Whenever we relocate (which, from what I gather as of this week, could be in the next 6 to 12 months), we will revise our household budget, since there will be differences in the cost of living in one place versus another.
There are online resources to help us do this. After a few keystrokes and clicks on salary.com, I learned that the likely site of our next relocation bears a cost of living 1.6% lower than where we now live. Not only that, but the new location tends to pay its employees a bit more, like 7.1% more. Moving sounds almost lucrative—our purchasing power should go up by almost 9 percent.
But I needed to do a separate search to figure out what the differences might be in income tax burden. We, for example, might move to a state that will have us pay 4.35% of our federal income liability as its state income tax. Right now, our current state levies no income tax. So, instead of currently paying about 28-ish% of our income to the federal government, we’ll pay about 33% of our income to the federal and state governments. Our consumption will go up, generally, with the kids getting older and needing wardrobes for more than one climate (we live in the south)… the whole thing will be a wash, I’m guessing.
And if we had moved to Europe? We would have paid income taxes in that lovely country (high, rest assured) as well as income taxes in the United States. Yes, you read that correctly—we would have paid taxes in two countries, on income earned in one country, because we’re… Americans. The United States is pretty unique in its tax treatment of foreign earned income.
Now, I don’t mind taxes. I think of them like vaccinations. You need them, even though they hurt a little. And they can, if you’re paying attention, do a world of good for others and for you, no matter where you live. Have you thanked your doctor for the fact that you and your child don’t have diptheria? And have you thanked your federal government for helping you pay for our military and our veterans’ benefits, among many other things?
The point is (ha! vaccination pun intended) you have to pay attention. The US Senate is working on tax reform at this very minute. And according to The Hill, they’re using this process that’s akin to an anonymous suggestion box in order to get as many Senators involved as possible.
They know the lobbyists are paying attention. Lobbyists are known for their ability to “thank” and push for what they specifically want… Or figuratively “shank” and dissuade a Senator from suggesting anything that might hurt their special interest.
I think the secrecy effort is great–if it gets these Senators moving on what has to be done, everybody should just keep mum and look away.
But I can still pay attention. I’ve got a budget to maintain.