Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tax Foundation: Mississippi be cheap.

It looks like Mississippi is one of the cheapest places to live in the country. We don't have Broadway, the schools sort of suck compared to the rest of the country, can't even find freshly-baked baguettes in the afternoon but it is cheap to live here. The Tax Foundation published this chart:

The local media made somewhat of a big deal about it but didn't carry the analysis far enough. Take teacher's salaries for example. We keep hearing over and over how Mississippi teacher pay is last or close to last in the country. However, cost of living is never factored into the equation. Something simple for an economist to do but beyond the comprehension of many reporters, politicians, and yes, teachers. Perhaps we should rank Mississippi teacher pay by teacher pay times cost of living in each state. Mississippi probably won't rank near the bottom of the barrel in those rankings. Just thinking out loud.


Anonymous said...

All together now: "We're #1! We're #1! We're #1!"

Anonymous said...

It may be cheap...but it isn't worth the price you pay

Mississippi is a great place to be from.

Anonymous said...

You want reporters to do analysis? LOL Most of them don't know a lick about anything and you want them to do analysis?

Anonymous said...

@6:03, we're all so very happy for you and your relocation. However, it's incredibly hard for us to miss you when you won't stay away. Don't worry; we'll call you just as soon as we can't stand not hearing from you anymore.

Cheep Yu Say! said...

You fail to mention that cheap is relative. If I drive a Ferrari and live on the lake, $3.50 a gallon gasoline is relatively cheap. If I drive Felder's pickup and live in a trailer, it ain't cheap at all - It's damned expensive.

You could not survive in New York on 80% of Mississippian's wages. But if a New Yorker moves here (and God knows I hope he don't), he'd realize he's suddenly a rich man in a cheap-to-live place.

6:03. 8-21 said...

@7:34 (6:03 here)

Don't be angry at me for reminding you that the rest of the country considers Mississippi it's armpit. I spent 50 years trying to make it a better place to live. I gave thou ds of hours away, and tons of money to peoples that don't:

1. Realize they need to change and 2. Are, for the most part, unwilling to change.

At some point and time, you have to sober up and realize that Mississippi will always be a dump because those living there like it that way. you think the Neshoba County Fair is the highlight of social life in Mississippi? That Oxford is a great town? That a degree from UM means diddly anywhere else in the south! That our education system has been 50th for my entire life??? When will it change? Never. Because those that are empowered to enact change refuse to do so.

What's worse is that there are poor countries in the Caribbean that fare better than those stuck in the delta. I can't believe what people are willing to accept as their destiny living in the shacks in the slums of towns like Greenville, greenwood, indianola, and points north.


Because it's mississippi. So don't get po'ed at me because I gave up and decided to improve things for myself by moving on.

Life is's especially hard when you accept compromise and go with the flow simply because it's the status qou.

/and remember, when I left, I took my business with me, my income taxes, trickle down economics, contributions to charity, etc....


Anonymous said...

@ 8:22...awww, bless your heart

Anonymous said...

8:45-- 8:22 is exactly right, and you know it. You rednecks strung out on z71 and 4 wheeler payments with the patio homes in Madison think that you have it made and yes the rest of the country laughs collectively at the attitude and status quo here. Why am I here? To take your money.....

Anonymous said...

8:22 is right on!!!

Anonymous said...

@ 8:22 AM - Yet you still feel the need to ready a Jackson, MS based blog to make you feel better about your decision. Your life must be so fulfilled.

Anonymous said...

9:17 Same here. Fortunately, it's not hard. Up north there would be too much equally-qualified competition.

Anonymous said...

I'm originally from 'up north'--came here for a job. Will do everything in my power to stay.

If you are middle class here, you don't have to work 100 hrs a week at a job you hate just so you can go to McDonalds once a week.

I have health insurance, a large house, a yard, new cars every 5 years---and haven't sold my soul to work. What's not to LOVE about here?

Educational system--it depends upon where you live. A college degree will take you where you want to go--but why leave here?

Anonymous said...

"However, cost of living is never factored into the equation. Something simple for an economist to do but beyond the comprehension of many reporters, politicians, and yes, teachers."

This is bullshit. It IS taken into consideration, yet the state workers are STILL underpaid.

Take a look at the wages for say IT staff in the border states to MS, then check the wages MS pays. You'll see that MS WAY underpays it's staff. The cost of living is way lower in MS than CA or NY but it's not that much lower than the border states.

Anonymous said...

We moved here 30 yrs. ago because of a job transfer. It was a financial promotion in that housing is dirt cheap compared to Yankee prices. The kids got A's, not from solid southern teaching, but they were approximately 2 years ahead in their learning, due to the Yankee education system. They went on to Ivy League colleges and are now very successful adults. Mississippi is a joke. The people are friendly to your face, and quick to stab you in the back with the bless you's and fake smiles. A previous poster said "we take your money." Don't think so darlin. YOU work for ME, are stupid enough to work for low wages, and do nothing but have more babies, and complain about living check to check. Really, who is the fool?

Anonymous said...

50 years ago I left The Magnolia State to make my way in the cold cruel world of commerce. I recently returned with great excitement and anticipation and I must admit that other than benefits of family---it's one of the WORST decisions I've EVER made!!!

Kingfish said...

IT staff you are right. Houston blows us

@7:34 said...

@6:03/8:22, I don't think anyone is "po'ed" [sic] at you for leaving. Based on the little you've shared here, your exodus should be applauded. The criticism is because you apparently won't stay gone.

Anonymous said...

How about instead of bitching about your State job, which likely is not a necessary position, why don't you go get a real job in the private sector and contribute to Mississippi's economy? Mississippi has more government employees than any other State. A government employee does nothing to help the economy. Not to mention, at least with the government employees I've worked with (which is a lot), most of the positions employed by the State are not needed, and the employees tend to be lazy, dishonest, and not incredibly bright.

Anonymous said...

" Mississippi has more government employees than any other State."

Cite, please.

Anonymous said...

Luckily for the rest of the country Mississippi pays far more in federal taxes than it takes back!

So at least it's not a fiscal sinkhole, just an educational sinkhole.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish what the hell is a 'baguette' and why would you want one when you can get hot biscuits?

Anonymous said...

If we just had a whole foods, wait, we do, and it sucks. If you want a "fresh baguette" then maybe Jeff Good can give you his.

Anonymous said...

Jackson native here. I left 10 years ago. Leaving MS changed me, a lot. When I come back and visit, I cringe at what I see. Jackson is distinctly and sadly rougher than when I left. The contrast (now vs then) is startling and sad. Living there is cheaper, but after you add private schools to your budget, is it really? Public schools where I am (CA) are excellent. Which, of course, varies depending on neighborhoods. Except in MS, where they are pretty much all bad.

That said, MS is a special place with some great people. But ultimately I wish I had wised up and left sooner.

Anonymous said...

12:25: "Luckily for the rest of the country Mississippi pays far more in federal taxes than it takes back!"

Is this supposed to be snark or sarcasm?

"...The results will stun many people, though not me: I’ve been telling my Tea Party relatives this for years. Here’s a list of the top 10 states that got the most back in terms of federal benefits, followed by the bottom 10. I’ve added the reasons why, when they’re obvious, in the space to the right.

To save space below, “pension benefits” include both Medicare and Social Security; “anti-poverty aid” includes Head Start, Low Income Home Energy Assistance, Food Stamp and nutrition programs for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and several school-lunch-style benefits.

Top Ten (Source: Tax Foundation):

1. New Mexico Indian reservations, military bases, federal research labs, farm subsidies, retirement programs

2. Mississippi Farm subsidies, military spending, nutrition and anti-poverty aid, retirement programs.

3. Alaska Per capita No 1 recipient of federal benefits; infrastructure projects, DOT and pork projects.

4. Louisiana Disaster relief, farm subsidies, anti-poverty and nutrition aid, military spending.

5. W. Virginia Farm subsidies, anti-poverty and nutrition aid.

6. N. Dakota Farm subsidies, energy subsidies, retirement and anti-poverty programs, Indian reservations.

7. Alabama Retirement programs, anti-poverty and nutrition aid, federal space/military spending, farm subsidies.

8. S. Dakota Retirement programs, nutrition aid, farm subsidies, military spending, Indian reservations.

9. Virginia Civil service pensions, military spending, veterans benefits, retirement, anti-poverty aid.

10. Kentucky Retirement programs, nutritional and anti-poverty aid, farm subsidies. ..."


The following historical table shows the annual ratio of federal spending to the corresponding federal revenue collected from selective states. Values greater than 1 indicate a state having a net negative effect on the federal budget in that fiscal year.


State Federal Spending to Revenue ratio by Fiscal Yr:

2013 2012 2011 2010

0.68 0.94 0.97 0.87

0.69 1.05 1.19 0.87

0.72 0.90 0.98 1.06

0.74 0.94 0.80 0.93

0.79 1.43 1.48 0.94

0.83 1.05 0.94 1.05

District of Columbia
0.86 1.15 1.38 1.65

0.94 1.41 1.46 1.66

1.30 1.65 1.04 1.00

1.37 3.35 3.84 1.89

1.46 3.19 3.51 1.62

West Virginia
1.91 2.23 2.35 2.68

2.02 4.57 4.97 1.71

2.18 2.39 1.35 1.41

2.34 3.07 4.26 2.68

2.46 3.29 2.37 2.00

South Carolina
5.37 7.88 4.41 2.42

0.95 1.40 1.30 1.01 - Prime Award Spending Data FY 2013,-by-Type-of-Tax-and-State,-Fiscal-Year-IRS-Data-Book-Table-5

Chump Patrol said...

State employees don't contribute? Tell it to the ones who receive, file and maintain the pissant paperwork that allows you to save a thousand bucks a year, chump. Tell it to the road crew that throws asphalt right up to your gate. Tell it to staff who approved you mother in law for medicaid based on your illegal/fraudulent paperwork.

Anonymous said...

No, government employees don't contribute to economic growth. Government employees consume tax dollars, they don't generate them.

Anonymous said...

So cops and teachers don't contribute to economic growth?

I love my home state. I really wish that widespread willful ignorance of the electorate wouldn't keep it hostage at last place. Mississippi deserves better than this.

Anonymous said...

Technically speaking, if an employee's wages are primarily derived from tax revenues, then no, they do not contribute to the economic growth of an area. One could argue that they buy houses, go grocery shopping, purchase cars, etc...and that helps the economy - but not necessarily if the tax they pay essentially is to pay themselves.

I've been in the military, traveled the world, studied abroad, and am semi-fluent in Spanish. Mississippi may not be the greatest place to live in terms of amenities, but I do love the people here. Some of the most geniune people I've ever met are right here.

Sure, there's racism and ignorant people here...but when I was up north for a little bit - they have racism up there too...but it's not like black vs white. It's more like Irish vs Italians vs Jews vs whatever else. I absolutely love seeing my neighbor, who's 20 years older than me (I'm in my 30's), outside cutting limbs down...and when I go over to help him, he pays me with a few cold beverages and some great conversation. I have found how rare that is anywhere else. But it's different strokes for different folks. Straight out of college - I was all about moving away and going on to bigger and better things. I realized (someone said it best here) how much I was selling my soul, working 60 hours a week for $40K, just so someone would notice and maybe move up a little bit...going home to an apartment with no free time, just to wake up and do the same dance over, so that one day in the future, I could wake up and not have to do that dance.

But after maturing a little bit and realizing what's important to me - it's just not worth it. To me, life's about the people you meet and the experiences you create with them...and when you're on your deathbed - you can actually say that you contributed something to this world to make it better than how you found it. And what better place to do all of those things then right here in Mississippi? No one can does need the help.

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