While in Texas with my family and friends, I wondered why Texas had become such an attractive place for businesses and citizens to move to. One of the obvious reasons is the economic climate, especially taxes.
There is no income, corporate or personal tax in Texas. For the successful business owner or investor, that’s a huge advantage over California.
For example, in Texas, the total of sales and use taxes may not exceed 8.25 percent. The state’s portion is 6.25 percent.
In California, the income tax rate for income in the range of $47,056 to $1 million is 9.3 percent of every dollar of income earned. Corporation taxes are 8.84 percent of net income. No wonder firms such as Copart and others are bailing out of California and moving to Texas. It is a citizen-corporation friendly environment.
But financial reasons aren’t the only reasons. There is open space and room to grow. A generally greater sense of ethics and morality in the school systems, especially in small-town environments. There’s more civic pride.
I’m sure they have their problems, too. But on the whole, Texas is seen as a more wholesome place to live and raise families. And it is a place offering far greater personal opportunity. There are even jobs for nurses.
No, I’m not planning to move there. My connections for the most part are here – my work and my friends. But if I were a young man with a young family or newly retired, I sure would be tempted.
On this trip, I had an opportunity to visit old friends in the Austin area, as John Earl and Erma Mae Bristol invited me to stay a few days with them. Erma Mae’s daddy was an old friend from my days working in Fort Worth.
The area around Austin is booming. I never expected to see that much high-end residential construction there. Residences one might expect to pay $750,000 for here are selling for less than $300,000. With interest rates at about 3.5 percent, they are very affordable.
Another rather amazing thing was the amount of highway construction, much of it toll roads. I guess that might be expected considering the increasing population.
On the drive from Montgomery to the Austin area, on U.S. Highway 290, we passed through a number of small, old towns such as Brenham, which had well-maintained 19th or early 20th century “mansions” with the gingerbread decorations that were popular at the time. Made me wish I had time to do a little exploring.
I did have a chance to visit the Texas State Capitol in Austin and found the Tejas display on the grounds of interest. Statues included one of Christopher Columbus. We were reminded of the extent of Spanish exploration and colonization in North America.
I had not planned to write a column on this subject but felt compelled to do so by what I saw. The differences in the economic and cultural health of California and Texas is quite amazing.
Next time a less serious topic: You guessed it, food.
Murray Bass can be reached at 427-0744 or [email protected]