looking at Eugene OR, Salem Or, and Olympia WA. I am also considering smaller towns, but I don't want to live in a place smaller than 15,000 population.

My question is about taxes and living costs. I keep hearing online that Oregon taxes are very high. There is no sales tax there, but it sounds to me like property taxes are high, and income taxes are extremely high. It also sounds like the general cost of living is higher in Oregon than Washington and land is more expensive.

I would really prefer to go to Oregon as far as recreation and social life is concerned. Because I love it there and i've spent a lot of time there I feel at home there. I have not spent much time in Washington, just a visit for a few days, and it did seem to have a much different feel than Oregon. But it is very important to me to find place with affordable living. I want to live in a low tax, libertarian-style governance type of place preferably. And the lower taxes in Washington are really making me consider it a lot more. It sounds to me like it's a much better deal in Washington.

Or, instead of looking at Oregon vs. Washington. Should I be looking at more of a county level?

Thanks.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:51 AM
 
Location: State of Jefferson coast
965 posts, read 1,625,074 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenGardener555 View Post
Or, instead of looking at Oregon vs. Washington. Should I be looking at more of a county level?

Thanks.
You should probably be looking at a city level. But really, parsing the tax differences between the two is a nickle-and-dime game. It's a silly criterion to use for choosing a place to live.

In a state-by-state comparison, Tax Freedom Day comes on April 8 in Oregon, and 8 days later in Washington. So I'm not sure how you figure it's a better deal.

http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/topic/52.html

Last edited by Brenda-by-the-sea; 06-16-2011 at 01:02 AM..
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:12 AM
 
68 posts, read 77,348 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brenda-by-the-sea View Post
You should probably be looking at a city level. But really, parsing the tax differences between the two is a nickle-and-dime game. It's a silly criterion to use for choosing a place to live.

In a state-by-state comparison, Tax Freedom Day comes on April 8 in Oregon, and 8 days later in Washington. So I'm not sure how you figure it's a better deal.

The Tax Foundation - Tax Research Areas > Oregon
Thanks a lot of the feedback.

I'm doing tons of research and most people online say the deal is better in Washington.

Mostly because in Oregon, you get around 10% of your income taken away for taxes. While in Washington there is no income tax. 10% of my income sounds like a pretty big percentage to me and this is a state-wide policy.

No sales tax is nice. But i'm frugal and don't shop much anyway. And for big purchases I could always commute into Oregon from Washington to but them.

Like I said though, I love Oregon, and my number one choice is Eugene OR. But that 10% income tax just sounds terrible to me.

Overall, you would say that the living cost is about the same in each state then?

I plan on renting for a while at first. So property taxes or not an issue for me yet.
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:10 AM
 
Location: Under Mount Doom
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Probably the bigger deal is what you will be doing for a livelihood. If you will be working, finding a place with good wages and prospects seems important.

Given what you have posted, I would think that a number of towns migh fit. Oregon's economy is worse than Washington's, and likely will be for a while, if that matters.

I can't speak to the taxes, except that a lack of income taxes is mentioned as a plus by my Washingtonian relatives.

If you want a liberal bent, but with a libertarian tax view, I would check out Moscow, Idaho.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:13 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle, originally from SF Bay Area
14,537 posts, read 17,640,263 times
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If I had your concerns, I would go for Vancouver WA. You will have the advantage of no income tax, and can run across the bridge to Portland for shopping with no sales tax. Property taxes will be a little higher but you'll still come out ahead. Personally, I'd use a lot of different criteria to determine where to live, taxes would be a minor consideration.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:50 AM
 
Location: State of Jefferson coast
965 posts, read 1,625,074 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenGardener555 View Post
Thanks a lot of the feedback.

I'm doing tons of research and most people online say the deal is better in Washington.

Mostly because in Oregon, you get around 10% of your income taken away for taxes. While in Washington there is no income tax. 10% of my income sounds like a pretty big percentage to me and this is a state-wide policy.

No sales tax is nice. But i'm frugal and don't shop much anyway. And for big purchases I could always commute into Oregon from Washington to but them.

Like I said though, I love Oregon, and my number one choice is Eugene OR. But that 10% income tax just sounds terrible to me.

Overall, you would say that the living cost is about the same in each state then?

I plan on renting for a while at first. So property taxes or not an issue for me yet.
Were you raised in the Midwest by any chance?
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:24 AM
 
3,020 posts, read 1,498,314 times
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Quote:
I plan on renting for a while at first. So property taxes or not an issue for me yet.
Of course they are. You just pay it through your landlord as part of your rent (something lots of renters seem oblivious to when they're voting to raise taxes).

As for COL, you really have to look at individual cities. The growth policies of individual towns are going to be a driving factor in how much you shell out for rent. Some towns like Corvallis are rabidly anti-growth, which means that demand for housing outstrips supply and thus rent can soar into stratosphere.

Sales vs income tax is kind of a wash, IMHO, although I would personally like a sales tax instead because it encourages saving.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
3,765 posts, read 4,343,602 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenGardener555 View Post
My question is about taxes and living costs. I keep hearing online that Oregon taxes are very high. There is no sales tax there, but it sounds to me like property taxes are high, and income taxes are extremely high. It also sounds like the general cost of living is higher in Oregon than Washington and land is more expensive.
Oregon does not levy a property tax. All property taxes are local and the rates will vary by jurisdiction. There are Portland property taxes, or Jefferson County property taxes, but there is no Oregon property tax.

The income tax is only high if you make more than $125,000 a year and can't afford an accountant. You get all the deductions on your federal tax return, plus you get to deduct up to $5000 of your federal income tax. The average income tax bill in Oregon is 6%.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:49 PM
 
68 posts, read 77,348 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
Oregon does not levy a property tax. All property taxes are local and the rates will vary by jurisdiction. There are Portland property taxes, or Jefferson County property taxes, but there is no Oregon property tax.

The income tax is only high if you make more than $125,000 a year and can't afford an accountant. You get all the deductions on your federal tax return, plus you get to deduct up to $5000 of your federal income tax. The average income tax bill in Oregon is 6%.
Thanks a lot for those tips.

I think I will just move to the place I like best instead of worrying too much about the taxes. In the end it sounds like it proabably just about evens out in each state. Living a place that you love is priceless anyway.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:50 PM
 
68 posts, read 77,348 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brenda-by-the-sea View Post
Were you raised in the Midwest by any chance?
No. What makes you think that?
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