I moved to Portland in 2012 and immediately fell in love with the fact that the state doesn't have a sales tax. The price I see on the item(s) I want to buy is the price I'll pay. It was such a foreign concept to me.
What I didn't think about during that period of time is exactly how the state gets money if they don't have a sales tax. What I found out during the 2013 tax season is that the state largely gets its money by having a pretty high state income tax.
I've been here nearly a decade now and I still haven't figured out if I would be paying more or less if I lived somewhere else. On the one hand, I don't have to pay any taxes on purchases big and small, fancy dinners, or nights out (when we can do that again). On the other, my wife and I pay A LOT in state income taxes in addition to our Federal tax obligations.
Has anyone ever really dove into this and done the math? I know the people who make out the best are those who live across the river in Vancouver, WA. They have no state income tax and their residents can simply travel across the bridge to do all their shopping. But for people who live in Portland (and the rest of the state) I wonder if we are doing it right.
So which one do you think is better? Little to no state income tax or no sales tax?