Retirement Gypsies, Idaho

Many retirees have fled California for the “potato” state of Idaho. As I had discussed previously, the government of the District of Columbia publishes a study comparing the total tax ramifications for the largest city in each state. They take into account such items as: state tax, sales tax, gas tax, tobacco tax, income taxes and property tax. It then ranks each state by the highest overall taxes paid to the least. On page 18 of the 2011 study, the estimated percentage burden, of major taxes, for a hypothetical family of three making $75,000, was 8.8% in Boise, Idaho. To give you a comparison, the highest city and State was Bridgeport, Connecticut with a total tax burden for the same family at 21.5%. The lowest was Cheyenne, Wyoming at 3.1%. This placed Boise, Idaho at the 31st highest tax burden state. Not bad.

Idaho does have income, sales/use tax and property taxes. Generally, all income received by an Idaho resident, regardless of the source, is subject to Idaho income tax.  Idaho does not tax social security benefits, benefits paid by the Railroad Retirement Board or Canadian social security benefits (OAS or CPP). 

 Taxes aside, I made my first stop in Twin Falls, Idaho. Upon stepping from my car, I detected a slight “cow” aroma. Since their economy is agriculturally based, I guess this is to be expected. Claiming to be the “Base Jumping Capital” of the nation , this is a rapidly growing city in South central-Idaho. Their climate averages 34F. in Jan to 85F. in July. Low temperatures are often below freezing from Dec. through March. Twin Falls, like other desert communities, does experience fast moving electrical storms. Their 3 great recreational and tourists areas are the Sawtooth Mountains, Shoshone Falls and the Perrine Bridge area.

Housing in Twins Falls, was priced well, compared to the Bay area. The current average listing price for a home is $209,531 and climbing. In touring some neighborhoods, I found many beautiful, newly constructed homes, below $300,000. A gallon of gas was $3.56, a gallon of milk was$2.99 and a dozen eggs ran $2.09.

In the spring of 2011, they did open a new hospital which is always high on my list of must haves for a permanent retirement location. The College of Southern Idaho, a large junior college, is located here as well. Twin falls also has a full orchestra Symphony and operatic productions at the Idaho Falls Opera Theater.  Twin Falls offers all the conveniences of a mid-sized city. Venturing out into the public, I asked two local mid- aged men what they thought of their fair town.

Both agreed that the town was excellent for children up to the age of twelve but when they reached high school  the kids seemed to lack  activities. They also agreed that this was the same for retirees. Unless you loved hunting and fishing, and the small town atmosphere, this was not a place that offered much for these two age groups. Both men were avid hunters and naturally said they would never move.

As for me, Twin Falls, meets many of my retirement requirements: Affordable housing, reduced taxes,  a college community, a quality hospital, a regional airport, cultural venues and outdoor activities. Where it seems to fall short is in having months of winter weather and the distance from other diverse communities and activities.

 

 

be found on City Data’s site.

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