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LawDog
06-07-2022, 02:28 PM
Weíve had discussions here before about the differences between states and which are better for men like us. Usually itís been a 1:1 comparison (ďShould I move to Texas or Arizona?Ē). And even when itís discussed by people with direct knowledge, we often just default to the straightforward gun issues, ignoring the rest of life. Iíd like to go a bit deeper on a few states. In particular, I would like to learn about the unforeseen negatives that different states haveóthe things you donít realize until you go to register a car or buy a house. Iíll start with the two states that I have the most recent and in-depth information about. Iím looking forward to hearing from a few other states that Iíve often wondered about (Idaho, Montana, Missouri).


Alaska

There is no place in the world that is more beautiful. I have bicycled across the Swiss Alps. I have trekked across a glacier in New Zealand and gone diving along the reefs in Hawaii. Iíve been blessed to see a lot of the grandeur of this planet, and nothing can compete with the majesty and accessibility of Alaska. Many beautiful places in the world are closed off and protected. You are constantly paying fees and hiring guides in order to briefly experience the place. But in Alaska, itís all just there around you. All over the state, there are places where you can just pull a van off the road, tuck in among the fir trees, and camp unmolested next to an awe-inspiring lake that is backed by an impressive set of snow-capped mountain peaks.


From May to September, I could happily be homeless in Alaska, living out of a van down by the river. When winter comes, you donít want to be homeless but you will still enjoy the great outdoors.


Alaska requires a lot of education and a lot of gear. For most people, it will take 2-3 years of living in Alaska to really get the hang of it. You have to learn how to dress, how to drive, how to schedule your outings around the weather. During the learning process, everything will be a little bit harder, but itís still a fun life.


99% of the land in Alaska is owned by some level of government, leaving 1% in private commerce. There are national parks, national forests, BLM, state parks, and on and on. So despite being utterly massive, most people live on ľ acre lots in or near town. Initially, I was dismayed by this. I grew up with a southern mindset and I wanted to live on a hundred acres of woodland. What I discovered was that I really like living as an urban Alaskan. With a tiny lot, you have a lot less driveway to shovel out. And even though you donít own the land, there is a park at the end of the street that is literally the size of Rhode Island.


Living close and still feeling separated is helped by the Alaskan culture. There is no southern hospitality in Alaska. The people arenít rude; they just arenít interested in you. People generally just leave one another alone. I lived in a town of 7,000 souls, which means that you see a lot of the same faces over and over again. But other than a polite nod, there is little communication. Contrast that with Georgia, where you canít make it through the line at a grocery store without some little old lady quizzing you about who you are, where you are from, what you do, how many kids you have, and whether youíve found a church yet. Alaskans are politely aloof.


Winter in southcentral Alaska (around Anchorage and the Kenai) isnít really that bad. We exaggerate the cold in order to keep the Californians from invading. It does get dark, which bothers some people. I kind of liked it. The problem everybody has with winter is how long it lasts. Even in Minnesota, winter is 2-3 months. In Alaska, it can be 6. On Halloween, you donít really know what the kids are wearing for costumes, because theyíre all covered by a parka. The roads start to clear of snow in April, but there is still plenty of snow and ice on shaded trails into May, and sometimes June.


The mosquitos are another thing that we blow out of proportion, but there is some truth to the legends. For about two weeks in June, there will be big lazy mosquitos that seem too dazed by lethargy to bite you. That is followed by two to three weeks of vicious swarms of mosquitos that will carry away small dogs. Then another two weeks of slowly dying mosquitos. When these weeks occurs will vary from one location to another, so one trail may be swarming while another only has a few biters. Over time, you learn to adapt and you get local intel to know which trail you should hike this weekend.


The summer sun is amazing. I still recall the first time I found myself wandering through downtown Anchorage in June at around 4 a.m. It looked apocalyptic. It felt like daytime in a big city, but there was no one to be seen anywhere. People do strange things under the midnight sun. They will mow their lawns at midnight. You will just straight-up forget to sleep. A good set of blackout shades will help, but you have to discipline yourself to ensure that you actually get some rest.


Alaska is the easiest place in the world to be healthy, and you will see it in the people. Homer wasnít wrong, and there are a lot of fat people. But there are also a lot of stellar athletes. The outdoors just seems to beckon. Any time your eyes drift up at the horizon, you will feel a compulsion to go running, biking, or hiking. And in Alaska, I almost never sweated. I could go for a run at 2 p.m. in July and not break a sweat. It would be 70 degrees outside, but the humidity is so low that I would just get a bit of salt on my forehead that I had to brush off occasionally.


There are several good restaurants in Anchorage or Juneau. One of the best meals of my life was in McCarthy. (This from a guy who has dined well in Paris and Moscow.) You will be amazed by the salmon. Even if you hated salmon as a kid, you will love it in Alaska. Moose venison is basically the perfect food. The produce is lacking, though. In Anchorage, the produce is of reasonable quality and just a little bit pricier. But the farther you get from 4th Avenue, the more banged up and expensive fruit is going to be. If you are off the road system (Nome, Kotzebue, Bethel, etc.), food may cost nearly twice as much as it does in the lower 48.


You wonít find fine clothiers. There is an REI and a lot of places to buy Carhartt, but a shortage of places where you can be fitted for a suit. You can drive 800 miles in Alaska without passing a place that sells dress shoes or ties. The upside is that in that environment you will never be expected to wear dress shoes or a tie.


Gas is just barely more expensive than the average. In fact, itís less expensive than Chicago or California.


There is no state income tax. There is no state sales tax, but some municipalities impose a sales taxóusually no more than 2% or so. In Palmer, where I lived, it was 2% but it didnít apply to groceries, which was almost the only thing that I bought in town. In Wasilla, they had a 2% tax, but it was capped at $200, so you didnít get stung buying a large item, like a car. (All of the car dealerships in the Valley were in Wasilla.) Property tax was modest. I lived right in town, in a nice house, and we paid just over $1k annually.


If you work for the state government, you donít pay into Social Security. Instead, the dollars that would go to FICA instead go into a managed retirement plan that has averaged about a 15% profit over the last two decades. This may be available to city employees, but Iím not certain.


Tagging a vehicle cost about $50/yr. You could go ahead and pay for two years, so that you had to file the paperwork half as frequently. In Anchorage, they had an annual emissions test, but not anywhere else.


Gun laws are minimal. There is no need for a permit to carry, but you can get a permit in order to have the NICS exemption and reciprocity with other states. (If you get the permit, definitely take the class at Alaska Tactical; nowhere else.) There is a corollary to the NFA, so all the same stuff is prohibited under state law, but exempt if you follow the federal rules. The only gun law that I regularly saw violated was Misconduct Involving Weapons in the 4th Degree (misdemeanor), for being drunk with a gun. That one comes up quite a bit. The penalty was usually the night in jail and then a year or two of unsupervised probation. They also have a felon-in-possession law (MIW3). Itís against the law to have a Ďloadedí gun in a bar (MIW5), but it was a misdemeanor. You faced a whopping 10 days in jail, which would probably be suspended, and you would get it cleared off your record if you didnít get in trouble for a year.


There was a good shooting range on the north side of Anchorage, a fair one on the south side, and a superb range in Talkeetna. In the rest of the state, it was mostly a matter of finding a quiet place in the woods where a hiker wouldnít walk downrange. Alaska Tactical has a private range in Sutton that is quite nice, but only available for their classes. Near there, you can also find an old mining area that is sort of an unofficial shooting range. And in the Butte area of Palmer, off Maud Road, is a new range that the state put in. Itís probably the most visually striking shooting range in the world, though a couple of spots in Switzerland could compete.


You canít have ammo delivered to your door in Alaska. The prices in gun shops are on par with the rest of the country, but the selection is often more limited. Anywhere you go, youíll see a lot more 10mm and .300 Win Mag than you are accustomed to.


While Alaska is a very pro-gun culture, it is not a gunfighter culture like Arizona. There are fewer people carrying concealed guns in Alaska than in Texas, despite owning more guns.


The great difficulty with Alaska is the distance. It usually took three flights and 10+ hours to go anywhere. Flying to Europe will easily push you over 20 hours. Just getting to Phoenix meant flying out at 2 a.m. (most of the Anchorage flights leave in the middle of the night), stopping in Seattle, and arriving for lunch. Despite having lots of friends who wanted to hunt and fish, very few people ever actually made the trip up to visit. It was just too far.


Alaska is also a theologically dark place. Itís obvious that it isnít part of the Bible Belt, but I was still surprised and disappointed by the extent to which the churches in Alaska had caved to the culture. They were all about flying rainbow flags and watering down any part of the Scripture that someone found offensive. My wife and I visited church after church, and never managed to attend more than three sermons before scratching it off our list.


Alaska is not the place to find a wife. Youíll find a very small number of attractive women, and the odds are high that theyíve done more business than Big Nose Kate. Iíd also say itís not the place to meet a husband. The old saying in Alaska for women is, ďThe odds are good, but the goods are odd.Ē Iím glad that I captured my little Georgia peach before I left the south. I doubt there is anywhere in the world that is better for finding a bride than Athens, Georgia.


Alaska has a few flaws, but all in all it is an amazing place to live. One thing that gives me pause about Alaska is that it has a very small population, which means that an influx from another region could quickly shift the tide. The people who move to Alaska tend to be young and mostly from the westóprimarily Washington and Oregon. The politics of young people from the PNW slants decidedly left. There is a chance that Alaska could go blue if there were a sudden wave of immigration.
I hope that all of those oddly subjective evaluations helps put some flesh on the bones of city-data that just gives you the median home prices, crime index, and jobs growth forecast. Alaska is a great place to live. Even Anchorage, about which people will joke that, ďItís as close to Alaska as you can get without quite being there,Ē is an awesome place. Iím not a big city guy, but Anchorage is a city that I could live in.


Iíll come back later and do Texas.

LawDog
06-07-2022, 03:39 PM
Texas
My wife doesnít like it when I describe Texas as flat, hot, and ugly. But Iím not wrong. I tease Texans about how small their state is, but in reality I know that it is huge. This place is sprawling. When I drive back to Georgia to see family, half of the drive is just getting out of Texas.

Over the last 40 years, this place has grown into something very different than the old west. I was here 20-something years ago, and I saw the empty stretches. When you left Dallas, there was nothing until Waco. Then more nothing until Austin. Then more nothing until San Antonio. Today, every inch of space along I-35 is jam-packed with businesses of every stripe. Texas has built a culture of commerce. Itís good for business, but bad for the view. (Not that it was much of a view to begin with.)

The Texas business strategy is poaching. We go to California or Illinois or wherever, and promise those companies a tax-free decade if they relocate to Texas. Itís good for them and for us. If it leaves New York without a tax base, wellÖ.thatís New Yorkís problem.
Business here is indeed good. We are growing on every front. The taxation and regulation that a business faces here will be far less than they would face just about anywhere else. Austin is becoming the new tech hub, and will soon be truly competitive with Silicon Valley. Dallas is optimally situated for distribution and there are a multitude of places around the state that are great spots to set up manufacturing.

There is no income tax. There is a state sales tax of over 8%, and they assess it on everything. Even if you buy a car used from an individual, the state wants their 8% cut. Property tax is exorbitant. I pay five times as much for property taxes here as I did in Alaska, for a house that I like a lot less.

Automobiles require an annual inspection. Itís cheap ($15?) and relatively easy, but requires some time to complete and Iím not convinced it actually does anything to improve safety.

There are toll roads everywhere. Not like the northeast, but way more than anywhere else in the south.

There are very few outdoor recreational spots. The nearest ďnature trailĒ is a half-hour drive away, and it is really just an asphalt strip along a waterway, that isnít far enough removed from the road to not be blasted by automobile noise. The small number of hiking trails are over-used, so it doesnít really feel like you are getting away from people. Plus they are so short that youíd have to walk them three times to call it a real hike.

When Texas broke from Mexico, they wanted to join the U.S. But the U.S. was fearful that accepting Texas would just spark a war with Mexico, so the offer was rejected. Texas then struggled through some very difficult years. Martin Van Buren then became president, elected largely on the idea of Manifest Destiny, and he wanted Texas in the Union. By that point, though, Texas no longer needed U.S. protection and was still a bit pissed about the prior rejection. So Texas played hard-to-get. Every other state that had entered the Union (beginning with the first 13) had made concessions of land to the federal government. Texas refused to do so. The legacy of that decision today is that we have virtually zero park land. Everything is in private ownership.

If you want to go hunting in Texas, you will do so on private land. So you either need a rich friend who owns land or you are going to pony up several thousand dollars each year in order to take one or two tiny little Texas whitetails. People around me drive for an hour and pay $20/day to go mountain biking. The extreme shortage of outdoor recreation sites is glaringly obvious to anyone who has lived elsewhere, but the Texans all just think that this is normal.

While business isnít over-regulated, the people are. We have 43 law enforcement agencies operating in my county. In addition to the one Sheriff, we have four constables (who are all classified as ďchief LEOsĒ), over a dozen municipal police departments, DPS highway, DPS Rangers, cattle cops, and a bunch of others that I canít even remember. We have cops everywhere. And it apparently takes at least four of them to conduct a DWI investigation. They all have the newest, shiniest Tahoes or Explorers. Because of the way the agencies are divided and spread around, I havenít been able to come up with an estimate for how much money this county spends on law enforcement, but itís a lot.

The churches here are strong. There are still plenty of rainbow-flag-waving churches in the big cities, but you donít have to go far to find a true, Bible-teaching church in Texas.

Texas barbecue is the best in the world. I grew up on Carolina-style barbecue and I though it was greatÖ.until I tried Texas brisket. Oklahoma City has got nothing on this place. Barbecue here is an art. They have also elevated tacos to new gastronomic heights. And the beer is superb, too.

Texas is not a coffee culture. You can find a Starbucks anywhere, but if you want legitimately good coffee, youíll have to roast your own beans. They drink caffeinated swill here because they donít know any better.

The gun laws are harsh. In Texas, if a business posts a no-guns sign on the door, it actually has the effect of law. In many states, itís basically a suggestion. If you get caught with a gun, they can ask you to leave, and if you donít then you are committing trespass, but they couldnít actually prosecute you for carrying a gun into an ice cream parlor. In Texas, they can.

If you dare to carry a gun into a bar, itís a felony offense with a minimum penalty of 180 days of jail. (Caveat: Iíve learned that in Texas, when they specify a minimum jail term, they donít actually mean it.) In Alaskaóif you got caughtóyou would do one night in jail, lose your pistol, and probably get it wiped off your record. In Texas, you become a felon.

I am fortunate to live about an hour drive away from a truly superb shooting facility: the Reveille Peak Range. But itís not cheap and itís not that close. It also didnít open until shortly after I moved here. There are a number of bad shooting ranges in my area, and a few good ones. Most of the ranges around here are suitable for sighting in a rifle, but little more than that. The only way to practice dynamic movement at most of them is to join one of the competitive shooting clubs. If you are shooting IPSC or IDPA, then you are allowed to draw your gun before shooting, and fire more than one round per second. It takes some searching to find a range that isnít for Fudds.

You can find any gun you want down here, and the used market is robust. No stupid rules on face-to-face transactions.

Overall, Texas is a good place to run a business and make some money. But this place doesnít make me want to retire here. I also donít want to buy any more property, because I donít want to pay more in taxes.

Gabriel Suarez
06-07-2022, 05:20 PM
I have travelled all over the USA. Many places I simply do not care for and would choose to live in Mexico before living in those places. I don't care for Christian Taliban either and I like to hang out at night clubs and bars on occasion. And when I go to a pool party I like to see ladies in scant bikinis and not in "swimming dresses" from the 1890s. I like to be out in the back country alone for days...but I also enjoy attending black tie events with a Walther PPK in my cumberbund. AZ is a Gunfighter's State, and as free as I have seen anywhere. No place will be heaven on earth...but AZ has a great deal to offer. In two hours I can be in a pristine covered pine forest...alone, or in a desert landscape. I can drive around all day long with an assault rifle on my lap...legally, and if one forgets to obey the sign, its not a big deal either. Taxes are low...even property tax which is where Texas shoves it in like a prison ass rape. I like AZ...and I have no reason to consider elsewhere.

Red Ryder
06-07-2022, 05:40 PM
I have travelled all over the USA. Many places I simply do not care for and would choose to live in Mexico before living in those places. I don't care for Christian Taliban either and I like to hang out at night clubs and bars on occasion. And when I go to a pool party I like to see ladies in scant bikinis and not in "swimming dresses" from the 1890s. I like to be out in the back country alone for days...but I also enjoy attending black tie events with a Walther PPK in my cumberbund. AZ is a Gunfighter's State, and as free as I have seen anywhere. No place will be heaven on earth...but AZ has a great deal to offer. In two hours I can be in a pristine covered pine forest...alone, or in a desert landscape. I can drive around all day long with an assault rifle on my lap...legally, and if one forgets to obey the sign, its not a big deal either. Taxes are low...even property tax which is where Texas shoves it in like a prison ass rape. I like AZ...and I have no reason to consider elsewhere.

Thanks to your consistent arguments, Gabe, I now reside in the best state in the union as well.

Picked up 2 suppressors today from my very friendly local gun shop.

Got pulled over for a "California stop" and the officer asked if I had any weapons. I said "yes, right there" indicating the holster mounted to my transmission hub under a ball cap. He said "where?" and I lifted the cap. I asked if he needed me to do anything and he smiled and said "No, it's Arizona" and then let me off with a warning.

Had friends from California out for a party and they could not believe the house we bought for the cost of a lean-to on the west coast. Over 5,000 square feet and property tax is just over $5k a year, a quarter of what I paid in California.

My office manager came to visit and I offered her $100 for every homeless person she saw in Gilbert. After a week, she left empty-handed. On my last visit to San Jose, I drove from my son's house to my office and told her "you owe me $14,000 for the homeless I saw today alone!". No joke. Encampments everywhere.

We are fortunate to be in a great, gated neighborhood in a very conservative town with strong police support. Little to no crime, no graffiti, no punks disrespecting adults. The strong LDS community keeps things orderly and their kids are well-behaved.

Took another left coast friend to the indoor range and shot full-auto suppressed to his amusement. He asked "what would happen if we did this in California?". I told him we would have faced a SWAT team to get to the car if they let us out of the building. You don't know what free is until you relax what you have given up voluntarily over time. Every visit back to California makes me feel claustrophobic.

Scottsdale has more good restaurants than San Francisco.

There is NO paid parking in Gilbert, it is all free everywhere.

We have every professional sport represented and Phoenix International Raceway for NASCAR fans.

Concerts, art, lakes for paddle boarding and Constitutional carry for all.

I AM STAYING PUT IN AZ.

Greg Nichols
06-07-2022, 05:49 PM
The same goes here in Chandler Red. Not feeling the need for anywhere else.

SEANSTRAIT
06-07-2022, 05:56 PM
Love the write ups Lawdog, very interesting perspective, and I agree that there is nothing better than Texas brisket!

we lived in Texas for several years and love it. I know multiple people who got moved on orders to Alaska and transferred from active duty to the reserves so they didnít have to leave.

For us, we are settled in Arizona and Prescott specifically, itís an absolutely stunning place to live.

IANative
06-07-2022, 06:52 PM
Texas
If you want to go hunting in Texas, you will do so on private land.

Lived down there for a dozen years. Can't argue w/ anything you say, other than the fact you left out that it's hotter 'n hell, but FWIW, there are quite a few public hunting opportunities on the Corps of Engineers land around the many lakes and reservoirs in TX... the eastern part of TX, anyway. Yes, they get hunted a lot. Yes, you have to deal with some lower life forms- it's best to hunt w/ a buddy. But in the dozen years I lived down there, I managed to put a couple of deer, a couple of pigs, a couple of turkeys and quite a few ducks in the freezer most years off the Corps land around Lake Whitney. And the fishing was great, too.

LawDog
06-07-2022, 07:50 PM
there are quite a few public hunting opportunities on the Corps of Engineers land.I just recently learned about the Corps of Engineers land. I plan to learn more about it.

IANative
06-07-2022, 07:59 PM
I just recently learned about the Corps of Engineers land. I plan to learn more about it.

Bowhunting only for deer and pigs... but that's the way I like it.

Papa
06-08-2022, 07:58 AM
Just a couple of notes.

The Alaska I saw 30 years ago was paradise. Fishing for halibut out of Homer, hiking in the Kenai, meeting a moose face to face, facing down a sick and hungry bear with my firstborn backing me. Soldotna before the Kmart.
Why haven't I gone back since? Life got in the way.

Texas--San Antone, Ft Hood, Kileen, El Paso, Fredericksburg. I like San Antone, or did 8 years ago, the river walk and some fine Mex restaurants like La Paloma, but wouldn't like living there. I do like heat and weather that can change in a heartbeat. But I'm used to not seeing my neighbors, or being able to see them coming a ways off. And that means owning more land than I can afford in Texas.

Gabriel Suarez
06-08-2022, 08:22 AM
And that means owning more land than I can afford in Texas.

And the prison-rape property tax is excessive. Tax on my place in AZ would exceed $40K per year. And I have no desire to have cow shit all over my property to prevent that so I discounted Texas straight away. And yeah...I know...Texans will remind us that there is no state income tax...Bravo-Foxtrot-Delta. I have never paid anywhere near that in income tax.

LawDog
06-08-2022, 11:26 AM
I have never paid anywhere near that in income tax.I know you've already got your pirate lawyer. Do you have a pirate accountant? An interesting add-on to a class would be a half-day of classroom instruction (in a close-the-blinds-and-leave-your-cellphone-in-the-next-room style) that teaches people how to set-up a side business, maximize deductions, and plan for tax avoidance (not evasion).

I'll always be a criminal lawyer, but I find tax law intriguing. There is no morality to it; it's just Monopoly rules, and you play to win. In law school, the advanced track that I took was focused on business formation and taxation. (At the time, I thought that I didn't want to be a criminal lawyer.) Part of why I shifted away from it, though, was my tax professor leading with the comment that I had the most aggressive tax strategies he had ever seen (which I took as a compliment), followed by the warning that if I used them in practice I would end up in an orange jumpsuit (which is a warning that I heeded). While I still want to avoid prison, I'm willing to pay penalties and interest occasionally if it balances out in my favor in the long run.

The quickest way for most people to increase their bottom line is to reduce their tax burden. And the tools to do so are somewhat of a hidden art.

Dorkface
06-08-2022, 11:32 AM
Texas is something like 95% private land. Out west we are... spoiled? by tons and tons of public lands that host everything from hardcore off road trails to hiking and biking paths. Texas has some off road parks like Palo Duro Canyon but nothing like Colorado, Utah, Arizona or anywhere west. I think its a big part of why in the summer it seems like everyone in Texas leaves and goes to other states. I have read that Texas has passed some stuff to reduce tax burdens on "homesteads" but even homesteads require yearly form filings and only applies up to 20 acres. I have also heard that the Texas state government wants to do something to reduce property taxes even more due to the boom in Texas. They only meet every two years so its going to be while from what I have read.

Gabriel Suarez
06-08-2022, 11:46 AM
The quickest way for most people to increase their bottom line is to reduce their tax burden. And the tools to do so are somewhat of a hidden art.

That is indeed a high art. Alas, never to be discussed in public. The gov will spend more trying to fuck you out of a few dollars than they spent to find OBL.

Oscar01
06-08-2022, 02:18 PM
Scottsdale has more good restaurants than San Francisco.


Quite true but don't you miss the nightlife "culture" of SF? LOL last time I walked around the bay area was 08 and no plans to "experience" the current SF.


Alaska is an incredible state but the sunlight hours. It does feel apocalyptic wandering around at midnight during summer...


It's been two years since I moved to Prescott and only thing I would have done different is moved here sooner. Next time I move, it'll be near-by but with more land.

Oscar01
06-08-2022, 02:25 PM
That is indeed a high art. Alas, never to be discussed in public. The gov will spend more trying to fuck you out of a few dollars than they spent to find OBL.


Ain't that the truth. Forget to report something and the IRS catches it immediately.


If only the IRS handled Form4s, we might get our suppressors in a few days instead of a year.

henri
06-08-2022, 06:39 PM
I've lived in multiple states over the past several years, from New England to California, school, residency, fellowship, setting up health centers, labs, and finally settling in Florida. I don't miss the seasons, despise cold weather, don't care about the 'mountains', and need to be on the ocean. Given the gun and tax laws, oceanfront living, I've found my nirvana.

Gabriel Suarez
06-08-2022, 06:49 PM
Florida was my second choice and if I was single would have considered it. I like the beach and watching the bikinis. Shield Maiden had enough of natural disasters in CA after the 94 earthquake that leveled our house...with us in it. So...AZ was just as good and I do like the access to disappear into the back country.

Brent Yamamoto
06-09-2022, 08:30 AM
Edit to add - if Brent Y. cares to comment, he probably has much better insight on the situation in the urban center of this state. My point of view is based more in hickville, FWIW.

Insight...

Don't move here.

Papa
06-09-2022, 10:02 AM
Insight...

Don't move here.

This. Took us almost a decade to find our place. I love it there. At times I hear only the wind rustling in the trees and I thank God for allowing a glimpse of Heaven. And it's where I intended to run out the time remaining to me. But when the XO retires, we're gone. Lawlessness, the dictatorship of the proletariat and the elite, population and tax pressure.

Washingtonians have s*** their own bed and set it afire. They can fry in it.

Brent Yamamoto
06-09-2022, 10:29 AM
This. Took us almost a decade to find our place. I love it there. At times I hear only the wind rustling in the trees and I thank God for allowing a glimpse of Heaven. And it's where I intended to run out the time remaining to me. But when the XO retires, we're gone. Lawlessness, the dictatorship of the proletariat and the elite, population and tax pressure.

Washingtonians have s*** their own bed and set it afire. They can fry in it.

Pretty much.

I have many other thoughts along these lines but...some things are best left unsaid.


Yondering hit the highlights very well, both good and bad.

Western Washington is one of the most beautiful places on earth. People like to bitch about the rain, and yes it's grey for a good share of the year, but it's not that bad. It is a remarkably mild climate...unlike so many other places, it's very rare that the weather will kill you (mountains being the exception of course).

There is a testosterone deficit here. It's really easy to be the toughest guy in the room...which is a really low bar. The weakest wolf is still a lot more capable than the toughest sheep.

Of course, there are too many soft Americans all over the country...but of the many places I have been, this place is really outstanding - in a really not good way.

Even knowing what I know, I was surprised just how receptive the population here was not only willing but EAGER to comply with authoritarianism. And I'm a cynical guy about that kind of thing. Expectations exceeded - in an extraordinary bad way.


Most of the areas I frequent, the population is milk toast. I avoid Seattle for the most part, but every time I go through there I notice more and more decline. It's a shame, it was once a beautiful city...and it still is from far away. Start looking under the hood though and you see the natural progression of communism. Greater crime, homelessness out of control, corruption...

Again...some things best left unsaid.

Oscar01
06-09-2022, 10:53 AM
Well if the two of you ever decide to relocate to Arizona, we'd be lucky to have you. The crime-scene is somewhat lacking out here though...

stankasz1
06-09-2022, 01:06 PM
Pretty much.

I have many other thoughts along these lines but...some things are best left unsaid.


Yondering hit the highlights very well, both good and bad.

Western Washington is one of the most beautiful places on earth. People like to bitch about the rain, and yes it's grey for a good share of the year, but it's not that bad. It is a remarkably mild climate...unlike so many other places, it's very rare that the weather will kill you (mountains being the exception of course).

There is a testosterone deficit here. It's really easy to be the toughest guy in the room...which is a really low bar. The weakest wolf is still a lot more capable than the toughest sheep.

Of course, there are too many soft Americans all over the country...but of the many places I have been, this place is really outstanding - in a really not good way.

Even knowing what I know, I was surprised just how receptive the population here was not only willing but EAGER to comply with authoritarianism. And I'm a cynical guy about that kind of thing. Expectations exceeded - in an extraordinary bad way.


Most of the areas I frequent, the population is milk toast. I avoid Seattle for the most part, but every time I go through there I notice more and more decline. It's a shame, it was once a beautiful city...and it still is from far away. Start looking under the hood though and you see the natural progression of communism. Greater crime, homelessness out of control, corruption...

Again...some things best left unsaid.

I second this. Stay away from what has turned into a social/authoritarian/spiritual shithole.

IANative
06-09-2022, 02:12 PM
Nothing to see here in Iowa. Just move along, please...



Seriously, I like it rural and remote, love growing my own food and catching my own fish, and I don't particularly care for most people, so I don't want to see a bunch of folks moving here. However, the Republican-dominated state capitol in recent years has made huge strides in correcting the past, lib infringements on individual liberties (personal and corporate tax relief, pro-2A legislation, reining in public education overreach, budget cuts, etc.), and efforts like that tend to get rewarded by attracting new business and new residents.

Federal representation is Republican for 3/4 US Reps and both US Senators, and rumor has it even the fourth US House district could flip to R this year.

Urban areas are few and small- Des Moines is the state capitol and largest city, with a population of just over 200k. There are only two other cities w/ populations of 100k or more. Liberal lunacy is largely concentrated in those few larger cities and public university towns. Most of the rest of the state is rural, agricultural and conservative, with some manufacturing prevalent along the eastern (Mississippi River) and western (Missouri River) boundaries.

We have big deer in the east and south, excellent bird hunting in the west and north, with great fishing and fertile soil everywhere in between. We have no feral hogs and very few poisonous snakes. Land ownership is mostly private- think FARMS- with a lot of competition for good hunting spots on public land. The DNR is trying to offset that thru IHAP, a program in which the state pays landowners to set aside portions of their properties for public access. The DNR then manages those properties for the benefit of wildlife and those who hunt them. Alas, we're starting to see the TX mindset of leasing hunting property take root up here. The winters can be challenging for those averse to cold weather, but I hate temps over 85 anyway and love the wintertime hunting seasons.

HeavySmoke
06-09-2022, 05:17 PM
I grew up in northeast Texas. Still own about 400 acres there but unimproved so my property tax is very low. Only improvement is a range we built a decade ago. After I hung up the badge and went civilian in Oklahoma( don't ever even visit I hate that shithole of a RINO state) I was transferred to central Texas with my job. I hate living close to Austin which is full of faggots, liberals, commies and other assorted shitheads in the spirit of keeping Austin weird. I was lucky enough to find a house in the far northwest suburbs to not be surrounded by fuckery. Arizona would have been my preference. Especially after seeing my property tax bill.

Greg Nichols
06-09-2022, 05:21 PM
Iowa sucks

45Smashemflat
06-09-2022, 06:57 PM
Georgia is not too bad. Stay away from ATL and Savannah. Easy gun laws, relatively decent tax laws.

paranoid
06-10-2022, 06:35 PM
I know you've already got your pirate lawyer. Do you have a pirate accountant? An interesting add-on to a class would be a half-day of classroom instruction (in a close-the-blinds-and-leave-your-cellphone-in-the-next-room style) that teaches people how to set-up a side business, maximize deductions, and plan for tax avoidance (not evasion).

I'll always be a criminal lawyer, but I find tax law intriguing. There is no morality to it; it's just Monopoly rules, and you play to win. In law school, the advanced track that I took was focused on business formation and taxation. (At the time, I thought that I didn't want to be a criminal lawyer.) Part of why I shifted away from it, though, was my tax professor leading with the comment that I had the most aggressive tax strategies he had ever seen (which I took as a compliment), followed by the warning that if I used them in practice I would end up in an orange jumpsuit (which is a warning that I heeded). While I still want to avoid prison, I'm willing to pay penalties and interest occasionally if it balances out in my favor in the long run.

The quickest way for most people to increase their bottom line is to reduce their tax burden. And the tools to do so are somewhat of a hidden art.

Where/how do you find one these dark arts tax persons?

Papa
06-10-2022, 07:15 PM
Where/how do you find one these dark arts tax persons?

Little Italy.

Greg Nichols
06-10-2022, 07:54 PM
Little Italy.

Racist

Papa
06-10-2022, 08:25 PM
Racist

Vai a farti fottere!

Ghost1976
06-10-2022, 08:40 PM
Illinois

Well, this will be obvious for most people here, but on the off chance there's someone lurking who is not familiar with the shit-hole known as Illinois...

Don't move here, don't live here, don't visit here. It sucks. Just about everywhere, it sucks. The laws suck, the people suck, the climate sucks, the roads suck, the landscape sucks, the prices (of everything) sucks, the taxes suck. Illinois has more primal suckage than a black hole.

I'm working on leaving, getting plans made and money saved. I may have to put a little extra aside for hypnotherapy to forget I ever lived in this godforsaken hell hole.

I've been looking for a very specific type of place to live, and Alaska is looking like a very high candidate. I love cold weather and snow. I don't care about long dark winters - that's why god invented full spectrum light bulbs and Ott Light Boxes. I want snowy winters - the more snow the better because I don't mind driving in it or shoveling it. When I'm done shoveling it here, I shovel out my neighbors just for fun and then build snowmen (plural) out of it. Seriously. Me with snow is like a child with Play-Doh. I've never liked hot weather, and I hate hot humid weather even more so. So ideally I'm trying to find a place that's conservative, mainly (very predominantly) white people with the fewest minorities as possible (if you ever lived in northern IL, this would be high on your list too, trust me!), with cold snowy winters and cool summers (60 to 70 degrees tops).

I've been looking at Valdez, AK. It averages 300+ inches of snow a year and summers are very cool, usually on in the 60's.

:yahoo:

There are really only two issues I have with Alaska that concern me, and I'm hoping Lawdog or anyone else living there can give me a heads up on. First, something Lawdog wrote:


99% of the land in Alaska is owned by some level of government, leaving 1% in private commerce.

That concerns me. For example, can I carry my weapon in that 99% of land that the government owns? If not, it's no better than the shithole known as Illinois, where (if you're an idiot LAGO), you might as well not get a concealed carry because you can't go anywhere with it, for all practical purposes. Other than from your home to your car. I suppose one could say that it doesn't matter since I can ignore stupid things like red "no gun" stickers (or as it might be in Alaska, no gun signs) just as easily as I currently do in Illinois (unless I have to go through a metal detector, I am armed regardless of any window stickers or other bullshit). But I prefer not to have to endure such idiotic laws in the first place.

The second concern is food. I don't eat junk - I eat clean, organic, good food. No crap, no preservatives, etc. And while that's easy to do here in Illinois where there's a Whole Foods everywhere, and other food stores that carry organic and fresh food, some small places like Valdez seem to be very limited in that regard.

I've also been considering the Upper peninsula in Michigan but the state politics there make it sort of like jumping from one frying pan into another. Same for northern Wisconsin.

So, any thoughts or suggestions?

Greg Nichols
06-10-2022, 10:31 PM
Vai a farti fottere!

mangia un cazzo

Papa
06-11-2022, 04:53 AM
mangia un cazzo

Va fangool!

Rambotito
06-11-2022, 07:02 AM
Illinois

Well, this will be obvious for most people here, but on the off chance there's someone lurking who is not familiar with the shit-hole known as Illinois...

Don't move here, don't live here, don't visit here. It sucks. Just about everywhere, it sucks. The laws suck, the people suck, the climate sucks, the roads suck, the landscape sucks, the prices (of everything) sucks, the taxes suck. Illinois has more primal suckage than a black hole.




I second this. Illinois sucks - think all the worst parts of living in the Midwest (weather extremes, lack of scenery, etc.) plus bad laws and taxes from California/NY. If you are unfortunate to be in Chicago or any campus town (Urbana-Champaign), it just sucks more!

Oscar01
06-11-2022, 09:28 AM
So, any thoughts or suggestions?


Have you checked out Idaho?


It was on my list. And like you, good food was a consideration which ruled out Wyoming for me. Beautiful state and seems very red but I don't believe they even have a Sprouts or Vitamin Cottage.


While there are places in Colorado that fit your wants, Denver politics is rapidly turning Colorado into Nuevo California. It's been happening for awhile but has really accelerated in the past few years.

Dorkface
06-11-2022, 09:41 AM
Yeah Colorado use to be amazeballs but it sucks now. Soooooo many commies moving here and ruining it. Its why so many are fleeing or preparing to flee. Water is also becoming a huge issue with so many moving here. Looking at some water utility maps and its easy to see that knocking out only a couple supply lines would bring the metro area too its knees.

UNO
06-12-2022, 01:28 AM
I chose Missouri.

Laws: The state is very pro gun. NFA is restricted on a federal level, not moreso. Concealed carry without permit as it is a constitutional carry state. Castle doctrine. I do miss lethal force in defense of property though. Texas had that. Local LE leave you alone, by and large where I settled, as well. People solve their own problems, LE just writes it up and tags toes. Very very low LE presence.

Economics: Land is very affordable, as are houses.I have 13 acres on a kayakable spring fed year round creek, and a nice 1600sf 2 story house in excellent repair. It cost $250k. Taxes on it run me about $1400/year. Sadly automotive tax is a thing. My car costs around $500/year in taxes.

Lots and lots of other reasons, mostly personal. I like snow for winter, I like green and hills and rivers that are clear, etc.

Knowledge
06-12-2022, 07:00 AM
Looking at some water utility maps and its easy to see that knocking out only a couple supply lines would bring the metro area too its knees.
That made me laugh out loud. All right Patton. Thumbs up.

LawDog
06-13-2022, 02:51 PM
Where/how do you find one these dark arts tax persons?
Start by looking for an accountant, then interview him. Explain that you don't want him to sign anything or file your tax return. You just want his knowledge and guidance. You want him to teach you how to answer the questions correctly for the second accountant who actually files your taxes.

CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant. What that means--certified and public--is that the accountant is certified to do things in a prescribed manner, according to the rules laid down by the powers-that-be. He would be ethically prohibited from teaching you how to recategorize expenses to make them deductible. He is just supposed to follow the rules. He's not supposed to tell you things like, "No, no. Don't call that office furniture, or you'll have to amortize it over several years. Just call it 'office supplies' and deduct it all this year."

If your accountant doesn't have to sign his name to anything, he's more likely to speak freely. But you still have to interview him to ensure that you're not hiring a boy scout.


Alaska is looking like a very high candidate.
I've been looking at Valdez, AK. It averages 300+ inches of snow a year and summers are very cool, usually on in the 60's.
There are really only two issues I have with Alaska that concern me, and I'm hoping Lawdog or anyone else living there can give me a heads up on. First, something Lawdog wrote:
That concerns me. For example, can I carry my weapon in that 99% of land that the government owns?

The second concern is food. I don't eat junk - I eat clean, organic, good food. No crap, no preservatives, etc. And while that's easy to do here in Illinois where there's a Whole Foods everywhere, and other food stores that carry organic and fresh food, some small places like Valdez seem to be very limited in that regard.To the first question: You can carry a gun just about everywhere in Alaska. You can't legally carry in a courthouse, jail, or the federal building. I specify "legally" because some of the outlying courthouses (including Valdez) don't have any security screening. I always carried a gun in the Valdez courthouse; I was just very discrete about it. On the BLM land and such, you can carry anything you want. When you go to Denali, you aren't supposed to carry a gun into the visitor's center, but you are allowed to carry throughout the rest of the park.

In Alaska, a 'No Guns' sign at a business does not have any legal force. If they discover that you have a gun, they can ask you to leave. If you refuse, you'd be guilty of trespassing. As long as you leave, there's no foul.

Valdez is a totally awesome town. Rather than squirrels, they have bunny rabbits all over town. I was once mobbed by a crew of rabbits when I was coming out of the Chinese restaurant. I'm pretty sure I could have taken them out, but I decided to just give them what they wanted. I handed over a portion of my leftovers and they were happy with that. The cops there are among the coolest and most squared away guys I've encountered. (And it takes something for cops to earn high praise from a defense lawyer.) If I didn't also have to consider my wife, I would very likely call Valdez home.

On the second question: the farther you get from Anchorage, the more difficult it will be to eat clean. The grocery store in Valdez is pretty good, but it's what you would expect from a small town in the middle of nowhere. Produce will be older by the time it arrives. As a plus, though, you'll be eating lots of the best, freshest salmon in the world. You'll be eating stuff that sells for $35/lb in Texas, and getting it basically for free (with a little sweat equity). In Anchorage, there is a Natural Pantry in midtown, which is roughly on par with Whole Foods (but amazingly still less expensive, even in Alaska).

apamburn
06-13-2022, 02:55 PM
I think Tennessee deserves an honorable mention.

We left Utah (which is a FANTASTIC place to live based on landscape, but not so much based on the ever-increasing influx of Californians) and moved to North Carolina which we found lacking in so many ways. But I think Tennessee will be our home.

I'm still relatively new here and can only comment on west Tennessee.

Taxes

As far as the whole state is concerned one big advantage is that there is no state income tax. The flip side of that coin is that the sales tax tends to be higher than other places - in our county it's about 10%.

Some counties also have very relaxed vehicle inspection and tax requirements. In Henderson County where I live we pay a $25 per wheel tax annually and no safety or emissions is required fore registration.

We don't have any of the absolutely insane property taxes that TX has. I was paying about $4k in property taxes on our $350k home in NC; here I pay about half that on a home I bought for $450k.

Cost of Living

Compared to most of the country the cost of living is fairly low though things have gotten more expensive. Unless you live in an urban area, everyone has a ton of land here compared to Utah or even where we lived in NC.

We purchased a custom built, Mediterranean style , 6 bed, 5000 sq ft home with 3 car garage, and detached 2 car garage plus finished out mother in law suite complete with its own bathroom and shower, on 2 acres, for $450k. It has a dedicated game room, french doors, a banquet room, a theater room, and 3 balconies.

It's now worth north of half a million dollars, but that's still a bargain compared to pretty much anywhere else. Other smaller, but executive-style homes in our neighborhood go for $300k - $400k.

Raw acreage can be had for incredibly cheap.

Aside from property pretty much everything is cheaper here than other places we have lived. If you make six figures, you're in the upper class for the area.

Entertainment, dining, and nightlife

All of that of course comes at a cost: a dearth of upscale activities and dining opportunities.

In our little town there are fast food joints and a few local restaurants. The fanciest of them is still still just basically a fried chicken / pork chop place. (In it's defense, the fried pork chops are really good).

Slightly better dining is had 30 minutes away where most of the mid-tier restaurants one might expect can be found: Olive Garden, Red Lobster, seafood and steak houses, and so forth.

But to get truly fine dining you really have to travel to Memphis or Nashville. 2 hours, either way. Not a deal breaker to me - but perhaps to some.

This exact same thing could be said for entertainment or night life. Virtually none of the above in our little town - "entertainment" is going out on the water with our boat or having a party in our in-ground pool.

30 minutes away we have access to community theater and simple entertainment.

Anything higher class than that and it's a 2 hour drive.

There are some upper-class events 30 minutes away - an annual black-and-white gala to support the local hospital, for example, which we have considered attending - but not many.

Here, usually upper class means a cowboy hat, some cowboy boots, and some fancy rhinestone jeans.

Culture

There are a lot people that have had very little exposure to other cultures. Education clearly hasn't always been the best out here. But there are three redeeming qualities that I absolutely adore about west TN.

(1) southern hospitality and grace. Nowhere I've ever lived - to include VA and NC - has the level of stereotypical southern hospitality, grace, and warm friendliness, as I've found in west TN. The "ma'ams" and "sirs" are as thick as the accent and the old ladies sweeter than the tea they offer you.

(2) defiance. I very quickly found a group of like minded people here. There is a cultural thread of defiance to tyranny and fierce independence that I think has been bred out of most of the United States. And this doesn't just apply to the federal government: the locals here aren't afraid to remind local and county politicians very directly that they serve at our leisure and that if they don't act right, they will suffer consequences - and I don't mean just at the voting booth.

(3) volunteerism. Everyone I meet it seems is involved in some sort of volunteer part of the emergency response system. People just remain engaged and help each other here in ways that, again, I suspect are lost in other parts of the nation, where everything is simply pawned off to government-paid actors.

Politics

West Tennessee is very conservative, though I know some parts of the state have left leaning folks in them. There has been an influx of people (like myself) but I think the distance from California has helped (we have met a few people from CA that were literally fleeing that state - one was my son's teacher. I liked her.)

However....there is some fudd-ish stupidity here.

I didn't see it until after the latest school shootings when people began spouting off about "AsSaUlT wEaPoNs" and I started hearing "well I own lots of guns but..."

Not often, not from everyone, but enough to raise the eyebrows a bit.

Environment / weather

The biggest downside is tornados, hands down. (well, to me). The weather out here gets really bad, really fast, and fairly often. If I remember from research, we have rain on more days than we do not here. That's a lot of rain.

The temps are fairly modest in the winters - little to no snow is usual - but the summers can be very hot and humid - like right now. Mid 90's and high humidity. I hate. HATE. Humidity.

---

All in all it's a decent place to live and raise one's family. This is especially the case for me as I work from home and can continue to do so as long as I have working internet. I knew that living here would require us to travel for entertainment and consider that a price I'm willing to pay for the environment I live in and for the other benefits we get from living here.

Another point - travel from here is actually fairly cheap. That's a bonus I didn't realize I would get when we moved here.

2 hrs to Nashville or Memphis of course; 8 hours to New Orleans, Dallas, and some other spots in the midwest, including Illinois (eww). 12 hrs to the east coast, Orlando, San Antonio, Corpus Christi.

Flights from Memphis or Nashville to almost anywhere in the nation are fairly cheap - I think we paid about $500 for tickets to Vegas for a July trip; I was just looking at Orlando tickets for $80 pp; and our flights to Jamaica earlier this year were reasonable as well, though I don't recall the exact price.

Dorkface
06-13-2022, 03:17 PM
That made me laugh out loud. All right Patton. Thumbs up.

I did a pretty in depth area study of the metro area and my side of it. I have it in a binder around here somewhere. As with most metro areas they don't have enough supplies to keep them going and have to bring it in. Knock out power, water and sewage and things get nasty fast. Phoenix has similar weaknesses even though they are suppose to have a 100 year water supply on hand, including growth projections, but are having trouble. The Chino Valley water district, where Prescott is, has their 100 year supply and has been stacking it deeper on top of that. This is all from information sources that are freely on the internet if you know where too look. Nation wide infrastructure at your finger tips with interactive maps...

Papa
06-13-2022, 07:52 PM
One way to tell you're likely in a red state:

63037

Oscar01
06-14-2022, 08:32 AM
I did a pretty in depth area study of the metro area and my side of it. I have it in a binder around here somewhere. As with most metro areas they don't have enough supplies to keep them going and have to bring it in. Knock out power, water and sewage and things get nasty fast. Phoenix has similar weaknesses even though they are suppose to have a 100 year water supply on hand, including growth projections, but are having trouble. The Chino Valley water district, where Prescott is, has their 100 year supply and has been stacking it deeper on top of that. This is all from information sources that are freely on the internet if you know where too look. Nation wide infrastructure at your finger tips with interactive maps...


Don't forget energy, economics, and politics (state and local trends). The left made serious inroads into Xcel Energy recently and I expect Colorado's energy future to be exactly the same as California's. I'm not sure if it's just with Xcel in Colorado or all of Xcel but management is driving out all the experienced workers and going woke. Xcel cutting energy production without a good replacement, what could go wrong?



One way to tell you're likely in a red state:



LOL.

First sign I saw driving into the Prescott area: "RUGER-NOW HIRING" not "Welcome to Prescott"

Papa
06-14-2022, 09:00 AM
MT

Grain of salt here. I get out to Montana four or five times a year, stay for a week or two, and return to purgatory. And I'm writing about Flathead County--Glacier Park, Kalispell, Libby, Polson and environs.

1. Climate--it's relatively cold for much of the year. Keeping your residence warm is gonna cost you. If you're out in the boonies, you'll likely use delivered propane, which means your road needs to be passable. You run out of propane in a snowstorm, you better have a wood stove. And wood. And it will snow heavily in the boonies a couple or three times a year. The average snowfall for Flathead County is 74 inches, roughly 3X the national average. Rainfall is 21 inches, roughly 1/2 the national average. But it rains like a bastard in the spring. You still get 150 or so sunny days. You wanna know more about the weather, look it up. Few Montana houses, especially in town, are properly built for Montana winters. I don't get it.

2. Critters--they have animals out here that will kill you if you f*** with them. Leave the bears, wolves. moose and cougar alone. The coyotes will take Fluffy off your front porch and will climb or tunnel under your fence to do it. The property I stay on is fenced well enough to keep bears, wolves, moose and deer out. There are no poisonous snakes in the immediate area. But spring sees an explosion of skeeters, and in the fall there are times when biting flies swarm.
Keep your own critters confined. Anything that remotely looks like a wolf will be trapped or shot by people in the name of livestock protection, who just happen to paid for this. Last week I saw moose, deer, coyote, elk, baldies, a golden, sandhill cranes, some white winged owly thing and actual bluebirds, as well as a dead woodpecker on the doorstep, an apparent suicide. All this was within 500 yards of the house. I did not see the grizzly that wanders through on occasion, or the "cinnamon" bear that's been challenging ATVers recently. I suspect he's been poached.

3. Politics--predominantly red. You get some annoying lefty asshats in Kalispell, mostly individuals rather than institutions. And Whitefish is hopelessly wealthy-woke. They are the only town in Flathead County that has a sales tax--2%. They effing deserve it.

4. Crime. There's a lot, or at least a lot of service calls, with a recent spike in violent crimes. The Sheriff's office is hard pressed, with three shifts in three different patrol areas in a 5,000+ square mile county. At any given time, there are three road deputies on duty. I can't address local agencies except that I know Kspell has its own cops. The Flathead County deputy I spoke to last week was working swings with two other deputies and had twelve calls holding "on the board." Better know how to carry your own water if you live there.

5. Taxes--property taxes are relatively low. There is no state sales tax. There is a state income tax, with a marginal rate of 6.9 % if you make over $18.4K. You can deduct up to $10K of your Federal taxes from your MT taxes for a married couple filing jointly.

6. Employment--Don't know and right now don't care.

7. Firearms--For residents, liberal in the true sense. Face to face sales are OK. Machine guns OK if federal requirements are met. No permit necessary to own or possess rifles, pistols, shotguns. Permitless concealed carry. Check their statutes for what restrictions apply to non-residents. No apparent magazine capacity restrictions or restrictions on semiautos. FWIW, it's unlawful to pack in a restaurant that derives 50% or more of its revenue from liquor sales.
As in previous trips to MT over the past 30 years or so, the selection of good used firearms, wood and steel, is quite limited. Gun show prices are a little high. Maybe folks are holding onto the good stuff and passing on to the next generations. What a concept!

8. General--Out of state plates will mark you as an outsider, particularly Washington, Oregon, California and the other usual suspects. If they find out you're from out of state, local residents and businesses may treat you badly, especially if you need work done. Or they'll treat you just fine. Luck of the draw. Some of this may have to do with the perception that non-residents are rich folks who need to be fleeced.
Montana drivers generally suck. Especially beware oncoming traffic that turns in front of you at speed to access a cross street or driveway. This appears to be a local custom, much resembles playing chicken, and is not reserved solely for non-residents.
Gas and diesel are expensive. Do not buy gas at the Marion service station or at Happy's, just down US 2, unless you like paying up to a buck more per gallon.

In closing--If you don't like Republicans, guns, cold weather, precipitation or large wild animals, don't go to Montana.

62-10
06-14-2022, 06:27 PM
I think Tennessee deserves an honorable mention.

We left Utah (which is a FANTASTIC place to live based on landscape, but not so much based on the ever-increasing influx of Californians) and moved to North Carolina which we found lacking in so many ways. But I think Tennessee will be our home.

I'm still relatively new here and can only comment on west Tennessee.

Taxes

As far as the whole state is concerned one big advantage is that there is no state income tax. The flip side of that coin is that the sales tax tends to be higher than other places - in our county it's about 10%.

Some counties also have very relaxed vehicle inspection and tax requirements. In Henderson County where I live we pay a $25 per wheel tax annually and no safety or emissions is required fore registration.

We don't have any of the absolutely insane property taxes that TX has. I was paying about $4k in property taxes on our $350k home in NC; here I pay about half that on a home I bought for $450k.

Cost of Living

Compared to most of the country the cost of living is fairly low though things have gotten more expensive. Unless you live in an urban area, everyone has a ton of land here compared to Utah or even where we lived in NC.

We purchased a custom built, Mediterranean style , 6 bed, 5000 sq ft home with 3 car garage, and detached 2 car garage plus finished out mother in law suite complete with its own bathroom and shower, on 2 acres, for $450k. It has a dedicated game room, french doors, a banquet room, a theater room, and 3 balconies.

It's now worth north of half a million dollars, but that's still a bargain compared to pretty much anywhere else. Other smaller, but executive-style homes in our neighborhood go for $300k - $400k.

Raw acreage can be had for incredibly cheap.

Aside from property pretty much everything is cheaper here than other places we have lived. If you make six figures, you're in the upper class for the area.

Entertainment, dining, and nightlife

All of that of course comes at a cost: a dearth of upscale activities and dining opportunities.

In our little town there are fast food joints and a few local restaurants. The fanciest of them is still still just basically a fried chicken / pork chop place. (In it's defense, the fried pork chops are really good).

Slightly better dining is had 30 minutes away where most of the mid-tier restaurants one might expect can be found: Olive Garden, Red Lobster, seafood and steak houses, and so forth.

But to get truly fine dining you really have to travel to Memphis or Nashville. 2 hours, either way. Not a deal breaker to me - but perhaps to some.

This exact same thing could be said for entertainment or night life. Virtually none of the above in our little town - "entertainment" is going out on the water with our boat or having a party in our in-ground pool.

30 minutes away we have access to community theater and simple entertainment.

Anything higher class than that and it's a 2 hour drive.

There are some upper-class events 30 minutes away - an annual black-and-white gala to support the local hospital, for example, which we have considered attending - but not many.

Here, usually upper class means a cowboy hat, some cowboy boots, and some fancy rhinestone jeans.

Culture

There are a lot people that have had very little exposure to other cultures. Education clearly hasn't always been the best out here. But there are three redeeming qualities that I absolutely adore about west TN.

(1) southern hospitality and grace. Nowhere I've ever lived - to include VA and NC - has the level of stereotypical southern hospitality, grace, and warm friendliness, as I've found in west TN. The "ma'ams" and "sirs" are as thick as the accent and the old ladies sweeter than the tea they offer you.

(2) defiance. I very quickly found a group of like minded people here. There is a cultural thread of defiance to tyranny and fierce independence that I think has been bred out of most of the United States. And this doesn't just apply to the federal government: the locals here aren't afraid to remind local and county politicians very directly that they serve at our leisure and that if they don't act right, they will suffer consequences - and I don't mean just at the voting booth.

(3) volunteerism. Everyone I meet it seems is involved in some sort of volunteer part of the emergency response system. People just remain engaged and help each other here in ways that, again, I suspect are lost in other parts of the nation, where everything is simply pawned off to government-paid actors.

Politics

West Tennessee is very conservative, though I know some parts of the state have left leaning folks in them. There has been an influx of people (like myself) but I think the distance from California has helped (we have met a few people from CA that were literally fleeing that state - one was my son's teacher. I liked her.)

However....there is some fudd-ish stupidity here.

I didn't see it until after the latest school shootings when people began spouting off about "AsSaUlT wEaPoNs" and I started hearing "well I own lots of guns but..."

Not often, not from everyone, but enough to raise the eyebrows a bit.

Environment / weather

The biggest downside is tornados, hands down. (well, to me). The weather out here gets really bad, really fast, and fairly often. If I remember from research, we have rain on more days than we do not here. That's a lot of rain.

The temps are fairly modest in the winters - little to no snow is usual - but the summers can be very hot and humid - like right now. Mid 90's and high humidity. I hate. HATE. Humidity.

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All in all it's a decent place to live and raise one's family. This is especially the case for me as I work from home and can continue to do so as long as I have working internet. I knew that living here would require us to travel for entertainment and consider that a price I'm willing to pay for the environment I live in and for the other benefits we get from living here.

Another point - travel from here is actually fairly cheap. That's a bonus I didn't realize I would get when we moved here.

2 hrs to Nashville or Memphis of course; 8 hours to New Orleans, Dallas, and some other spots in the midwest, including Illinois (eww). 12 hrs to the east coast, Orlando, San Antonio, Corpus Christi.

Flights from Memphis or Nashville to almost anywhere in the nation are fairly cheap - I think we paid about $500 for tickets to Vegas for a July trip; I was just looking at Orlando tickets for $80 pp; and our flights to Jamaica earlier this year were reasonable as well, though I don't recall the exact price.

It's been a looonng time since I've been to Memphis/Shelby County. That said, having been there once, no desire to return. The MPD Museum on Beale was the highlight for me, the ducks at the Peabody were cool, & Graceland is not to be missed. But to reside in that area? Not even a little bit interested.

Papa
06-15-2022, 07:13 AM
His dog should be scared. See my remarks under "Critters."

Ground squirrels and prairie dogs are a real problem for livestock and for, say, old guys who run and their dogs. A grass covered field or pasture may look like terra firma until you put your paw or sneaker into Chip and Dale's front door at speed.

For actual males, pony tails and sandals, unless Marco is wearing them, are indicative of a deep-seated mental disorder.

IANative
06-15-2022, 07:34 AM
Pony tails and sandals, unless Marco is wearing them, are indicative of a deep-seated mental disorder.

What is it about pony tails and sandals? We have them here in Iowa, too. Last summer, I was spraying for poisonous parsnip up by the gate at The Farm. Said pony-tail-and-sandal aficionado came pedaling by on his bicycle w/ a surprisingly cuter and younger female companion. I heard him from about 50 yards up the road, as he was yammering incessantly. As they came abreast of me, he made some negative comment to her about people "needing to kill every weed they see." (Fun fact- pony tailed sandal wearers are almost always tree-hugging Gaia worshipers, too.) My response was to highlight his ignorance, and the adjective "asshole" may or may not have been used. He then asked me, "What are you? Some kind of tough guy?" To which I replied with my own question, "Are you gonna get off that bike and find out, or do the smart thing and keep pedaling?"

She choked back a giggle and he pedaled.

Papa
06-15-2022, 07:40 AM
Here, let me help you off that bike.

chad newton
06-15-2022, 05:59 PM
Lol.... thatís why I take the 40, I always feel like Iím driving in Texas for two day. Tiny little place....

apamburn
06-16-2022, 07:28 AM
I just shook my head and kept shooting for a while. He didn't like it, but so what.

And that is precisely why the left can't stand people that exhibit rugged individualism - ESPECIALLY *armed* individualism.

Their ability to influence others ends at a frown and harsh words. For anything more, for people unfazed by such antics, they have to call someone else to come do it for them (i.e....the state).

That you point-blank refuse to play their game infuriates them.

The anger and hate of the self-emasculated....

Vlad the Impaler
06-16-2022, 10:12 AM
Iowa has been written about but let me add a couple of things:

WEATHER

The weather here is tolerable but I hate winter. Hot, humid summer and if it is a wet spring you will have voracious mosquitoes. Cold and snow in the winter is terrible and the average Iowan-a bad driver to begin with-completely forgets how to drive and goes in the ditch the first snowfall of every year. As an added bonus, you get blizzards, derechos and tornadoes.

POPULATION

Population is not that bad. You can easily live in rural Iowa and be surrounded by nobody. Most rural cops can be cool if you are a local because you don't get re-elected by harassing the population over trivial shit. The California transfers I've run into here have been cool. They came here for better housing prices and because CA is a shitshow. Iowa City is a leftist hellhole, avoid it. Ames is nice. If you go to Ames, make sure to stop into Welch Avenue Station and say hello to my student loan money. The Decorah area in NE Iowa has some great fly fishing. Deer hunting is great in Southern Iowa and Ted Nugent and Bo Jackson have both been known to traipse through the state during hunting season.

FOOD

Everyone knows somebody that is a farmer. You can get fresh fruit, vegetables and meat from your local farmer's market or if you work something out with your farmer friends. As far as in town goes, Des Moines punches WAY above its weight class in the restaurant scene. Some really, really good restaurants here and they are horribly underrated.

POLITICS

Western Iowa is one of the safest R seats in the country. Des Moines is liberal but not insanely so and the town money people tend to keep the insane leftists in line or isolate them entirely. The governor and legislature are conservative and the governor is being talked about for a VP slot in 2024 because of her record. The legislature is more moderate but the governor intervened in the primaries and got four mods ousted so things are looking up. Iowa is also a constitutional carry state and just eliminated the need for a CC license although having one makes things go a lot smoother. Because the legislature is more conservative, Iowa doesn't have some of the petty nuisances that leftist states have.

THE BAD

Crime is going up from the influx of Chicago/Detroit trash and illegals but it is comparatively low.

Some winters seem never ending. The people are generally cool but I don't interact with or relate to a lot of them. Also, bikers. Bikers are EVERYWHERE. They talk about biking. Hang out with other bikers and bike with them and have bikes that cost more than some cars. They are annoying.

Taxes. Iowa taxes everything under the sun. Property taxes, sales tax, income tax. Vehicle registration fees are out of hand as well.

Law enforcement in populated areas. Des Moines has some of the fattest, laziest, most useless police officers I've dealt with and they hate it when you criticize them. Ames and Iowa City partially fund their cities by issuing parking tickets so the parking Gestapo is relentless in Ames and Iowa City.

There are some good gun places but there are a lot of Fudds. Not much good for combatives training as everyone and their dog is in a BJJ McDojo. Hardly any good gun trainers. Gun shows are plentiful for the area but a good chunk of the vendors are fat (and almost all of the political booths are populated by the grossly overweight "activists"). I blame the winters because we can't really train outside for 4-5 months so if you are someone like Gabe, that kind of kills a good chunk of your income.

Overall, take it or leave it.

Gabriel Suarez
06-16-2022, 11:45 AM
I think at this point we all realize that there is no Great Wall that keep commies out. They have metastasized all over the country. So the only thing to do is pick a place with a culture that fits you.