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Austin Has Highest Salaries For Tech Workers, After Factoring In Cost of Living

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the some-pretty-good-food-too dept.

The Almighty Buck 285

McGruber writes "Austin ranks number one in the nation when it comes to offering the largest tech salaries that have been adjusted for cost of living expenses, such as housing, groceries, utilities and other necessities. This is according to a study by TriNet, a company I had never heard off, that provides (buzzword alert!) cloud-based human resources services. The seven major tech hubs, ranked by cost of living adjusted average salaries: 1. Austin: $105,000; 2. Atlanta: $103,000; 3. Denver-Boulder: $98,000; 4. Boston: $79,000; 5. Silicon Valley: $78,000; 6. Los Angeles: $70,000; 7. New York: $56,000." It's true that Austin has cheaper real estate than Silicon Valley, or London, but what this kind of analysis can't capture well is the worth for an individual of living in a particular place. Some jobs are easier to do from Texas (or Timbuktu) than others, and opinions vary wildly about the importance of climate, culture, alternative job options, and other factors. New York living is expensive, Yes, but it comes with a free bonus if New York is where you want to be. Some people even like Los Angeles. Is there a place you'd rather be but forgo because of the cost of living, or a place you'd consider simply because it would amplify your salary?

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really (3, Insightful)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | about 8 months ago | (#46434835)

this is not an add for Dice reps at SXSW

really

Re: really (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46434977)

This.

Two things to keep in mind here. The average price for real estate within the city limits of Austin isn't that high because it's pulled WAY down by the relatively cheap outskirts of town. If you want to live downtown with the cool kids, it's definitely not cheap. (And you DO want to live close to the job here...the traffic is getting insane, and they are doing more to make it worse than they are to fix it. The just keep incentivizing more and more companies to come here.)

And speaking of traffic....how many Dice employees are attending SXSW this year. This post almost perfectly corresponds to the start of the festival. The forces of marketing are strong in Austin...

Re: really (1)

Necroman (61604) | about 8 months ago | (#46435395)

There is a reason a lot of companies are located on the outskirts of Austin proper. More companies are moving to the domain area, and there are a lot of companies along 360.

Sure, some companies are downtown, but there isn't really a need for it within Austin.

Re: really (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435509)

Yeah...and those areas are huge and sprawling, with inadequate roads and little (if any) public transportation to help. The companies are moving there for cost reasons above all else.

Have you ever tried to drive the length of 360 at about 5 pm? It's a special kind of hell..when it's 110 degrees outside on top of the traffic...I don't even know where to begin.

What I'm trying to say is that it might only be 10 miles between your home and your job, it's 10 pretty horrible miles. If you're living and working downtown, you've got better options. Walking, biking, busses, and even the occasional car2go, etc. If you work on 360....you realistically have one option...

Re: really (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435723)

Please. You can say that about New York too. Ever walked through freezing sleet on your way to the subway station, stepped into a foot-deep puddle and had freezing water soak your socks. Then you get to the subway and wait in freezing hell for two trains to go by because it's rush hour and you can't fit. Then you're finally squeezed in right next to some guy who is hacking up a lung from some new strain of influenza?

And by the way, if you read the original post, you'll see New Yorkers have the lowest income adjusted for cost-of-living.

And yet every year, thousands of new grads show up in New York, believing it's the coolest city in the world.

Re: really (1)

timothy (36799) | about 8 months ago | (#46435423)

There may be some -- as I put in another reply here, but anonymously (sorry about that, it's a stupid bug) -- but I have no idea. If there are any, which seems likely given the nature of it, they haven't called, they haven't written ;)

I hope to get to some SXSW stuff, since it's down the street from me, but it also falls on a weekend that I'm sitting here posting instead. And it's a mixed bag -- to see the cool things on display, you have to elbow though some dense crowds; this is a city that doesn't handle the traffic or extra people very gracefully. Some people enjoy the crowding for being exciting, but just try getting a paring spot ;) (Last year I got to spend more time at SXSW, and it's nice to be in biking distance.)

Re: really (2)

timothy (36799) | about 8 months ago | (#46435445)

Err ... "parking" spot. A paring spot is easy, if you have a knife and some apples ... it might even help you get a parking spot, if you can maintain a nice serial killer eye-lock when a parking spot fight comes up, and you can menacingly peel that apple.

Re: really (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435609)

The just keep incentivizing more and more companies to come here.

This is what kills me. We do not have an employment problem here. We have a resource problem. There's not enough water for our current residents and the city is doing every it can to grow the population.

I can't believe the city I moved to because of the low crime, low traffic and low cost of living is now essentially a marketing company. EVERYTHING the city council does has to do with image.

If there are Dice reps at SXSW ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435017)

... then nobody's mentioned it to me.

Not that there might not be (would make sense, since it's a big tech gathering), but, Eh, not that I'm aware of. The link also goes to a company that is (at least in some respect) competitive w/ Dice. Mostly caught my eye because I'm *in* Austin, though working this weekend. Sort of grey and cold this weekend, anyhow -- not an ideal walking-around-downtown kind of day.

The truth is just boring, in this case.

Cheers,

timothy (anon, because of a stupid bug, or maybe because of a conspiracy ;))

Re:If there are Dice reps at SXSW ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435525)

Apparently the slashdot mods can edit posts, too. Wow. When was the last time the slashcode was released? I'm the guy that found out about their ability to delete posts when I printed a bunch of comments and found a "Delete" link on every post that doesn't normally render in the browser (but it was in the source). They've made it no longer visible in the source.

http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4873715&cid=46435423

Unless timothy is trying to say that he knew it was going to post anonymously before posting. And he knew the linked post would go in under his name? This shows no mistake was made, and that the "bug" doesn't persist. So one can only conclude that timothy edited the parent after posting it and realizing it went through anonymously. But he wanted his name associated with it, and went back and edited his post.

Switch to Soylent News.

Denver? Atlanta? (2)

crucifiction (2330280) | about 8 months ago | (#46434839)

These are bigger "tech hubs" than Seattle? Does not sound legit.

Re: Denver? Atlanta? (1)

Karlt1 (231423) | about 8 months ago | (#46434919)

Don't know about Denver, but Atlanta is definitely a great place for tech workers. There is no shortage of jobs there.

Re: Denver? Atlanta? (0, Flamebait)

cruff (171569) | about 8 months ago | (#46435197)

Don't know about Denver, ...

So why did you even mention Denver if you don't know about it? :-) There are a lot of tech jobs all up and down the Colorado Front Range from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins in many different types of industries and national research labs. It is just one factor contributing to the more than doubling of population in this region during my life time.

Re: Denver? Atlanta? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435215)

Maybe theres no shortage of jobs there because no one wants to live there? Or maybe the non-cost of living adjusted average salaries are so low relative to other areas in reality its not worth it in reality?

Re: Denver? Atlanta? (2)

mikael (484) | about 8 months ago | (#46435455)

Austin has been ranked as the 2nd safest city in the USA, but according to other reports, 35% of the population is Mexican. But looking at the Google streetview maps, it looks like a really interesting modern city. The Austin Moon-light towers seem a really interesting architectural feature.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]

Re: Denver? Atlanta? (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 8 months ago | (#46435753)

Austin has been ranked as the 2nd safest city in the USA, but according to other reports, 35% of the population is Mexican.

And? Do you find that unlikely? <wtf/>

Re: Denver? Atlanta? (1)

JeffAtl (1737988) | about 8 months ago | (#46435471)

If people don't want to live in Atlanta, then why is it growing via people moving there from other areas?

Re: Denver? Atlanta? (1)

TheCaptain (17554) | about 8 months ago | (#46434995)

That was my first thought too. It sounds like a cobbled together Austin marketing piece by some execs who are probably at SXSW.

Re: Denver? Atlanta? (1)

J. Alexander Curtis (3568595) | about 8 months ago | (#46435015)

This was my first thought when reading this post. Seattle should be on that list for sure.

Re: Denver? Atlanta? (2)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 8 months ago | (#46435771)

This was my first thought when reading this post. Seattle should be on that list for sure.

Maybe, maybe not. Remember, this is not just a salary comparison, it is a salary/cost-of-living comparison. In that sense, I would believe Austin, Denver and Atlanta to be on top over other metropolitan areas, including Seattle. I would also come to the same conclusion by looking at the number of openings for engineering per capita (where Denver come way above most areas.)

The reality is that Denver, Austin, Dallas and Houston are looking nicer and nicer for the tech worker simply because the total net income (not the gross salary, but the net, after taking COL into account) is significantly better than SV, Boston or Seattle. I came to that conclusion recently after doing the math (salary, COL, number of jobs per capita, etc) looking for a place to relocate off SoFla.

The list is a little odd, you're right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435037)

Seattle (and/or Portland, since they've lumped together "Silicon Valley") is an obvious omission, as is the D.C. area generally (from Baltimore to NoVa, huge and robust tax-dollar-sink gov't tech stuff ...), and doubtless quite a few others. (Salt Lake City is another I'd put on a list of U.S. tech hot spots.)

timothy

Re:Denver? Atlanta? (1)

duckintheface (710137) | about 8 months ago | (#46435055)

Research Triangle Park (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) is a larger tech hub than Austin. And the cost of living is lower as well. Don't know about average salaries.

Re:Denver? Atlanta? (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 8 months ago | (#46435269)

Cost of living here in RTP is dirt cheap, but so is the pay. There are some large entities, IBM/SAAS and the like, but they cannot bring up the Average, and the GOP in charge seems like it wants to keep salaries down in order to bring in more work.

How exactly (1)

daninaustin (985354) | about 8 months ago | (#46435421)

How exactly is the GOP keeping salaries down?

Re:How exactly (4, Insightful)

XopherMV (575514) | about 8 months ago | (#46435683)

Fighting increases to the minimum wage. A higher minimum wage would increase wages for both the people at the low end and those immediately above the low end. Republicans don't like that.

Fighting government stimulus which provide jobs. Fighting stimulus creates a surplus of workers. More workers means more people looking for work. Businesses don't need to offer good pay to find workers. Republicans like that.

Fighting unemployment payments, food stamps, medicare, medicaid, and housing assistance. All that money eventually enters and supports jobs in local economies. That increases the demand for workers. That also increases salaries. Republicans hate that.

Fighting against sick or vacation days. Keeping people at work means that employers don't need to hire as many workers as companies in other countries. That creates lower demand for workers. That keeps salaries down. Republicans like that.

Re:Denver? Atlanta? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435189)

But is Seattle technical enough to make the list? Microsoft is full of people that are anti-technology and do no technical work. When I worked there as an admin, I know I met at least 500 people that worked there but none of them were developers. Yes, amazon.com is a real tech company, but it is just one, albeit large, company in a large metro area. No, I don't think Seattle qualifies. That is even ignoring the sad state of Internet access. I don't have a single friend with more than 2 Mbps here, and I'm stuck with a less than 1 Mbps connection with CenturyLink. The city government has fought hard against companies that want to provide access. If this was a technical city, the people wouldn't continue to elect anti-Internet candidates.

Re:Denver? Atlanta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435345)

+1, Seattle inet connectivity sucks

Re: Denver? Atlanta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435539)

What "tech" is in Seattle?

Re:Denver? Atlanta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435617)

Denver is awful. Don't move here! Go bug the people in Austin!

Re:Denver? Atlanta? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435739)

Hear, hear, go to Austin. Actually there are a ton of tech jobs available here and I heard a stat that Denver has 1200 people a day moving to it. Our work is balking at paying out more than 100-110k per year and as a result is losing people left and right.

Re:Denver? Atlanta? (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 8 months ago | (#46435779)

Denver is awful. Don't move here! Go bug the people in Austin!

Why? I'm not trying to have an e-fight, but I'm ask in earnest (hopefully with the expectation of getting an objective, quantifiable answer.)

DC's not ranked? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46434843)

There are a lot of tech workers in the DC area, and a relatively high cost of living.

One thing I've noticed, though, is that even if you live in a cheaper area, it may not outweigh the standard cost of geek toys. So, someone in New York may make more, pay more for living expenses, but then buying an iPhone or a laptop may result in less of their salary used.

Re:DC's not ranked? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 8 months ago | (#46434927)

As a percent of pre-expenses salary, yes. As a fraction of New York's post-expenses 56k modem, er, salary compared to Austin's 100k+, no.

What you just said is, after all, exactly what the study was trying to figure out. Hell, an Austineer could make several trips a year to NY and elsewhere to pick up cultural goodies like plays and still come out way ahead.

Re:DC's not ranked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435041)

Way ahead except for the time lost -- which should be an integral part of calculating the cost of living somewhere -- and the need to pre-plan. NYC also has quick access to other cities of interest to the kind of person who would like it, whereas Austin is an oasis in a desert of similar culture.

Re:DC's not ranked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435063)

That's why this story is bogus though. Living in New York City is not a "cost" it's a luxury. I mean sure, jobs in Austin may pay less than New York but then the cost of earning less in Austin is that you have to live mother fucking TEXAS. No, thanks. I don't care how much less money I can earn in Texas, I'll stay in NYC, thanks. What a fucking retarded article. Seriously, I think i'm going to stop reading Slashdot. This shit is just too stupid.

Re:DC's not ranked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435207)

Enjoy your stop and frisk, your banned sodas and your urine filled subways! Cool! (^_^)

Re:DC's not ranked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435475)

Hey - if somebody likes to live in NYC, let them. Bog knows we don't want them anywhere else.

Re:DC's not ranked? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 8 months ago | (#46435713)

an Austineer could make several trips a year to NY and elsewhere to pick up cultural goodies like plays and still come out way ahead.

That's a good point.

Re:DC's not ranked? (2)

nbauman (624611) | about 8 months ago | (#46435231)

New York City does have the financial services industry, and a lot of big law firms, which tend to pay a lot of money.

If any business can afford to be located in New York City, they must have a lot of money, and if they need your skills, they can pay you a lot. They can even pay you enough to live there. Some national corporations used to have a 10% salary premium for employees in New York City.

If your goal is to save as much money as you can, you'd be better off in New York City. You can relocate later.

Anyplace but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46434853)

here. Too much money. Too much excess. Too many women. I wanna go home to the armadillo.

Re:Anyplace but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46434985)

Too many women is a problem? That's a problem I wouldn't mind having.

Re: Anyplace but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435191)

You won't have that problem in Austin.

http://www.maletofemaleratio.com/wiki/Texas-TX/Austin.htm

Vs.

http://www.maletofemaleratio.com/wiki/New_York-NY/New_York.htm

Long story short, Austin has 105 males for every 100 females....NYC has 90 males for every 100 females. Austin's fun, but it really is a pretty epic sausage party.

I Love LA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46434869)

Some people Love LA [youtube.com] which was the first thing that came to mind when I saw that link.

Re:I Love LA (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 8 months ago | (#46434943)

Learn to swim [youtube.com]

I'd like to see their methodology. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46434879)

When I looked at the difference, Atlanta's cost of living is less than half of Silicon Valley's - but I factored in living close enough to have the same commute and amenities as I have now.

Also, Atlanta being 31st in the best cities to find jobs and being #2 on salaries makes sense.

There have been a lot of layoffs here and employers are very picky - overly picky, I think. But one hiring manager told me that she got over a hundred applicants for one job and most of them more than likely could do the job: she runs a MS .NET shop, fyi.

She's picky to reduce her work load.

So, it's know the tech laundry list AND have industry experience.

And of course, off-shoring is alive and well. Some poor bastard with a kid on the way just got canned and just guess where the company is sending the work.

It seems as though when an application gets into maintenance mode, that's when the companies start looking at their development costs.

The "Full" Report (1)

siriuskase (679431) | about 8 months ago | (#46435513)

Not much about methodology, but they show more rankings and pretty visualizations

http://www.trinet.com/document [trinet.com] ... [trinet.com]

Quality of Life is not factored into to Adjusted salary rankings, but is ranked separately. The rankings are almost inversely correlated with Austin in 2nd to last place and Atlanta in last place for Quality of Life.

Seeking to relocate to enter the game industry (1)

tepples (727027) | about 8 months ago | (#46434925)

For people trying to break into the video game industry, the four areas I hear repeated over and over are Silicon Valley (#5 per the article), Seattle (not ranked in the article), Boston (#4), and Austin (#1). I imagine that Austin's low cost of living gives it an even bigger edge over some of the other areas for people seeking to move from areas that aren't major tech hubs. So how much money should someone save up before relocating to Austin for the first time? Dutch Gun says it was $10,000 a decade and a half ago [slashdot.org] , but inflation has probably raised that.

Re:Seeking to relocate to enter the game industry (1)

Silvanis (152728) | about 8 months ago | (#46435387)

Depends on what is required to move. If you're packing things in your car and driving there, then $3-5k is fine (if you have a job lined up). If you're hiring a professional moving company and need 6 months of rent and groceries, then $15-20k is more the ballpark.

I did the pack up in the car route and had about $5k, but I also lined up an apartment to rent before moving and had a job as soon as I got there.

Work where you grew up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46434933)

It's a good choice to work where you grew up. You know the place, so you know how to live cheaply, and you have friends and family to help you in an emergency.

I have a decent programming job. It could pay double or triple somewhere else but my entire rent and utilities including Internet service comes to a grand total of $425/month.

It's silly to be making $100,000/year and having $60,000 or $70,000 of that amount after taxes going to rent. That's the reality of places like Silicon Valley, Boston, and New York City. Maybe after a few years you'll be making $150 but you're going to be struggling for a while. Every other service is jacked up in price along with rent. The price of groceries, getting your car fixed, tickets to a concert, getting drinks at the bar. As one person pointed out, the only advantage to living in these places is that retail items can be a smaller percentage of your income if that benefit isn't outweighed by the cost of living and nearby services.

So in short I prefer to make less money in a place where it doesn't matter and not have to worry about making more money.

Re:Work where you grew up (3, Insightful)

tjb (226873) | about 8 months ago | (#46435619)

making $100,000/year and having $60,000 or $70,000 of that amount after taxes going to rent

That's way too high of a rent estimate. Even in San Francisco, you can get a decent place for 1 person for $3000/month.

Generally speaking, if you put a premium on having a big house and lots of land, Silicon Valley is probably not for you as the difference in pay will not make up for the absurd cost of housing. If you're willing to compromise on housing, the higher pay is more than worth it in terms of the stuff and experiences you can afford. Compared to most places, housing is a lot more expensive, and restaurants/bars are moderately more expensive but groceries are cheaper (high-quality produce, in particular) and most non-perishable goods (cars, anything you can buy on Amazon) are the same price as everywhere else.

Re:Work where you grew up (4, Informative)

Yosho (135835) | about 8 months ago | (#46435657)

That's way too high of a rent estimate. Even in San Francisco, you can get a decent place for 1 person for $3000/month.

To be fair, that's still an insane amount to somebody living in central/south Texas. You can buy a house suitable for a four-person family in a decent neighborhood for under $1000/month.

Anywhere but Silicon Valley (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46434939)

It's expensive, sprawling and little to no culture. Why people choose to live there I have no idea.

Allergies are a big issue in Austin (1)

1gig (102295) | about 8 months ago | (#46434945)

I'm one of the lucky few in that I don't suffer from Allergies spring and fall here in Austin from some kind of Allergies. I mean it is so bad we even have a name for one of them "Ceder Feaver" and if you suffer from it man let me say you don't want to be here!

Re:Allergies are a big issue in Austin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46434961)

I had I-35 fever.

Re:Allergies are a big issue in Austin (3, Funny)

LordNimon (85072) | about 8 months ago | (#46435275)

Are you sure you don't suffer from it? One symptom of Cedar Fever is the inability to spell words correctly.

Re:Allergies are a big issue in Austin (1)

timothy (36799) | about 8 months ago | (#46435465)

I am one of the people who used to laugh at cedar fever. "So you sneeze a bit -- so what? Sneezing's not so bad, it's even kind of fun!" I lived here, on and off, for 6 years before it hit me, and it was even one of the reasons I had for moving away again, for quite a few years before the current back-to-Austin phase.

It's like a sledgehammer. Knocked me down for most of a week, and now I understand why people dread it. I'd figured I was immune, for having been here several springs without symptoms, but that was just a cruel trick of nature. This year's been a particularly bad one for it, too, though slightly mitigated by the greater-than-usual precipitation; it's hard for it to be drizzly *and* pollen-heavy on the same day.

Re:Allergies are a big issue in Austin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435601)

Claritan (can buy generic version at walgreens or CBVS), take it every day, never skip a day. That is the most effective way I've found so far when dealing with the "Cedar Fever" problems in Austin. It took me just over five years to develop the allergy.

BTW: I have a friend who had to move away from Austin due to severe allergies from the fire ants -- tiny little ants akin to what I used to call "sugar ants" in other regions. The tiny little fire-ants here are pure evil.

We like it that way. Don't move here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46434987)

Don't.

Hawaii, duh. (2)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 8 months ago | (#46434989)

I'd love to live in a tropical paradise, but so would lots of other people. That drives up the cost of living and/or leads to overcrowding.

Salary amplification in... (5, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | about 8 months ago | (#46435003)

Salary amplification in... states with no income tax:

- Alaska
- Florida
- Nevada
- South Dakota
- Texas
- Washington
- Wyoming

If you have no dividend or interest income, add:

- Tennessee
- New Hampshire

What actually matters here is not where you want to live to work, but where you want to live eventually/retire to, and how long you are willing to work before you can safely retire, which is how much money you are effectively able to sock away each year.

Austin is still something of a deal, since compared to California, you get about 25% of your salary back through not paying income taxes, but the other places in the article are less of a deal, regardless of the cost of living, because what matters is not the cost of where you are, but the cost of where you end up when you and your money eventually move there. And that includes differential real estate pricing.

Washington is not so much of a deal, unless you live near the Oregon border; Washington makes up for its lack of income tax through sales tax, and Oregon makes up for its lack of sales tax with an income tax, so if you can get salaries in Washington, and buy your consumables, furniture, cars, and other items in Oregon, you can get a pretty good deal. A lot of Microsofties take this option, and have no problem with job transfers, which are more of a problem in Austin than Silicon Valley, but less of a problem than if you took a job at some data center in Iowa.

Re:Salary amplification in... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435057)

Not really, if you look at the total tax bills you will be paying Texas has higher taxes than California for a majority of its residents and effectively at par for all but the top 5%
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/03/texas-turns-out-be-not-so-miraculous-after-all

Property tax (0)

tepples (727027) | about 8 months ago | (#46435061)

Austin is still something of a deal, since compared to California, you get about 25% of your salary back through not paying income taxes

This article [about.com] states that like New Hampshire, Texas makes up for its lack of an individual income tax with higher property tax, which the landlord ends up passing on to the tenant.

Re:Property tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435507)

Exactly. My yearly property tax is right at $5,000 for a tax-appraised $180k house. My buddy who lives about a mile away in a $300k house is paying nearly $10k in property taxes each year. We live just outside the north side of Austin in the suburbs, and commute in.

Property taxes in TX are HIGHLY dependent on your address -- there is no state-wide property tax, instead there are thousands and thousands of "local tax jurisdictions". Literally the house across the street can be taxed differently because of these jurisdiction lines. Counties, school districts, hospitals, community colleges, roads, water districts, etc are little feifdoms with their own ability to tax your property -- these tax jurisdictions are typically unelected kings with zero accountability so you can't fight property taxes or control how the taxes are spent.

Texas does have a state-wide 6.25% sales tax, and the local jurisdictions add another 2% -- so pretty much everything you purchase has an 8.25% sales tax on there (some food items/necessities are exempt from sales tax).

Re:Property tax (1)

warm_warmer (3029441) | about 8 months ago | (#46435587)

Having just moved from the Seattle area to the Atlanta area for work, I'll share my tax-related findings:
  • -Property tax rates are about the same in Seattle and Atlanta (living in Atlanta, bought a very similar condo at a very similar price to what I had in Seattle metro)
  • -Seattle has 9.5% sales tax on non-food purchases - Atlanta has 8% sales tax on non-food purchases and 4% sales tax on food purchases
  • -Seattle (through WA) has no income tax, and Atlanta (through GA) has 6% income tax on virtually all income (very quick progression to 6%)

I'd wager that the 1.5% sales tax difference between Seattle and Atlanta is roughly a wash given Atlanta taxes food, so any cost of living differences between Atlanta and Seattle must aggressively be made up for through things being cheaper here, since my over-all tax burden is significantly higher (through the income tax) in GA than it was in Seattle.

Also, Seattle really does rock - I'd love to move back there one day :-)

Re:Salary amplification in... (4, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | about 8 months ago | (#46435151)

The problem with living in Austin is that you're subject to the Texas Legislature.

Just like the problem with Silicon Valley and LA (Disclaimer: I live in LA) is that you are subject to the California Legislature.

Re:Salary amplification in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435319)

Texas legislature is no problem as long as you are male and/or not seeking an abortion.

Re:Boolean logic lessons (0)

jkflying (2190798) | about 8 months ago | (#46435357)

If you're male and reading /. you won't be seeking an abortion for a significant other because you're single.

Thus, since you are addressing a /. audience, your logic can be simplified to :

Texas legislature is no problem as long as you are male or not seeking an abortion.

But 2/5 for effort.

Re:Salary amplification in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435523)

And they are only in session every other year (the odd-numbered years), so that lessons the damage they can cause.

Trinet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435007)

Trinet is a competitor to ADP (outsourced HR functions).

Cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435009)

Austin, L.A., Silicon Valley and I'm guessing Denver and Atlanta are places where you pretty much need to own a car; whereas NYC, and San Francisco proper and Boston are places where I'd never bother with one and usually used my time on the train to study. It sounds like they didn't adjust for that at all.

Capital Metro (1)

tepples (727027) | about 8 months ago | (#46435087)

Austin, L.A., Silicon Valley and I'm guessing Denver and Atlanta are places where you pretty much need to own a car

Capital Metro [capmetro.org] operates Austin's public transit service. Unlike the bus service where I live, it even runs on Sunday. What do you claim it lacks?

Re:Capital Metro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435225)

It lacks enough buses. Most of the day the routes only run about every half hour, which is a glacial pace. I'm understanding of the situation as I've lived in a similarly-sized city with similarly timed buses, but that won't make it acceptable to most people. (I can't really say if there are coverage problems as well.)

Re:Capital Metro (1)

Livius (318358) | about 8 months ago | (#46435285)

Lots of places have 'reasonable' public transit but relying on it may still be a compromise in quality of life. On the other hand if the public transit really does (more or less) replace car ownership, then that can alter the cost of living calculation substantially.

Re:Capital Metro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435515)

Austin resident. A challenge with Capital Metro is whether it takes you to where some of the larger employers are located. Capital Metro goes to a lot of places in Austin, but it is not exactly like being in a NY type city with an extensive subway system or another city with a more compact profile for where businesses are located.

Net is that in Austin unless you are living downtown that you will want to own a car. However, Austin is a bike friendly city, and several people bike to where I work even though it is likely a 5+ mile commute for many of those folks. Yet, for those few days that it rains or the temperature dips (fortunately ~25'F or -5'C is considered "bitterly" cold here), you will need another travel arrangement.

To the other comment above about allergies, there are several times in the year with bad allergies. It took 12 years before I finally got hit with "Cedar Fever", which is typical that it takes years for the allergy to develop. Ragweed, oak, and other allergies hit various people during the year. Other than Cedar Fever though, I have far fewer allergy issues than where I grew up (lots of pine trees, more humidity).

Cheap retirement spots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435097)

These would also work if you can do long-range telecommuting

https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Retiring_abroad

CS about to grad college, should I move to austin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435123)

Sister lives there should I go and try and find work instead of greater boston/providence area

Re:CS about to grad college, should I move to aust (1)

BorisSkratchunkov (642046) | about 8 months ago | (#46435161)

If you're asking Slashdot to make major life decisions for you, you have bigger issues. That said, why the hell not.

CS about to grad college, should I move to Austin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435193)

Water. Lack thereof. Drier in Austin than the current viewership of Austin City Limits. I recommend Boston. Stay at the Holiday Inn. You'll love it.

Re:CS about to grad college, should I move to aust (1)

tepples (727027) | about 8 months ago | (#46435217)

It might have been better to phrase it such that you're asking Slashdot for help on gathering information that you plan to use to make decisions for yourself.

Re:CS about to grad college, should I move to aust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435527)

I don't know. Is she hot?

The Missing Variable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435153)

I never quite understand these calculations. It's not like people in New York don't know it's expensive to live in New York. If you told this data to most New Yorkers (or other high CoL areas) they'd say "but then I'd have to live in X."

There needs to be a better way of comparing cities besides just CoL... like what's missing from these cheaper cities that allows them to cost less and what would you have to give up to live there.

You could write similar headlines saying "after factoring in cost of operation and ability to get you from point A to point B a Chevy Malabu is better than a Corvette." It's not like Corvette owners don't know there are cheaper car options.

Moved to be near friends. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435155)

I'm a welder, and I moved to Pittsburgh last summer. I had a lot of friends here from when I used to live here so being here was important to me. It was a large struggle to move. I spent the first two months living out of my car, and then up until recently I wasn't able to find a welding job. I worked shitty jobs, didn't get enough hours and struggled to survive. The whole time I knew, that I could be in North Carolina living near my Grandparents and making 16 bucks an hour welding. Happy ending, I now have a welding job in Pittsburgh where I make 14/hour. I'm currently saving up to buy a house here.

Maryland, DC, Virginia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435181)

There are a lot technology jobs in the MD/DC/VA area. A low six figure salary for a good Software Engineer is pretty common, and if you can get a clearance then you'll earn more.

One thing nobody seems to mention when they compare cost of living is that most of the difference between locations will be housing. Sure, the price of gas and milk and medicine varies from place to place, but the big ticket item is your dwelling. The cost of housing where I live is much higher than the national average, but my salary compensates for that. As long as you aren't renting, that extra money is going into something that YOU own! When I'm ready to retire I'll sell my house, pocket the money, and move somewhere that's more affordable.

Traffic is horrible in Austin (2)

cyberspittle (519754) | about 8 months ago | (#46435233)

It takes a long time to get anywhere. :(

Downsides to Austin (5, Insightful)

Dasher42 (514179) | about 8 months ago | (#46435293)

Austin is *not* ready to be a big city. Its infrastructure wasn't designed for it. Its traffic jams are some of the worst in the country, its aquifers are in serious trouble owing both to desertification and fracking around the Colorado River's headwaters, and much of its distinctive nature is being destroyed by new development. This is why you see signs reading, "Welcome to Austin! Don't move here."

Re:Downsides to Austin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435463)

But hipsters!!!

Re:Downsides to Austin (1)

mikael (484) | about 8 months ago | (#46435505)

That's just about the same in every city now ... you should see the traffic jams in Silicon Valley - entire freeways stretching all the way from Sunnyvale to Menlo Park at dead stop. At night-time, you'd just see rows and rows of car headlights and taillights going all the way to the horizon.

Re:Downsides to Austin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435595)

I've... seen things you people wouldn't believe... [contemptuous laugh] IRS office on fire off the shoulder of Research. I watched headlights glitter in the dark on MoPac. All those... moments... will be lost in time, like [small cough] tears... in... rain. Time... to die...

Re:Downsides to Austin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435641)

We're not a city anymore. We're a marketing campaign.

I've often wondered about Boston... (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 8 months ago | (#46435451)

It's where I am an cost of living is fairly high, just not quite as high as the bigger cities like New York. Boston has a nice mix of Biotech, Finance, Defense, etc.

Full Report: Quality of Life inversely correlated (2)

siriuskase (679431) | about 8 months ago | (#46435461)

Big surprise, huh:

http://www.trinet.com/document [trinet.com] ... [trinet.com]

Quality of Life is not factored in, but is ranked separately. The rankings are almost inversely correlated With Adjusted Salary 1st place winner Austin in 2nd to last place, and 2nd place for Adjusted Salary Atlanta in dead last place for quality of life.

Tech hubs? (4, Interesting)

j. andrew rogers (774820) | about 8 months ago | (#46435561)

How can a list of "the seven major tech hubs" not include Seattle, which is home to some of the biggest tech companies in the world, but include cities like Atlanta? That is a strangely biased list so I wonder what the criteria was for "tech hub".

Re:Tech hubs? (1)

warm_warmer (3029441) | about 8 months ago | (#46435607)

That does seem like a serious oversight.

Perhaps TriNet's definition of "tech hub" is along the lines of "places where TriNet has many tech companies as customers." I'd never heard of TriNet until I moved to Atlanta (from Seattle).

Silicon Valley is the Place to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435611)

If you are a top notch engineer, Silicon Valley is the only place to be. If you can deal with a smaller space to live, you will have a much higher quality of life. Salaries start out in the 130k range from College to up to 300k for experienced good engineers at top companies, generally double everywhere but New York. You will top out a lot lower in Austin. You live a little different from Austin, but there is so much to do here and if you don't like your job, you can have 10 in a week if you are good.

Re:Silicon Valley is the Place to be (1)

hax4bux (209237) | about 8 months ago | (#46435777)

I call BS - $300K is very rare air. $200K is not common either.

Seriously, how many engineers do you know whose base pay is over $200K/year? I've been working in SV since 1987 and I only know a handful of people like that (although sometimes bonus does significantly shift that number).

What about migrating north? (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 8 months ago | (#46435629)

How about working in Canada, eh?

Life in NYC (0)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 8 months ago | (#46435721)

I'll put it this way. I would pay money not to live in or visit NYC. I have been there and consider it the lowest of all ways of life. Dirty, smelly, crimne ridden, social horror story and abomination against God and nature pretty much sum up my feelings about NYC. What may have been a decent piece of land before the Europeans took over has become a nightmare of rotting concrete and human misery.

Better just to keep moving from place to place (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46435775)

All of California, Washington, Texas, Colorado, Nevada have better Salaries and low cost of living compared to the over-hyped and overpriced NYC. NYC is a complete shit hole. Even the other NYC boroughs(like Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx) rent cost is reaching Manhattan levels while Tech salaries remain low and stagnant.

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