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Old 10-08-2009, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Steilacoom, WA by way of East Tennessee
1,049 posts, read 3,649,566 times
Reputation: 701

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Warning: Boring numbers, but could be of interest if you are considering moving to either East TN or West NC.

As some of you know, I have several job offers in Johnson City, and one in Asheville, NC. All of the jobs in East TN pay less, but I'd make more if either I lived here and commuted to Asheville or stayed put in JC and worked for less here. How's that work? Here's how:

Job in Johnson City:
$16.50 hour no commute costs, no income tax, no excessive property tax, etc

Job in Asheville:
$19.71, so that's $3.21 higher right? But I'll show you how it's not (for me).

Commute costs Johnson City to Asheville, NC:
$350 monthly gas
$166 NC monthly income tax on income from NC
$3.06 per hour commute costs, so pretty much a wash, if I drive the Toyota instead of the Jeep (non winter) then the cost would be $2.46 per hour commute costs, so a slight win to commuting to NC.

Move to NC and work there and live there: (figures used are close but YMMV):
$5400 NC income tax on NC job, my military retirement and wife's job
$900 annual NC car tax
$1200 additional property tax, compared to TN
$300 extra gas cost, due to higher fuel prices in NC
$70,000 higher comparable home cost or about $420 per month higher payments
Total per hour cost to live in NC rather than East TN: $5.50 per hour

$5.50 extra NC living costs - $3.21 higher salary = $2.29 per hour loss,

So making $19.71 in NC would be the same as making $14.21 if I lived in Johnson City. That's easily do able.

And if I commuted instead to NC from TN then, and made $19.71 in Asheville, It'd be the same as if I made $16.95 in East TN. That's a tougher nut to crack. Assuming I could get a job offer at the VA in Johnson City, I'd be making $16.50 overall, but the $16.95 equivalent in NC after commute costs, gives me a $0.45 advantage by commuting to NC.

So what would be the point of $0.45? I'll admit it's not worth the effort to do the commute, but it's a foot in the door at the VA and I could always transfer back to Johnson City after a year.

And as a last note, the job offer at my hospital in Bristol (civilian hospital) would pay more than the VA in JC at first, I'd easily surpass it with wages at the VA in a year, and then keep on going.

So lesson that I've learned, the lower wages in East TN are in fact higher than the higher wages in Western NC due to higher taxes and costs of living in NC. Or at least with the numbers that I've crunched for my job.

Tony in TN
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:24 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
606 posts, read 1,536,113 times
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Quote:
$300 extra gas cost, due to higher fuel prices in NC
Good analysis, but I'm a bit confused about this number. Unless you are buying 2,000 - 3,000 gallons of gas per month, I'm confused about how you would incur $300 in extra gas costs in NC. TN also has higher sales taxes than NC.

Income tax and home values are definitely big costs, though. That's one thing I hate about living in NoVa; home prices are absolutely absurd here (even after the RE bust). I get so much less for my money here than I would in other places. Believe it or not, NoVa is probably even more expensive than some of the areas surrounding NYC (Manhattan is very expensive, but you can live in Jersey for slightly less than you can in Northern Virginia and public transit is much better there.)

NC income taxes are some of the worst in the nation. Conversely, NC arguably has the best public collegiate educational system in the nation (only California might be better), so at least it does pay for something.

I always hated getting slapped with that car tax when I lived in NC. It was only $120 or so for me, but still ... that's a hefty tax on driving. (And Eastern and Central NC have so many terrible roads.)
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Steilacoom, WA by way of East Tennessee
1,049 posts, read 3,649,566 times
Reputation: 701
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakilaTheHun View Post
Good analysis, but I'm a bit confused about this number. Unless you are buying 2,000 - 3,000 gallons of gas per month, I'm confused about how you would incur $300 in extra gas costs in NC. TN also has higher sales taxes than NC.
The first set of figures are monthly, the second are annual costs. Gas runs about .20 to .30 cents higher per gallon in NC than TN on average that I've seen. Not sure why, is it state taxes?

As to educational system, I don't know, I think the post secondary schools here are good and people have better access. Not sure about secondary schools though.

Tony
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Beautiful East TN!!
7,281 posts, read 19,268,380 times
Reputation: 2757
On the education front, I believe that North East TN is the only area in the country that pays for the first 2 years of college for any high school graduate that scores a minimum of a 21 on the ACT and/or as a GPA of 2.8.
Sorry, can't see it getting much better than 14 years of free public education....well 16 years would be better I guess.
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Seattle
6,502 posts, read 14,423,848 times
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Very true, and for many "average" people that is a great thing. (Not bashing anyone - I'm getting an ETSU degree, lol). However North Carolina's public institutions by and large provide a more well-rounded, intensive education and as such a degree from UNC or what-have-you is more prestigious. (UTK is coming up very well though.)
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Old 10-09-2009, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Beautiful East TN!!
7,281 posts, read 19,268,380 times
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True Jab, however getting those first two years for free and then transferring to another college such as ETSU (where hubby is an alumni) or even in another state, to finish out the 4 or 6 years can make a HUGE life long difference when it comes to paying off those student loans that will be much less in the long run.
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Old 10-09-2009, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
606 posts, read 1,536,113 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbmouse View Post
True Jab, however getting those first two years for free and then transferring to another college such as ETSU (where hubby is an alumni) or even in another state, to finish out the 4 or 6 years can make a HUGE life long difference when it comes to paying off those student loans that will be much less in the long run.
Actually, it would be dramatically cheaper to attend UNC for 4 years as an "in state" resident than it would be to go to a TN school for free for 2 years and then transfer over to UNC paying "out of state" tuition.

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/fiscalresearch/statistics_and_data/stat_and_data_pdfs/2007-08_Undergrad-tuition+fees.pdf (broken link)

This would hold true for most, if not all, states.


In-state tuition is an extraordinarily good deal in and of itself. The smartest thing a lower-to-middle income parent could do while their kid is in high school is to make sure they stay in one state from the time their kid is 16 years old till 19 years old (or whenever their child can establish residency on their own).

It actually seems kind of silly that we have to stay in one state for this reason --- I wish states would start doing reciprocity on "in-state tuition", but that's unlikely since most states are using "out-of-state" tuition as a source of revenue. Most of the states are already cash-strapped as it is.
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Old 10-09-2009, 11:15 AM
 
426 posts, read 1,138,808 times
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I don't think the benefit of having two years of college "paid for" should be figured into the cost of living comparison between Western NC and East TN.

Don't you have to go to a community college for those first two years (like NE State) to get that benefit? If so, that is in no way comparable to two years spent at a four year college or university. Both from an educational and a life experience perspective. The caliber of students at most community colleges is quite low and the faculty generally have to take the quality of the students into consideration when planning and teaching a course (dumb it down in many cases to be frank) Also, going to a community college first can impact any amount of scholarship money a student might get had they gone to the four year school first. Transfer scholarships are often paltry if nonexistent and it won't necessarily compensate for the tuition savings.

BTW--there is reciprocity in some states, especially for those living in border towns/counties. Also, there is the Academic Common Market and tuition remission benefits for employees of certain schools (mainly private schools like Duke and Vanderbilt but they are great benefits) and there can be out of state tuition waivers for high achieving academic students from out of state (University of South Carolina comes to mind)
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Old 10-09-2009, 10:11 PM
 
Location: Steilacoom, WA by way of East Tennessee
1,049 posts, read 3,649,566 times
Reputation: 701
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbmouse View Post
On the education front, I believe that North East TN is the only area in the country that pays for the first 2 years of college for any high school graduate that scores a minimum of a 21 on the ACT and/or as a GPA of 2.8.
Sorry, can't see it getting much better than 14 years of free public education....well 16 years would be better I guess.
Thanks MB, that's also a huge benefit, I joined the military to get my "free" education. Hopefully my 16 yo will make good use of the opportunity!

Tony
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