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Old 02-13-2013, 05:15 PM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
9,531 posts, read 13,372,671 times
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Oddly some of the services in Bristol are open to all city residents, no matter if you live on the TN or the VA side. I don't feel bad about spending for groceries in VA.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:33 PM
 
71 posts, read 94,647 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
I'd like to know where these people came from and if they are shopping at equivalent places, because I do not believe a word you're saying unless they are all coming from NY, NJ, CA, Chicago, or other similarly high priced areas. The cost of food, at least in parts of TN east of Knoxville, is very high compared to the prevailing income, in my opinion. Most food products I buy here are at least 10%-25% more expensive, before tax, compared to when I lived in Des Moines IA, and the residents make far less income, meaning that the average TN resident is spending a much higher percentage of income on food than the average IA resident. These are comparing prices of one Target to another. Clothing is essentially the same as it was in IA, except IA has a lower sales tax.

Tennesseans, on average, are poorer than residents of most other states, and if a purchasing power parity measure was done for a basket of grocery items on the median income in TN vs. IA, or any other reasonably well off Midwest state, I'd bet my bottom dollar that the Tennessean comes out worse off than the Midwesterner. If you want me to dredge up ads of comparable stores (Target/Target, Hyvee/Food City), I'd be glad to. Tennessee's groceries may be "cheap" compared to where you are from in Taxachusetts, but they are not "cheap" relative to the average low prevailing wage of the area, or cheap in absolute terms compared to areas that are simply doing better. I can't speak for how middle or west TN are faring, as I just don't know enough about their markets.

My car insurance in TN is about $400 more a year than in Iowa. High gas bills are virtually required due to how spread out things are and how far many people in rural TN work from their employment center. Virtually all of my colleagues are driving at least 60 miles round trip for jobs that pay mostly under $15/hr. Another guy in my department is driving a Suburban 100 miles round trip for $12/hr, no benefits, no insurance, no overtime pay.

There is a lot of TN hype promoted on these boards from some of the frequent fliers, but the seedy underbelly of TN is that few people make enough to really have TN's low tax environment seriously work in their favor. At my current $12.30/hr annual income, I'd pay little net state income tax almost anywhere, but TN's sales tax hits me for an absolute amount that can't be deducted, itemized, rebated out, etc. I am a BA degreed professional, with several years of experience, and industry certifications (which have been a total waste of time, effort, and money, CCNA, CCNA-Security, CCDA, Sec+, GSEC, A+, ITIL V3 Foundations). I'm not a high-end professional, but I'm certainly not a nobody. Given how poorly valued my profession is in TN (IT), it is a wonder anyone stays here as a certified IT infrastructure professional to make literally Wal-Mart retail wages. I should be making $50k, minimum, in TN, I make less than half that, and am treated as trash because I'm not an educator or in health care.

Low taxes are great, and as a conservative, I support lower taxes on everyone. But if your savings in taxes are far less than you'd make in post-tax wages, you'd better move to a state where you'll simply generate more income.
Thank you! These people are clueless!
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:44 PM
 
6,385 posts, read 10,381,162 times
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Originally Posted by TENNYOOPER View Post
Thank you! These people are clueless!
Yep, just a bunch of ignorant country bumpkins here.

Don't worry, though. We're nice people. We'll even help pack your bags.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:09 AM
 
Location: Sango, TN
24,889 posts, read 20,327,161 times
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Originally Posted by Wmsn4Life View Post
Then all your tax revenue goes to Kentucky and the town you live in gets NOTHING with which to pave roads, pay police and fire or build parks.


Brilliant plan.
That's not true at all. There are property taxes, vehicle taxes, and we do buy many things here, just not groceries.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
21,036 posts, read 15,345,127 times
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State and municipal governments can actively encourage (or discourage) consumption within their jurisdictions. A nearly 10% sales tax discourages consumption, and due to Tennessee's geography, many Tennesseans can get to another state that has lower sales taxes to do their shopping relatively easily.

No one is going to come to TN from outside of it TO shop, unless they are in a really rural area and the closest town is in TN. The sales tax is just prohibitively high.

With a 9.5%-10% sales tax rate, the purchase of goods in TN is actively discouraged. My family does most of its retail shopping in Bristol VA. The high sales tax costs the state hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per year for just my family that it otherwise would have had had the sales tax not been so prohibitively high.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:04 AM
 
6,385 posts, read 10,381,162 times
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Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
No one is going to come to TN from outside of it TO shop, unless they are in a really rural area and the closest town is in TN. The sales tax is just prohibitively high.
Go to Cool Springs sometime. That should quickly destroy your notion that "no one" from out of state shops here.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
21,036 posts, read 15,345,127 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nashvols View Post
Go to Cool Springs sometime. That should quickly destroy your notion that "no one" from out of state shops here.
If this is the only major shopping district for these people, and there is no equivalent in their own state (whether it's too far away or lacks selection), then yes, people will come by default because the other options aren't viable for their needs. I'm sure there are outliers like this, but by and large, people in a lower sales tax state will shop there rather than going to a higher-sales tax, all other things equal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brentwoodgirl View Post
I'm sorry you are having a hard time. Grocies are really high right now, but that's not just in TN. Grocery prices have risen everywhere over the past few years and are expected to rise another 4% this year:
Rising prices may cost you $100 a month

I'm careful with spending and stock up during sales, order produce from CSAs, etc. to save money and our grocery bill has doubled in the past couple of years. Part of it is rising prices and part of it is my children getting bigger. I usually have a few coupons, so my tax ends up being over 10% of my bill, and it is jarring. I'm okay with sales tax instead of income tax, but I would like to see most or all of the tax removed on food. Not so much for myself, we can afford it, but for people who are struggling to make ends meet. For clothing, people can shop consignment, etc. and keep their prices low. But everyone has to eat, and you can't stockpile milk.

Just curious, did you have a job before you moved here? We always try to encourage everyone to get a job before moving so they will know exactly what their salary will be. Then you can better decide if it is worth the move. We have friends who are certified IT people in Nashville who do well. The IT guy at my husband's old work made more than the engineers because he got time and a half overtime, so he was making a very comfortable 6 figure income.

My MIL lives in a small town and on a $10 a hour income, she was able to buy a cute 3/2 house with a nice yard and she has a newer model car. Some towns here are really inexpensive and you can live fine on a low income. But there are some trade offs, as the cheaper towns usually have worse schools, less restaurants, shopping, etc.
I understand that food prices are increasing everywhere, but here are some examples of cost differences that I remember. A 12 pack of Cokes in TN are routinely $4.89 (Target) or $5.69 at Food City. In Iowa, these sames Cokes were $2.50 (Target) to around $3.50 (HyVee). A frozen dinner I like was $2.48 at the HyVee and Target - here those dinners are $3.49 at Ingle's and Food City. When you're buying groceries for the entire family, they can easily spend $50-$100 a week more for food in TN than in Iowa.

I had a job before I came back and thought my financial situation might improve in a reasonable time frame. I see no possibility that it will without going back to school to either teach or go into health care, at least in east TN.

I also don't understand how your MIL is buying a 3BR/2BA home and has a newer model car on a $10/hr income, unless her spouse makes a substantial income or unless there were tremendous savings before the income declined. That's not even $21,000 per year for a standard 2080 hour work year. Even if the home was only $80,000, it would take almost a full year's wages, before taxes, to get to a 20% down payment. With today's tightened lending standards, I don't know of an institution that would even approve such a low-income person for a home loan.

Even then, people with incomes this low aren't able to save much, if any, income - it simply takes everything they have to pay for housing, utilities, car, food, gas, etc. You may be able to live in TN small towns cheaply, but not so cheaply where $10/hr an hour equals home ownership and a decent car. This is the type of misleading statement and/or embellishment that gets people into dire financial situations when they move here thinking that TN is far, far cheaper than it really is. Anyone with basic financial literacy knows a $10/hr person can't have this kind of lifestyle, unless there's more to the story.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:40 AM
 
6,385 posts, read 10,381,162 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
If this is the only major shopping district for these people, and there is no equivalent in their own state (whether it's too far away or lacks selection), then yes, people will come by default because the other options aren't viable for their needs. I'm sure there are outliers like this, but by and large, people in a lower sales tax state will shop there rather than going to a higher-sales tax, all other things equal.
What you say is true when it comes to everyday shopping. But there are lots of people that travel to our retail centers from other states (notably in the large cities) because it is the closest place with a selection. I wouldn't call Cool Springs an outlier. The same could be said for a number of other major shopping centers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
I understand that food prices are increasing everywhere, but here are some examples of cost differences that I remember. A 12 pack of Cokes in TN are routinely $4.89 (Target) or $5.69 at Food City. In Iowa, these sames Cokes were $2.50 (Target) to around $3.50 (HyVee). A frozen dinner I like was $2.48 at the HyVee and Target - here those dinners are $3.49 at Ingle's and Food City. When you're buying groceries for the entire family, they can easily spend $50-$100 a week more for food in TN than in Iowa.
Usually you can get 12 packs of Coke for $3.33 somewhere that is running a deal. You might be in a situation where there isn't much competition among the stores in the area, leading to higher prices. I would caution you against applying your experience with higher prices across the state. Prices most certainly vary from place to place. And if you live "east of Knoxville," I'm guessing you mean outside the metro...maybe over near Morristown? Not as much competition.

My question is when did you move here? During my college years in Knoxville, I saw prices change pretty dramatically. I thought food was more expensive there (and certain things, like milk, were)...but when I would go home (to Nashville), I found out the base line of prices had been raised on many items. The cost of food in general rose.

And have you been back to Iowa since you moved? Prices may have risen (as they have nationally) on some of the items you are quoting.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
21,036 posts, read 15,345,127 times
Reputation: 23889
Quote:
Originally Posted by nashvols View Post
What you say is true when it comes to everyday shopping. But there are lots of people that travel to our retail centers from other states (notably in the large cities) because it is the closest place with a selection. I wouldn't call Cool Springs an outlier. The same could be said for a number of other major shopping centers.



Usually you can get 12 packs of Coke for $3.33 somewhere that is running a deal. You might be in a situation where there isn't much competition among the stores in the area, leading to higher prices. I would caution you against applying your experience with higher prices across the state. Prices most certainly vary from place to place. And if you live "east of Knoxville," I'm guessing you mean outside the metro...maybe over near Morristown? Not as much competition.

My question is when did you move here? During my college years in Knoxville, I saw prices change pretty dramatically. I thought food was more expensive there (and certain things, like milk, were)...but when I would go home (to Nashville), I found out the base line of prices had been raised on many items. The cost of food in general rose.

And have you been back to Iowa since you moved? Prices may have risen (as they have nationally) on some of the items you are quoting.
I left Iowa less than two months ago, so I doubt prices have risen that much. I've lived in Kingsport most of my life, and left back last March, and when I came back in December, groceries seemed to have gone through the roof - maybe I was just more aware of it because I was living where prices were much more reasonable. The farther out you go from Knoxville/Nashville/Chattanooga, the higher the prices get. Rural areas of TN and small towns have terrible food prices, few to no employment opportunities, long commutes to anywhere worthwhile, and extremely depressed wages.

It's likely that my perception of TN is bad because I live in a bad, dying area (Tri-Cities), but it is what it is here.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:09 PM
 
6,385 posts, read 10,381,162 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emigrations View Post
I left Iowa less than two months ago, so I doubt prices have risen that much. I've lived in Kingsport most of my life, and left back last March, and when I came back in December, groceries seemed to have gone through the roof - maybe I was just more aware of it because I was living where prices were much more reasonable. The farther out you go from Knoxville/Nashville/Chattanooga, the higher the prices get. Rural areas of TN and small towns have terrible food prices, few to no employment opportunities, long commutes to anywhere worthwhile, and extremely depressed wages.

It's likely that my perception of TN is bad because I live in a bad, dying area (Tri-Cities), but it is what it is here.
Yes, it's definitely true that most rural areas in the state are suffering in one way or another. Some of the small towns are doing pretty well, some are pretty dismal. My issue was you (and others) characterizing the entire state as one way or another. There is great variation across the state when it comes to food prices, home prices, wages, economy, and even the general outlook. Some of what you say does hold true for your particular area, but not others.

If you lived in Des Moines, Knoxville would be a much better comparison than a small town for COL/wages.
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