One Year In

Nevada Flag

One year ago, I announced my move from, as Joe Kristan put it, “the perfumed air and divine weather of Orange County to the desert wastes of Nevada.” A friend asked me to expound on my move, both the good and the bad.

There isn’t much that’s bad for me to report on. My electric bill is painful in the summer; my July bill went up over 4000% [1]. I don’t have grass in my front lawn (but even in Irvine that was an issue). There’s nothing particularly old or historic to see in Las Vegas. When the historic relics are the old casinos such as the Golden Gate [2], historic items are few and far between.

There’s a lot, though, to love. I was told that I wouldn’t know my neighbors, that people aren’t friendly, and that it’s a transient community. I know my neighbors (who are very nice people), people went out of their way to introduce themselves, and while there are definitely transient neighborhoods (especially areas very hard hit by the housing bust), I live in a typical suburban neighborhood. I have a lot more house than I did in Irvine at a lot less cost. The cost of living here is less, and my state income tax bill is almost zero [3]. I’m reconnecting with friends who moved here, and I’m having fun.

The biggest surprise to me is that I’m doing far less driving than I used to. Las Vegas, like Orange County, is full of strip malls. Indeed, the area I live in (Summerlin) is modeled after Irvine. The Las Vegas valley is smaller, and the distances less. This ends up being a big saving. This is especially true when you add in the cost of gasoline; it’s $0.20 a gallon cheaper here than in California [4].

Knowing what I do now, would I have made the move? Absolutely–and maybe faster.

[1] In Irvine, I rarely needed to run the air conditioning (I lived near the ocean which provided free air conditioning). I signed up for Southern California Edison’s air conditioning cycling program. That caused my summer electricity bills to fall by almost 90%. Here in Las Vegas, I have a larger home that must be air conditioned. In the summer, the air conditioning runs at all hours. I knew that I would have large bills…and it wasn’t a surprise.

[2] The Golden Gate Casino, originally the Sal Sagev, is Las Vegas’ first casino. It’s downtown at 1 Fremont Street. They have a great shrimp cocktail special ($1.99, though you must join their slot club for this price).

[3] Nevada has no state income tax. I will have to pay a small amount of Maryland income tax this year because of our Maryland office; it’s likely under $100.

[4] All gasoline is imported from other states into Nevada (there are no oil refineries in Nevada). Yet even including shipping costs you pay less for gasoline here than in California. The obvious (and true) conclusion is that state taxes drive up the cost of gasoline in California.

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