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Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-16-2006, 08:59 PM   #1
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Welcome to Austin, Taxes

I just read a story in the Austin American Statesman about the soon to be annexed Lost Creek Subdivision. The median home in the neighborhood is $379,000 and the taxes on a house at that appraisal level will be $9,975.

I left when my house reached $6600 a year on a $287,000 appraisal in an upscale neighborhood called Rollingwood located in the same school district.

The latest flap in Austin and San Antonio is the plan to widen arteries into each city, add 'fly overs' at the worst intersections, and make them toll roads. Bear in mind that the roads already exist and were paid for with gasoline taxes. The expected toll with be $0.75 per mile if all construction comes in on time and budget. This will cost most commuters $80 - $120 per month. Living in most suburbs or exurbs will be very expensive. Gasoline at $3 and all other automotive costs will of course be part of the commuters budget.

Who can afford this ?

No teachers, state workers, municipal workers, or tradesmen can retire in Austin or Travis county for long before they are driven out by high taxes.

I blame the tsunami of Californian tech people and speculators, as well as* the tax & spend liberal city councils for the demise of the once unique character of Austin. The mantra of those who have a vision of Austin's future is* "high density downtown residential and retail" ...*

Toll roads as a solution to the day long near grid lock traffic, is a cruel joke.

The quality of life there is declining so fast that it breaks my heart to return on the occasional visit to friends and see the changes.

Is it this bad elsewhere?*
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-16-2006, 09:09 PM   #2
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Any relatively fast growing area is subject to the same pressures. Austin made a choice to be a hot spot for technology and that brings both wealth and less desirable traits of congestion. Those that wish can escape by selling their appreciated house and moving further out.

Up until the end of April, such congestion has been a pain in the butt for working people like me in the Houston area, subject to growth pressures too. But commencing May 1 in retirement, I can simply choose to travel at different times, or not at all. Staying in the suburbs, e.g. The Woodlands and never going into Houston can be a really good thing.
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-16-2006, 09:31 PM   #3
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol_Rancher
The median home in the neighborhood is $379,000 and the taxes on a house at that appraisal level will be $9,975.


Is it this bad elsewhere?*
Let's see........* $9975 tax on a $379K house is 2.63%.* In suburban Chicago, RE taxes on new construction run between 2.0% and 2.5% depending on exactly where you are.* And then we have a 3% flat income tax on top of that.* So, yeah, it's that bad elsewhere, or at least here.

The growth of Austin in general, that's another matter.* I stayed on Lake LBJ, about an hour from Austin, for a while this winter.* Real nice.* Lots of very upscale lakeshore homes.* Good fishing for white and black bass and crappies.* But the local folks suggested I fly in and out of San Antonio, which I did, because of the congestion of Austin.* And this to a guy who goes in and out of OHare regularly!* BTW, the San Antonio airport was a dream.
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-16-2006, 09:33 PM   #4
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

House appraised at $540,000, property taxes ~$3,000/year. Thank God for Prop. 13 out here in California, or else we'd all have to leave and screw up Texas, Arizona, Colorado even worse!
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-16-2006, 09:39 PM   #5
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

My rough figures put that $370,000* house at about $11,200 in SA*
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-16-2006, 09:51 PM   #6
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
Thank God for Prop. 13 out here in California
And I understand your state income taxes are very reasonable too! You know, a fella making $100K could pay them out of pocket change. Where does the money for schools and services come from? That Arnold must be quite the financial manager.
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-16-2006, 10:20 PM   #7
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Those property taxes are the reason why property in Texas will never rise much faster than inflation plus a few points. Some speculators think Austin property will double in a few years... yeeeaaahh sure.
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-16-2006, 10:34 PM   #8
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

House value approx. $210K, taxes about $750.00.
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-16-2006, 10:40 PM   #9
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet
And I understand your state income taxes are very reasonable too!* You know, a fella making $100K could pay them out of pocket change.* Where does the money for schools and services come from?* That Arnold must be quite the financial manager.


Trust me Youbet, Calif. (I'm a native Californian), gets their pound of flesh in the Tax Dept., so Arnold has something to work with.

Re: *Laurences house, and taxes. *The cost of a similar sized home in Texas would be about half the cost (If not less), so the taxes would be based on less than a $275,000.00 basis.

Secondly, if Laurence were to sell his house for $540,000, the new buyer would be paying about $6,000 in property taxes. *

We have a 7 3/4 Sales tax also.

Don't know where you heard our State Income Tax is reasonable, but our top rate is 9% on income over about $65,000. *(Might be off slightly, but not by much).

Hope that makes you feel better.

No free lunch here. *(Or any state, that I'm aware of).

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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-16-2006, 10:41 PM   #10
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

What's the problem guys? Your governor and the state legislature have a plan to reduce property taxes and the special session to get it done starts in Austin tomorrow!

What? You say this is the umpteenth time they've tried and failed to do something and you see nothing different this time? Please...have a little faith in your esteemed elected representatives. Remember, after 75 or so years of resisting trying they finally passed an open container law in 2001... when threatened with the loss of federal highway funds. :P

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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-16-2006, 10:47 PM   #11
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
What's the problem guys?* Your governor and the state legislature have [url=http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/state/14347973.htm] Remember, after 75 or so years of resisting trying they finally passed an open container law in 2001... when threatened with the loss of federal highway funds. :P

ReWahoo: If they passed an open container law
in Texas in 2001, they should have a balanced budget
by now.
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-16-2006, 10:57 PM   #12
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol_Rancher
I just read a story in the Austin American Statesman about the soon to be annexed Lost Creek Subdivision. The median home in the neighborhood is $379,000 and the taxes on a house at that appraisal level will be $9,975.

I left when my house reached $6600 a year on a $287,000 appraisal in an upscale neighborhood called Rollingwood located in the same school district.

The latest flap in Austin and San Antonio is the plan to widen arteries into each city, add 'fly overs' at the worst intersections, and make them toll roads. Bear in mind that the roads already exist and were paid for with gasoline taxes. The expected toll with be $0.75 per mile if all construction comes in on time and budget. This will cost most commuters $80 - $120 per month. Living in most suburbs or exurbs will be very expensive. Gasoline at $3 and all other automotive costs will of course be part of the commuters budget.

Who can afford this ?

No teachers, state workers, municipal workers, or tradesmen can retire in Austin or Travis county for long before they are driven out by high taxes.

I blame the tsunami of Californian tech people and speculators, as well as* the tax & spend liberal city councils for the demise of the once unique character of Austin. The mantra of those who have a vision of Austin's future is* "high density downtown residential and retail" ...*

Toll roads as a solution to the day long near grid lock traffic, is a cruel joke.

The quality of life there is declining so fast that it breaks my heart to return on the occasional visit to friends and see the changes.

Is it this bad elsewhere?*
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-16-2006, 11:22 PM   #13
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by macdaddy
Those property taxes are the reason why property in Texas will never rise much faster than inflation plus a few points.* Some speculators think Austin property will double in a few years... yeeeaaahh sure.
I sold my Austin house last year. We sure didn't see the fabulous home price increases that other parts of the country did. Too bad for me.

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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-17-2006, 12:20 AM   #14
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarhead*


Don't know where you heard our State Income Tax is reasonable, but our top rate is 9% on income over about $65,000. (Might be off slightly, but not by much).

Hope that makes you feel better.

No free lunch here. (Or any state, that I'm aware of).


I looked recently at CA state income tax table, found one for 2005, don't know if amounts are different or inflation-adjusted for '06 but was surprised to see how low the 9.3% bracket starts. It's at any income over 40,346. The blended rate up to 40,346 turns out to be 4.4%.

So, for example, 100k in income (after deductions, etc) would be taxed at 7.32%, a pretty fair chunk on top of Fed taxes

This is for single filer.
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-17-2006, 05:41 AM   #15
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
What's the problem guys?* Your governor and the state legislature have a plan to reduce property taxes and the special session to get it done starts in Austin tomorrow!

What?* You say this is the umpteenth time they've tried and failed to do something and you see nothing different this time?* Please...have a little faith in your esteemed elected representatives.* Remember, after 75 or so years of resisting trying they finally passed an open container law in 2001... when threatened with the loss of federal highway funds. :P

When the Texas legislature is in session, no one is safe. The up side to all of this is that if they don't find a solution that meets the requirement for "constitutionality" by the Texas Supreme Court the largest part of our property tax will be ruled invalid and the schools will close. Now I can't imagine any politician forcing something that would stop the collection of a tax but it is possible.
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-17-2006, 08:12 AM   #16
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarhead*


Trust me Youbet, Calif. (I'm a native Californian), gets their pound of flesh in the Tax Dept
Yeah......I know. I was just kidding.

As pointed out in some recent threads on this site, it's the total tax burden vs. the services delivered that counts. Chest thumping over low property tax or low state income tax or low sales tax doesn't mean much until you look at the entire picture. And even then, you have to make sure you're going to get the services you need/want.

Yep, generally speaking, there's no free lunch!

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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-17-2006, 08:19 AM   #17
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Naw, no free lunch.* Lots of theft, though, by well-intentioned (?) legislators.* Texas property taxes are too high and the legislators use the school systems, which are shabby by most national comparisons, to take more and more money.* Not very friendly for Early Retirees, who own property.* Now if we could just find a way to levy a tax on illegals when they cross the Rio Grande.*
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-17-2006, 08:28 AM   #18
 
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

What about the state of Washington?

No state income tax and reasonable property taxes (1% or so?) and health insurance that is available for most at fairly low cost. *For those who live in Washington, is this true?

In Texas we have high property taxes (2.5% or more depending where you live),the highest homeowners insurance in the country (we pay about $2000/year and the average is about $1400) and outrageous utility bills. Sales tax is 8.25%.*

It is very hard to retire here and we are seriously looking at moving as soon as the youngest graduates from high school...We love the Hill Country (and Austin area) but it is too expensive...
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-17-2006, 09:02 AM   #19
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbaraAnne


It is very hard to retire here and we are seriously looking at moving as soon as the youngest graduates from high school...We love the Hill Country (and Austin area) but it is too expensive...
We struggle with a similar situation here in the Chicago suburbs.* In my "dream life" we'd be able to afford both a city home and a country home in retirement, but it's not going to happen.* So we stay here, enjoying the amenities of urban life in the very revitalized Chicagoland area.* But, it's pricey.* Relatively high property taxes and a 3% state income tax to boot.* So, we do look at alternatives and shop around.

As mentioned earlier, there doesn't seem to be a free lunch anywhere.* Generally, one low tax is offset by another high tax, services suck or you just don't like the area.

Sometimes you can find an area whose tax strategy is more beneficial for you personally and take advantage of that.* For example, if you like Texas Hill Country (I do!) you might also like northern Arkansas.* It's also hilly, scenic, not crowded, etc.* But, unlike Texas, their property taxes are very low, offset by eye watering high state income taxes.* Perhaps, in retirement, you'd like to own a beautiful home but won't have a lot of taxable income.* Arkansas would be a good switch for you.

Good luck!*
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes
Old 04-17-2006, 09:05 AM   #20
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Re: Welcome to Austin, Taxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle43
Naw, no free lunch.* Lots of theft, though, by well-intentioned (?) legislators.* Texas property taxes are too high and the legislators use the school systems, which are shabby by most national comparisons, to take more and more money.* Not very friendly for Early Retirees, who own property.* Now if we could just find a way to levy a tax on illegals when they cross the Rio Grande.*

Eagle43: *When I had W-2 income in Calif., my "Jaws were always tight, because of the state income tax. *I figured out how to beat that after retiring. *(Have very little income).

Have to start RMD shortly. *Jaws are tightening up just thinking about it. (Back to bitching about Calif. again).

Hell, I may end up in Texas after all.

Jarhead

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