Income Tax as a Criteria for Choosing Your Retreat Locale

Taxes are another important consideration when choosing the state where you plan to live/retreat. Take a close look at property, income, and sales taxes before you decide where you might like to relocate. Car registration fees are another factor worth considering, especially if you have several vehicles. (In some states registration fees are a piddling administrative fee, while in some of the more populous Nanny States they are a big revenue source.)

If you are retired or nearing retirement age and middle class, property taxes will likely be more important to you than income taxes. Conversely, if you are in an upper income tax bracket or are middle class but still in your prime earnings years then income tax will be a prime concern. I’ve assembled some figures, gleaned from my research. Sorry that some of the following figures are a bit dated…

States with NO personal income tax include:
Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
Note: New Hampshire and Tennessee do tax interest and dividend income. It is also notable that Washington has a business tax of 2-3% of gross business revenues, so business owners should beware.

States with low to moderate income taxes:
Arizona and Idaho.

States with high income taxes:
California, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon.

States with the lowest property taxes (per capita, annually):
Alabama: $210
New Mexico: $283
Kentucky: $286
Arkansas: $321
Louisiana: $324

States with highest property taxes (per capita, annually):
New Jersey: $1,591
New Hampshire: $1,555
Connecticut: $1,500
New York: $1,329
Rhode Island: $1,233
Source: The Tax Foundation, based on Commerce Department and Census statistics.

Note: While sales and income taxes can be reduced by effective planning and clever behavior (lawfully, of course), property taxes are different. As The Sopranos mobster said: “Them you gotta pay.”

The Total Tax Burden (Property taxes, income taxes, and sales taxes combined–expressed in terms of taxes as a percentage of income, as of 2002):

The Best:
Alaska: 6.3%
New Hampshire: 7.6%
Tennessee: 8.3%
Colorado: 8.4%
South Dakota: 8.9%

The Worst:
Maine: 13.6%
New York: 12.9%
Wisconsin: 11.9%
Vermont: 11.7%
Hawaii: 11.6%

Note: Includes state and local taxes including property and sales tax, excise tax and some business taxes. You may pay even more if your income is considerably higher than average, or if you live in a city or county within the state with high property taxes. Source: The Tax Foundation, based on 1997 data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Why I Derisively Call .223 Rifles “Mouse Guns” (SA: Survival Guns)

A good friend sent the following e-mail excerpt from a young gent who is now a Lance Corporal, in the USMC. (When he sent the e-maile was a PFC on his first
deployment. It poignantly underscores the importance of the phrase Use Enough Gun!

“I’ve never been more disgusted with a weapon than I am with the M16. The accuracy is great and I’m comfortable with the operation of it but beyond that it’s worthless.
A couple weeks ago we had reports of a different squad in our platoon taking contact from two gunmen. They returned fire and swore up and down that they hit multiple times but both guys got away. Within 30 minutes we received a call from the hospital that they received two gunshot wound patients: One had suffered 28 wounds and the other 10. Both were still alive. This doesn’t even seem like a bad joke to me. It’s pretty much tragic. There are so many stories, especially from the Force Recon guys, of the .223 costing Marines their lives. When is something going to be done about this? How many Marines and soldiers have to die before someone will decide that maybe it’d be a good idea to get a better system? Next time I come out here, I’m bringing at least a couple magazines of ballistic-tipped ammo or something…”

JWR’s Comment: Unless you live in Alaska, the majority of your defensive rifle battery should be chambered in .308 Winchester (7.62mm NATO). I only consider .223 (a.k.a. 5.56mm NATO) useful as a transitional training round for youngsters, or perhaps as a tertiary cartridge for arming elderly or disabled retreat residents. Period.