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Old 11-26-2010, 03:25 AM
 
48 posts, read 149,603 times
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Idaho taxes not so conservative/libertarian! I had the pleasure this year of traveling all through Idaho and I was very impressed with its beauty and the friendly people. Everyone is very respectful and courteous but it seems as though there is a total disconnect between the conservative/libertarian values of its people and the liberal tax structure of its government.

If you were to compare the taxes of Idaho to say the most extreme liberal states such as California you can see that the difference is minuscule. Both states levy around 1 percent for property taxes and when considering the average US salary both states levy 7 percent for income taxes. Sales tax is only a measly 2 percent difference and while Idahoans only pay 6 percent it is also on food and prescription drugs and in California those things aren't taxed so it seems pretty balanced in that regard as well.

When you compare salaries and job opportunities Californians get paid anywhere from 2-4 times more for comparative jobs and with taxes being roughly the same I can only deduce that the cost of living must me much higher for Idahoans. Am I wrong in making such assumptions?

Aside from the car registration cost and electricity costs I don't see the savings. I figure you have to pay about $1000 more per year in heating costs which totally negates this advantage as well? Am I missing something?
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:23 AM
 
Location: Southeast Idaho
4,725 posts, read 16,394,494 times
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A lot of which you're looking at would depend on each county. Counties set their own property tax. Housing costs are far and wide less than California as is the overall cost-of-living. You pointed out sales tax on food and prescriptions, have you stopped to consider the difference on sales tax with non-food items, huge difference.

Also less expensive is insurance; homeowners and auto.

My power bills now in the winter, do not come close to comparing to my power bills 20 years ago for summer use in the Central Valley of CA. We pay much less here

Also, often times retailers gauge their pricing by area average income levels. So I can pay half the cost for something here that my sister would pay in CA.

Another thing, which unless you've dealt with it directly you wouldn't know, is funerals. Where CA will tax the purchase of a casket and headstone, Idaho does not tax at all on anything involving a funeral.

I could be wrong as it's been some time since I've been there, but Idaho does not charge sales tax on a service where I think CA does?

Anyway, I've been here just about 20 years and wouldn't trade it for all that my area of CA had to offer; dense population, crime, smog, extreme heat and long commute times. I can get home, even on icy roads, in less time than a friend of mine can get the average left turn lane (with a signal light) during rush hour.
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Old 11-26-2010, 01:43 PM
 
48 posts, read 149,603 times
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No doubt Idaho must have a superior quality of life. I am just trying to gauge the salaries and job opportunities there in conjunction with taxes.

I am 28 years old now and absolutely hate California. That and I have mountain blood... I pass out with the extreme heat but the extreme cold is no problem for me. I miss change of seasons when I used to live in New England.

I am actually scouting for opportunity in Idaho now but the only place I really liked on my visit was CdA. I liked the city of Boise but hated the fact that it is just smack in the middle of the high desert like Lancaster/Palmdale/Bakersfield. Sun Valley was nice but it is in the middle of nowhere and you can tell from the way people carry themselves that 90 percent of them were wealthy California transplants. Eagle was another California locale and the fact that there is only 2 roads exiting and leaving it to Boise looks like it was poorly planned. It was just one gated community stamped right after the next along the same main road.

I was also disappointed with Sandpoint... it looked really run down, there were virtually no tourists in the middle of summer and it just seemed like a ghost town to me and I am sure the continuation of the freeway to pass around the city will not help businesses either. The only nice place to live in Sandpoint seemed to be the Idaho club which I visited but the homes are insanely overpriced for that area. Oh and Sweitzer mountain was awesome... took the lift there.

I did like Hayden as well as Cda. This seemed to have everything anybody could want in addition to the beautiful landscape and close proximity to a major city like Spokane for an international airport and possible job opportunities. I first want to find a job there first and rent for at least a year before making a permanent transition. Thanks again for all your info.... it did help me out a lot and if anybody has anything to add it would be greatly appreciated as well.
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Old 11-26-2010, 05:44 PM
 
Location: Coeur d Alene, ID
814 posts, read 1,438,595 times
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Like said above, it differs per county, but I can tell you as a RE agent, I have californians come in here and just die when they see their first year tax bills and vehicle registrations, power bills, ect. You make less here, that is for sure, but you definately pay alot less. I could make 30k a year and afford everything I want or need within reason. Hope that helps!
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Old 11-26-2010, 09:08 PM
 
48 posts, read 149,603 times
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Yes, I also heard that there is no such thing as a waste water bill and in some counties the garbage bill is an included itemization on the property tax. I think Bonner/Border counties do this but I am not sure about how Kootenai county works yet.
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Old 11-26-2010, 10:27 PM
 
Location: Southeast Idaho
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Not knowing what field you're in, I have to ask if SE Idaho has what you might be looking for. Yes, we're high desert, but we do indeed get the snow and mild summers as opposed to Boise. Granted, Boise doesn't get into the heat as the Lancaster/ Palmdale are, but warmer than we get and for slightly longer periods.
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:57 AM
 
Location: San Diego
123 posts, read 369,838 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgio_93 View Post
Idaho taxes not so conservative/libertarian! If you were to compare the taxes of Idaho to say the most extreme liberal states such as California you can see that the difference is minuscule. Both states levy around 1 percent for property taxes and when considering the average US salary both states levy 7 percent for income taxes. Sales tax is only a measly 2 percent difference and while Idahoans only pay 6 percent it is also on food and prescription drugs and in California those things aren't taxed so it seems pretty balanced in that regard as well.

When you compare salaries and job opportunities Californians get paid anywhere from 2-4 times more for comparative jobs and with taxes being roughly the same I can only deduce that the cost of living must me much higher for Idahoans. Am I wrong in making such assumptions?

Aside from the car registration cost and electricity costs I don't see the savings. I figure you have to pay about $1000 more per year in heating costs which totally negates this advantage as well? Am I missing something?
My wife (financial analyst BTW) and I have come to much the same conclusion.

We are seriously looking at selling our house in California and moving to Idaho. From the look of things it will be more expensive for us to live in Idaho. The only thing that looks cheaper is housing.

From a tax perspective California actually offers an advantage due to Prop 13. Considering that we bought our house in the late '90s and its tax value is tied to its value at the time of purchase our property taxes may indeed go up if we move to Idaho.

Idaho adds a sales tax on food for us. And no, there are not taxes on services here in California, unless you count preparing your food at a restaurant a service as opposed to sale of a product.

In addition to taxes, Idaho requires some additional living expenses. Home heating is pretty important in Idaho. Living where we currently live we do not have to heat or cool our home. Yes, some of the elderly around us have added air conditioning, and yes our home has a furnace, but we get by fine with ceiling fans (pretty cheap to operate) and a couple of small electric room heaters which get very infrequent use. We try to make sure we run the furnace at least once a year (Christmas morning), and there are some years that one day is the only day it gets used. Our energy costs will increase.

There are also wardrobe requirements in Idaho. Jeans and a flannel shirt are pretty much adequate for everything we are faced with here. That's not gonna cut it in Idaho. As I am right now looking at the clothes I will need in Idaho I have to say, that's not a cheap wardrobe. Since we aren't there yet I still have the luxury of trolling the local thrift shops, but if I don't find what I need before we move there's going to be a substantial additional cost in clothing.

Vehicle costs are also going to go up for us. Miles driven per year will dramatically increase, and along with those miles will come fuel and maintenance costs. Traction requirements will mean additional sets of tires and either additional sets of rims or the costs to mount and balance tires twice a year. I also anticipate the weather will result in minor body damage to the cars which will then lead to more repair costs--I can hope not, but reality is that it will be more likely.

I would love to know what consumer items are cheaper in Idaho. We spent three weeks there this past summer and could not find anything that was cheaper than here in California. As a general contractor I was thinking that lumber would be cheaper (given that lumber mills are abundant where we were), but no such luck. Prices on all raw materials for home building were exactly the same as they are here. Food prices are also the same. And yes, we went looking for the discount/bulk food stores in addition to the regular grocery stores. We could not find any cost reductions beyond what we can find here in California.

The only difference in cost of living that we could find (besides housing) was in lifestyle choices. Idaho does not seem to be plagued with the obsession over electronic gadgets, flashy cars and McMansion HOA tracts. Keeping up with the Joneses may not be such an issue in Idaho (unless that is done in tractors or snowmobiles--I don't know about that). Given that we have already written off the California lifestyle nonesense I don't see any savings for us there, but I suspect that may be of benefit to some folks.

I suppose there may be some benefits to be found in insurance costs. I have seen that mentioned, and I have not found a way to compare those costs yet--so I will allow some credit for that. Does anyone know of a way to compare those costs state by state?

In short, it appears that if we move to Idaho our cost of living will go up. I will need to generate a greater income there than I do here. This may not be everyone's situation, but it will be ours.

That's not to say that there are not benefits to be had for the cost. Getting away from the restrictions which California embraces may free me up to make a better living. The quality of life may be substantially better.

I am willing to pay more for more freedom.
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Old 11-28-2010, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Moscow
2,082 posts, read 3,277,601 times
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Depends on where you are comparing in Idaho vs Cali, but that difference in housing cost can be huge.

Clothes may balance more than you think, too. Yes you may need winter clothing. But, you may find less need for fancy clothes/suits.
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Old 11-28-2010, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Southeast Idaho
4,725 posts, read 16,394,494 times
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Tires? I only have one set on my Scion Xb that take care of me year round, so no extra costs there.

Auto insurance as well as auto registration are both lower. I pay annually for a 2008 Scion fully insured about the same what I paid on a month basis for a 1982 Toyota Tercel in Fresno County for only PL and PD.

Health costs are also lower, I can get in and out of the walk in clinic, not using insurance (I do have it though) for under $100.00

I know grocery costs are also lower. Within a years time I bought my mom a month's supply of groceries in both states and Idaho was approx. $40-$50 less than CA was, this was in 2002.

I do know that labor charges on auto repair are less by the hour here than in CA.

Taxes higher, guessing you've got me there. As already stated, our move was far worth what we gave up

Our heating costs are far less by the month than was our cooling cost In Fresno. We maintain our home about 60* in the winter.

Other services; pet boarding, veterinary care pet supplies are also quite a bit lower here than in CA.
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Old 11-28-2010, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Sandpoint, ID
3,110 posts, read 9,852,522 times
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I posted a very detailed reply showing how georgio_93's general perception is (IMO) way off and how Idaho in fact is much better than Washington (and how CA is was more similar to WA than it is to ID).

More People Are Leaving Idaho Then Moving Here
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