2009 August 30 Sunday
Higher Taxes In California

As if they weren't high enough already.

Under the latest changes, for a married couple filing jointly, the top tax rate of 9.55% now begins at $92,698, down from $94,110. Combined with the earlier increases, such a couple with two children, earning $100,000, will see their California income tax bill rise by 22.3%, or $716, according to the state Franchise Tax Board. Their tax would go from $3,208 to $3,924, factoring in a $110 drop in the standard deduction for joint returns.

For singles, the top tax threshold has dropped from $47,055 to $46,349. This year, a single filer without children who earned $30,000 in 2008 and 2009 would pay 13.8% more: $617 instead of $542. The standard deduction for sole filers will fall by $55.

The state's ongoing financial crisis needs to be seen in perspective. Some states have no income tax at all (e.g. New Hampshire, Florida, Texas, South Dakota, Wyoming). Some states have no sales tax. California has high levels of both. There are restrictions on the property tax due to Proposition 13. But given our higher housing prices the governments still get a lot of money from property taxes. In spite of all this we still have a state government funding crisis.

I think I'm going to have to leave California eventually. Given our demographic trends this story is going to get much worse. Any suggestions on where a software developer (Linux drivers, C/C++ both embedded and Win32, Javascript/CSS/HTML, even some .NET experience) ought to live? Alternatively, got experience in places where you think one shouldn't want to live?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 August 30 10:12 PM  Economics California

Bill Margold said at August 31, 2009 1:04 AM:

Good Lord!,
Onemust earnestly hope that San Fernando Valley porno epicenter continues to pour forth its fine product for the World and regard the high Californian taxation as no more than a 'skimming' or 'pimping' cost (common in organised crime), ie as a necessary evil as a price of keeping the lucrative business running.
On the other hand SoCal with its teeming, impoversished multi-ethnic population of young, nubile broads (the raw material of porn, the 'life-blood' if you will), should actually benefit the porn industry with its economic distress.

One must get one's priorities right and identify the really important issues of today.Basically SoCal is 30 million screaming wild-eyed Mexican mainacs with a rather nifty, useful and world-wide-wanker sustaining porn industry attached.
Only one of those two camps will actually be mourned when (or if) it's gone.

Mthson said at August 31, 2009 4:21 AM:

www.weather.com lets you compare two locations, graphing the monthly temperature and rainfall averages. (That feature is a little hidden away, but it's still there.)

Florida's summer heat and hurricanes seem to represent a big downside if you stay there year-round. I'd like to live in Hawaii, Costa Rica, or Thailand, but flying back and forth could be a big downside.

Black Death said at August 31, 2009 4:39 AM:

Two places I am considering for retirement are the Texas Hill Country and the eastern half of Tennessee. Both places have pretty nice climates, and neither state has an income tax.

Eric Johnson said at August 31, 2009 7:32 AM:

Profuse climatology data and other data are on city-data.com. Good forums too, for asking locals things.

SouthernUSAWM said at August 31, 2009 7:56 AM:

Parapundit, Try the South Carolina or Georgia coasts, especially the sea islands.

bbartlog said at August 31, 2009 8:03 AM:

There's programming jobs here in Pittsburgh. Fair number of startups on an ongoing basis thanks to the universities (especially CMU) and some local VC outfits who made it big on Lycos and FORE Systems ~15 years back. Economy has so far held up well against the general downturn; it helps that there never was a housing bubble here. On the other hand, salaries are lower than in California.
Speaking for myself I just landed a new tech job (software test automation rather than development, but still) in here, at Precision Therapeutics (www.ptilabs.com). Seemed like a good place to ride out the gathering storm.

Francis said at August 31, 2009 8:18 AM:

Pittsburgh is good. Very white. Liberals are always whining about that. Any place that is white will be a good place to be, less trouble from NAMs when things go bad. Maybe NH or VT, Kansas City, MO. All have liberal gun laws too.

Commodore said at August 31, 2009 8:42 AM:

May I recommend Huntsville, Alabama? Tech town, with the local Redstone Arsenal actually expanding. Humid and hot in the summer, but nice springs, falls, and winters. Plus, the prices are incredible, rural, not urban scales apply. We're actually getting quite a few Californians already.

Exodus said at August 31, 2009 10:41 AM:

I have friend who is a long-time NASA engineer in Hunstville and who speaks quite highly of the place. I believe he said it has the highest concentration of Phds per capita in the US. Also a nice quality of life.

I'd also consider towns in North Carolina such as Asheville, and the Research Triangle area (should be lots of tech jobs there) . Also, Missoula MT (where I once lived), and pretty much any decent-sized city in the Northern Rockies. I'd also second the comment about the Sea Islands of Georgia and S. Carolina. A friend of mine from Greece called it the most beautful landscape he'd ever seen.

Savant said at August 31, 2009 3:21 PM:

You got "Linux drivers, C/C++ both embedded and Win32, Javascript/CSS/HTML". Why not try India? ALl the best US jobs are being exported there!

ziel said at August 31, 2009 4:40 PM:

Move out here to New Jersey! We're at least 6 months behind California in the financial crisis progression.

Randall Parker said at August 31, 2009 5:53 PM:


I'm from NJ. High taxes too. Worse weather. What's the appeal?

Black Death,

As a kid growing up my family regularly went to the Great Smokey Mountains. I've hiked from Klingman's Dome thru Siler's Bald, over Thunderhead, and then down into what's it called? Cade's Cove? Been in Townsend in the dead of winter. I like that area.

I've thought about the upper eastern corner of TN too.

Texas hill country: I do not know Texas at all. I like hills though. How high are they? Do they have enough altitude to be any cooler in the summer than most of Texas?


I've noticed really low housing prices in Idaho.


You got to be retired to live on the islands? I'd expect there wouldn't be much potential for commutes to real jobs.


Yes, I've played with weather data on web sites. Noticed that Hot Springs SD has the mildest weather in SD. Happens that South Dakota has no state income tax.


One really does need a way to ride out the storm. Of this I've become convinced.


Ha ha. I wonder where abroad American software developers can work - leaving aside places which pay $1000 per month.

.38 said at August 31, 2009 7:16 PM:

-Move out here to New Jersey! We're at least 6 months behind California in the financial crisis progression.-

If you're staying in NJ, better get that Saiga rifle, lots of ammo and plenty of cat food. See ya in the streets. Don't loot Ray's before me!

Mercer said at September 1, 2009 1:24 PM:

You could work in the DC suburbs. I would not recommend it because the traffic is terrible.

If I was interested in relocating I would get a trailer and stay in an RV parks for a month at a time to see what different areas are like. You can't do this in DC and other northeast cities, but I think you can do this in most of the rest of the country for three to five hundred dollars a month.

ziel said at September 1, 2009 9:06 PM:

If you're staying in NJ, better get that Saiga rifle, lots of ammo and plenty of cat food. See ya in the streets. Don't loot Ray's before me!

Haven't picked up the Saiga yet - keep thinking I'll hold off until things start to get really bad - but I'll probably wait until it's too late, like I did getting out of the market last year. I just read that Ray's is closed, by the way.

Randall - NJ's weather might be the best all-around on the East Coast (unless you really hate cold weather). Summer and winter are both tolerable, good beaches, and lots of well-trained, well-armed and attentive cops in the suburbs. Cities are shit-holes, though, and we're headed for a fall fiscally. I'm thinking the cop budgets will be the last to go - but after that, I'll definitely need that Saiga.

.38 said at September 1, 2009 9:21 PM:

Ray's closed? No kidding. Try Ramsey Outdoor or Meltzer's if you don't mind making the drive. Prices are pretty good. Don't be last to get a rifle. You're going to need it! Truth be told, I picked up my second .45 Colt Lever Action 1894 Marlin last week. Great rifle. Handy, accurate and won't freak out the wrong people. Great round too and is a great match for the single action pistol. But get the Saiga anyway. And the shotty and the .22 and the .30-30...No need to break the bank. A 9mm pistol would be good as well, get a Glock. Maybe a no frills AR-15 too. Seriously, dude I like your website, don't be a statistic! Better to have survival stuff and not need it than need it and not have it. Surplus rifles are good too.

And Randall, GTFO out of CA. I like your website too. Fucking CA is going to slide into the ocean any day now.

prudent geezerette said at September 4, 2009 8:37 AM:

Kerville, Tx., has very hot summers. It's about 90 minute drive from Austin, a little farther to other large cities. Probably not a good area unless you don't mind a
long commute to Austin--Texas' high tech center. Texas has no income tax, fairly high property taxes relative to house values, and a projected level of 42% of GDP for
medicaid budgeting in a few years. It's not generally publically known, but Texas is basically a sanctuary state. Some estimates are as high as twenty million illegals
state wide. Texas also provides medicaid, SSI, and food stamps immediately to new 'green carders.' There are also tens of thousand of Mexicans who cross the border daily to attend local school; school buses wait for them near the bridges and many are driven by upper class Mexicans. In my city of 200,000 there are 5000 who attend
local schools daily. The only requirement is that they must have a local person listed as responsible person, even if they don't reside with that person. Also, Texas
does not require legal residence in order to qualify for public housing, due to a HUD ruling. Texas is now a majority Hispanic state. I'm recently retired but I think
I do not want to remain in Texas for much longer.

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