"Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called 'walking.'" - George W. Bush
Texas has quite the reputation for coming across as big, bold and confident! It is the second most populous state with an estimated 26,448,193 residents, as well as being the second largest state encompassing 268,581 square miles. One can certainly understand the reputation! Texas is so large that it has 10 climatic regions, each distinct and diverse from one another. Texas also shares borders with New Mexico (to the west), Oklahoma (to the north), Arkansas (to the northeast), Louisiana (to the east) and Mexico (to the south)... So you better believe we know how to be neighborly! While we aren't bragging, we should also mention that in the spring, the state practically explodes with color as the wildflowers begin to bloom. The bluebonnet is the state flower, but that is just the tip of the iceberg as far as variety and color go! So that is a bit about the landscape, now let's talk about the economy and taxes!
The best way to prepare for a move to the Lone Star State would be to choose your city first, obviously, and then begin to prepare for the climate, the city itself and the neighborhood you decide to settle within. Knowing how to prepare comes from knowing where you will be living and if you will want to find apartments versus rental houses. For instance, if you are moving to the coastal areas, anywhere from Beaumont and south down to Port Isabel, try to avoid moving during the hurricane season. The season begins in June and lasts until November. If you move during those months, just keep an eye on the news and you will be fine.
There are plenty of stunningly gorgeous condos for rent as well as luxury apartments with magnificent views of the Gulf of Mexico all along this stretch of Texas. North Texas tends to see quite a few tornadoes, so again, beware of the news reports from April through October and you should have no troubles. Aside from those two seasons, you also might want to pay attention to any allergies you may have. The hill-country in spring is an absolute joy for most, but an allergy issue for others. The pollen counts get quite high, which is awesome for our bees, but not so much for those who are overly sensitive to cedar, ragweed, milkweed and many other varieties of native plants, shrubs and trees. If you are not an allergy sufferer, you will think you've landed in paradise! If you are, head on down to the coastal regions where the allergens aren't so bad.
Congratulations on deciding to move to Texas! Now, if you haven't already decided on which area you are moving to, you might want to know a little bit about the differences in climate, topography and various economies at work within the state before you choose which city will become your new home.
West Texas: The mountains of the Big Bend in west Texas gently transition into rugged hills and desert flowing south along the Texas-Mexico border and north up into the panhandle.
North-Central Texas: Wide open prairies and grasslands of north-central Texas extend into piney woods and forests stretching eastward. These eventually transition into coastal swamps and wetlands along the coastline at the Gulf of Mexico. Dallas, Sabine and Beaumont are just a few of the beautiful cities within this region.
South Texas: The further south you travel down the Texas coastline (lovingly referred to as the Texas Riviera), the more you feel as though you are in a paradise on a par with Playa del Carmen or Cancun, Mexico! Miles of sandy beaches stretch from Crystal Beach, just north of Galveston Island, all the way down to Port Isabel at the Mexican border. Radiating out from the capitol in Austin, as far south as San Antonio and as far north as Dallas, the terrain is considered the Hill Country, because of it's lovable lumps! Blanketed with a forest of cedar elm, bald cypress, juniper, red mulberry, sassafras, anacacho orchid and many, many more varieties of blossoming trees, it is very easy to fall in love with the region.
Northeast Texas: This area is considered to be the piney woods that lead into the swampy coastal areas along the Gulf. Northwest Texas is an arid, mountainous region that reaches an elevation of 8,751 feet at Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Think of it, an elevation of 8,751 feet in the northwest corner of Texas that gently slopes down to sea level 12 hours later by car. A nice, long, slow slide into the Gulf of Mexico with stunning geography that continually changes along the way!
Living in Texas is unlike any place else you've ever experienced. The people are open and friendly, always ready to enjoy and support music, the arts, culture, cuisine and innovative ideas dreamed up by the melting pot of a diverse and incredibly intelligent population. Austin is the capital and the heart of Texas. The SXSW music festival and Austin City Limits festival are two you should absolutely experience once you are in the state. FunFunFun Fest is another of the must-experience-music-festivals local to Austin. Seriously, on any given day in the capital city, you can catch a live show of almost any genre of music you can dream up... it's an audiophile's dream city!
If you prefer water parks and roller coasters, Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Six Flags in San Antonio or Schlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunfels, Galveston or South Padre Island, have exactly what you desire in a thrilling, hair-raising, water-soaked day at the park! Life in Texas, like anywhere, is what you make it. Having said that, it sure does help when you live in a state where the economy is booming, the environment is beautiful and protected and the cities offer a staggering array of excellent food, diversity of cultural arts, museums, top-notch universities and businesses that continue to expand and prosper for a growing workforce!
Texas has a booming economy with a GSP of $1.207 trillion, which is the second highest in the United States. The discovery of oil at the turn of the 20th century, when Spindletop exploded in Beaumont, was a huge boon to the then and current petroleum industry. Texas and California are tied for the highest number of Fortune 500 companies, easily labeling Texas as one of the most business-friendly states in the country. Of course, that label might also come from the fact that Texas has a staggeringly large Enterprise Fund. By staggeringly large, we are talking a cool three billion. Added to that, Texas doesn't tax it's residents income. No, your eyes aren't deceiving you, you read that correctly! No state income tax. Period. Are you ready to find your perfect rental house in Texas yet?
When you think of energy and Texas, oil wells are likely the first thing you will visualize. Oil was the predominant energy resource that helped to build a strong economic foundation within the state and has much to do with its current reputation on the world stage. With strong cattle, cotton and cereal grain industries, the state flourished in the 20th century! Newcomers to the energy market in Texas are solar and wind power. In fact, Texas leads the nation, producing more wind power from the world's largest wind farm, which is located in Roscoe, Texas. We also have the most potential for developing and using solar power, which is currently in the works! You see, Texas is very proud of its environment and the natural resources available for a sustainable and green future moving forward. Technology has been a huge part of Texas' leap in the direction of sustainability and environmental responsibility. High tech industries have cropped up in the Austin and Dallas areas and are fondly referred to as Silicon Hills (Austin) and Silicon Prairie (Dallas), giving a tip-of-the-hat and a wink towards the original Silicon Valley in California. Starting with NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in southeast Houston, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Division in Fort Worth, and high tech companies such as Dell, AT&T and Texas Instruments...Texas is a trailblazer when it comes to innovation!