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Friday, May 28, 2010

Hooray for us. Please don't move here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010, 7:56am CDT
Austin called 'crucible for small business

Austin was picked as the No. 1 best city to live in for the next 10 years in a Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranking Wednesday.

The magazine cited the capital city's innovative thinking, plentiful music venues, lakes, parks, unique business climate and job-creation tendencies. The report said "arguably the country’s best crucible for small business, Austin has spawned many companies with unique twists that have gone nationwide."

Kiplinger's chose cities with positive business climates, but also unique livability appeal. Others on the list, included No. 2 ranked Seattle; Washington D.C. (No. 3); Boulder, Colo. (No. 4); Salt Lake City, Utah (No. 5); Rochester, Minn. (No. 6); Des Moines, Iowa (No. 7); Burlington, Vt. (No. 8); West Hartford, Conn. (No. 9); and Topeka, Kan. (No. 10).

"Creativity in music, arts and culture, plus neighborhoods and recreational facilities that rank high for ‘coolness,’ attract like-minded professionals who go on to cultivate a region’s business scene," Kiplinger's Senior Editor Robert Frick said.

Austin was also recently ranked 2nd "most innovative" by Forbes.com, 10th most fit in the U.S. by the American College of Sports Medicine, and ninth best quality of life by Portfolio.com.

Thursday, May 27, 2010, 2:09pm CDT
Many Texans paid zero income tax in '08

Texas had the second-highest number of individuals in the country who did not pay any federal income tax in 2008, after allowing for credits and deductions.

A May 24 report from the non-profit Tax Foundation found that 4.2 million of the state’s 10.8 million tax filers had no income tax liability, according to Internal Revenue Service data.

Only California, the most populous state in the country, had a higher number of filers with no income tax liability. Six million of that state’s 16.4 million tax filers paid no income tax in 2008.

A record 52 million tax filers in the U.S. had no tax liability in 2008, IRS figures show, because their credits and deductions reduced their liability to zero.

Overall, 39 percent of Texas tax filers paid no income tax, giving the state a No. 8 ranking overall based on percentage. Mississippi had the highest percentage of tax filers who paid no income tax, at 45 percent, followed by Georgia and Arkansas at 41 percent.

At the other end of the spectrum, Alaska had the lowest percentage of tax filers with no tax liability, at 21 percent. Massachusetts and Connecticut were slightly higher, at 27 percent.

Scott Hodge, president of the Tax Foundation, noted that tax credits such as the child tax credit or earned income tax credit have increased to the point that a family of four with total income of up to $52,000 could expect no tax liability.

Mississippi, which topped the nation in filers with no tax liability, also has the lowest median family income in the country at $46,668.

When the millions of other Americans who have some income but not enough to file a tax return are factored in, some 47 percent of all households pay no income taxes.

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