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Old 10-18-2015, 04:52 PM
 
1,153 posts, read 744,137 times
Reputation: 4298

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So I happen to be a Marylander, have lived in the state most of my life aside from military service and have for awhile been exploring options on where to live. I'm not going to post one of those "moving to xyz" threads because I'm still exploring options (as I imagine those who post such threads are doing)

But your taxes...OUCH. Iowa state income tax is higher than even Maryland's (which is 4.75% for the vast, vast majority of people). And your sales taxes are nothing to swoon over.

I also looked on Zillow and while your houses look affordable from a purchase price only standpoint I noticed in Des Moines a rather modest house in the west side of town having $5,500 in property taxes . The 4-5k range seemed rather average-y. Is it significantly less in the smaller towns? I can understand paying $2k in taxes for a 2k sq.ft. home....but 5k? HUH?

I'm a rather working class guy just starting out in life and looking for affordable housing and to be able to start a family. How is one to get by? Even in MD where purchase prices are perhaps 40% higher just based on square footage and lot size for a comparable home in a similar neighborhood, taxes seem to bunch up in the high 2k to low 3k range. Reasonable, but still roughly 8% of income.

Combine all this with 25-33% federal income tax, 6-ish % state income tax, and nearly 7% state sales tax and I'm wondering what's left over for ME to actually live off or and be able to save for starting that future family?


And lets not get started on your neighbor Nebrska. They're even worse. How did you guys let this happen and how do you compete with South Dakota next door?
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Old 10-18-2015, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 6,805,922 times
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The key is to live on the east side in a modest WWII home or outside of Polk Co. Homes in W. Des Moines and Ankeny are sky high, but the schools are excellent.

And don't let them scare you about the east side. The only really "bad" area is right around the fairgrounds. The rest of it is fine.
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Old 10-18-2015, 05:23 PM
 
1,153 posts, read 744,137 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meemur View Post
The key is to live on the east side in a modest WWII home or outside of Polk Co. Homes in W. Des Moines and Ankeny are sky high, but the schools are excellent.

And don't let them scare you about the east side. The only really "bad" area is right around the fairgrounds. The rest of it is fine.
Haha, maybe I'm jumping the gun or I clicked on the wrong couple of houses.

I've never lived in a "city" since we don't have cities, towns, townships, etc. in Maryland overlain on top of our counties as an additional 4th tier of government. Only our counties matter (with Baltimore city effectively being a geographically independent county-level entity).

Des Moines seemed to be "booming" or at least economically stable for the long haul, and a nice safe place. Know anything about Newton?

But even with a relatively low property tax that still doesn't explain your income tax or sales tax, both of which are higher than "a liberal tax-happy" east coast state. How do Iowans allow it, and how does the Iowa state government justify it?

Sorry man, but when your taxes are worse than Maryland's I have to draw the line. I'm looking for low cost of living, and part of that includes the taxes that'll be siphoned out of my paycheck or otherwise paid in chunks to various government entities that want a part of my pie.

I'll continue my search, but my magnifying glass will seldom hover over Iowa at this stage of the game. Magnifying glass moving northwest of you and will hover there for a bit.
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Old 10-19-2015, 04:59 AM
 
3,613 posts, read 3,333,164 times
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You get what you pay for and the higher taxes also bring in better schools, better social programs, etc.

If you want low cost of living and don't care about schools or any other programs, look into South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, etc.
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,313 posts, read 21,228,906 times
Reputation: 34717
I understand the OPs frustration. I am a native of TN and lived in IA for a year, and the taxes are one of the reason I left.

The state income taxes are high, but the real kicker is that the high rates kick in at a relatively low income level. It's something like 8% in the $60k range.

You count the sales taxes, property taxes, etc, and the average Iowan is getting walloped. Yes, IA schools are better than average, but schools are generally heavily funded at local levels (read: property taxes) anyway. The thing that makes IA schools good and relatively consistent is the state has a lack of diversity compared to east coast states like MD.

I didn't think the IA state government provided me with any more for my dollar than the TN or IN governments do. It does seem like a rip off.
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
1,671 posts, read 2,399,274 times
Reputation: 2951
Four top-ranking high schools in eastern Iowa (that I know of) have total minority enrollments of 33% for each school, with programs being implemented to help these children from different cultural/socio-economic backgrounds. I wouldn't say that's lack of diversity for a state with a relatively small population compared to other states.

Last edited by smpliving; 10-19-2015 at 09:27 AM..
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
2,401 posts, read 3,849,735 times
Reputation: 1449
I don't know anything about Maryland, but it quite frankly isn't that expensive to live in the midwest. If one catagory of expenses seems high to you, than there is another that is most likely going to be cheaper. There is no way, for example, Des Moines metro wins these acknowledgements if cost of living is out of control. In fact, it is the low cost of living that gets it on may of these lists.


Quote:
Des Moines listed in the 50 Best Places to Live in America (March 18, Men's Journal)
Greater Des Moines Ranked #4 for 2015 Economic Strength in Metropolitan Statistical Areas (March 23, POLICOM)
Des Moines Ranked #7 in the U.S. for Metro Area Budgeting (April 24, WalletHub.com)
Des Moines Among Top 10 U.S. Cities for New College Grads (April 10, SmartAsset.com)
Des Moines Named in Top 5 Emerging Start Up Cities of 2015 (March 25, Investopedia.com)
Iowa Ranks Sixth-Best for Retirement (March 24, Bankrate.com)
Buzzfeed Ranks Des Moines #11 of the 34 Underrated U.S. Cities You'll Actually Want To Move To (May 16, Buzzfeed)
Des Moines Ranked #6 Mid-sized Metro Area for College Graduates to move to for Employment (May 15, AIER
Waukee Ranked in Top 10 Best Towns for Familes: 2015 (July 7, FamilyCircle.com)
Des Moines-West Des Moines Rank #6 on 9 Best Up-and-Coming Towns for College Grads (June 18, CBSNews.com)
Des Moines Ranked #4 on 30 Best Tech Cities to Start a Career (June 8, ComputerTrainingSchools.com)
Des Moines Ranked #5 on 10 Best Cities for Retirement in America (June 8, Bankrate.com)
Here is a link to many more: Des Moines Rankings | 2014 Rankings
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Old 10-19-2015, 01:51 PM
 
215 posts, read 205,093 times
Reputation: 468
If you think Iowa is high, try Nebraska. Property taxes are nearly double. They have an outflow of retirees who can no longer afford their paid-for houses.
In Iowa, schools are getting shorted because the governor gave the businesses property owners tax breaks, though it's not as desperate as Kansas right now. Cities are cutting back on police and fire departments as well as schools so they don't have to increase property taxes to compensate for the governor's largesse to the rich.
There is a considerable cost in the upper Midwest for snow removal as well as road repair from frost heaving. I note Missouri's roads are better and their taxes are lower possibly because of this.
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 6,805,922 times
Reputation: 9688
I used to think that I wanted to live where the cost of living is low, but after dealing with hospitals, restaurants, and retail stores staffed by the graduates of sub-standard public schools, I've since changed my mind. I'm older now and appreciate literate, English-speaking help.

OP, people don't necessarily live in Iowa because taxes are low, although as pointed out, they are competitive in some aspects, and certainly lower than many parts of California, as co-workers frequently tell me. There are other reasons to be here.

Best of luck with your search!
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Old 10-19-2015, 03:39 PM
 
2,563 posts, read 3,037,539 times
Reputation: 3510
Property taxes in some states are simply confiscatory. There's no real reason for such theft except that the state spending is out of control. And it doesn't have to be that way. If you ask me, a tax of 1% of valuation is more than enough. So, for a $250,000 house, the yearly tax would be around $2500. If the state needs more than that, they can raise the sales tax or the income tax. Or, cut spending.
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