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Liz Farmer: Cities and states offering cash, tax breaks to lure workers

Liz Farmer, Rate.com on

Published in Business News

You've heard of moving incentives: companies offering a signing bonus to lure workers to relocate. Now, state and local governments are getting into the game, offering tax credits or actual cash to lure residents.

If you're considering a move, knowing about these incentives might help tip the scales. Perhaps you're a soon-to-be college graduate and entering the workforce. Or, like me, you might be one of the millions of Americans who have a mobile job.

First, none of the state and local moving incentives is big enough to be the sole reason you move. Rather, if you're considering moving to a certain region, an incentive might help you choose one place over another. In New England, for example, two states offer benefits. Headed to Oklahoma? Tulsa's moving incentive might help you.

Below is a breakdown of what's out there, pros and cons, and how to find out about other factors you should consider.

Alaska: Since 1976, every resident -- kids too -- gets an annual check from the state's Permanent Fund, fueled by oil tax revenue. It's usually between $1,000 and $2,000 per resident.

--Pros: Cash, no strings attached. That's no guarantee it'll last forever, but it has survived several attempts to divert the money to other uses. (Plus, Alaska has no income or sales tax.)

 

--Cons: Even if you're a cold-weather-loving nature nut, Alaska is an expensive place to live. That's why the Permanent Fund was started, to help offset the cost of living. According to the Tax Foundation's cost of living chart, the real value of $100 is around $92 in Alaska's populated areas.

Vermont's remote worker grant program will award up to $5,000 in moving expenses to new Vermonters. In 2019, the average award was $3,819.

--Pros: The state also supports a program in which local hosts in the business community coordinate a weekend visit with people in your industry, sightsee and even look at real estate. If you do make the move, you'll have a head start on becoming part of the community.

--Cons: The award is first come, first served. During the first nine months, it drew 4,201 applications and just 84 of them got money ($320,000 in total). The legislature has put more money into the program, but demand still far outpaces the supply.

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