Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why people move to Texas


Fresh off of Governor Perry's presentation yesterday, the BBC backs him up; from the article "10 reasons why so many people are moving to Texas":
1. Jobs
"I don't think people go for the weather or topography," says Joel Kotkin, professor of urban development at Chapman University in Orange, California. "The main reason people go is for employment. It's pretty simple.


"The unconventional oil and gas boom has helped turn Texas into an economic juggernaut, particularly world energy capital Houston, but growth has also been strong in tech, manufacturing and business services."
Critics have questioned whether the "Texas miracle" is a myth, based on cheap labour and poor regulation.
But Kotkin says Texas has plenty of high-wage, blue-collar jobs and jobs for university graduates, although people looking for very high-wage jobs would probably head to Seattle, San Francisco and New York.
Four of the top 10 metropolitan areas for job growth in 2013 are in Texas, according to Kotkin's website, New Geography.
Texas also has a huge military presence, which grew as defence spending increased in the decade after 9/11. Many retired Texans first came to the state as service personnel.
2. It's cheaperOnce employed, it's hugely important that your pay cheque goes as far as possible, says Kotkin.
"New York, LA and the [San Francisco] Bay Area are too expensive for most people to live, but Houston has the highest 'effective' pay cheque in the country." 
Kotkin came to this conclusion after looking at the average incomes in the country's 51 largest metro areas, and adjusting them for the cost of living. His results put three Texan areas in the top 10. 
Houston is top because of the region's relatively low cost of living, including consumer prices, utilities and transport costs and, most importantly, housing prices, he says. 
"The ratio of the median home price to median annual household income in Houston is only 2.9. In San Francisco, it's 6.7.
"In New York, San Francisco and LA, if you're blue-collar you will be renting forever and struggling to make ends meet. But people in Texas have a better shot at getting some of the things associated with middle-class life." 
3. HomesLand is cheaper than elsewhere and the process of land acquisition very efficient, says Dr Ali Anari, research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. 
"From the time of getting a building permit right through to the construction of homes, Texas is much quicker than other states. 
"There is an abundant supply of land and fewer regulations and more friendly government, generally a much better business attitude here than other states."
This flexibility, plus strict lending rules, helped to shield the state from the recent housing market crash. 
4. Low tax
Texas is one of only seven states where residents pay no personal state income tax, says Kay Bell, contributing tax editor at Bankrate and Texan native. 
The state has a disproportionate take from property taxes, which has become a big complaint among homeowners, she adds. But overall, only five states had a lower individual tax burden than Texas, according to Tax Foundation research.
There are also tax incentives for businesses and this week legislators cut more than $1bn off proposed business taxes. 
 8. Fewer rules
"Texas is liberal in the classic sense, it's laissez-faire, so there's a lack of regulations," says Grieder, and this can apply to the obvious (business regulations) or the less obvious (city rules). 
"The classic social contract is - we're not going to do a ton to help you but we're not going to get in your way. That's not 100% true of the state but there's that strand in the state." 
Mortgage lending is an obvious exception. But there has been strong opposition to banning texting while driving and a proposed tax on soda.
And Governor Rick Perry is poised to sign off the strongest email privacy laws in the US, which would require state law enforcement agencies to get a warrant before accessing emails.
 Read the whole thing here.

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