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Tulsa Remote (tulsaremote.com)
347 points by Aloha 61 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 215 comments

I mean WOW the comments here are snotty against Tulsa. Relatively little discussion of the incentive itself, the fact that a single private individual is paying for the incentive (!!), or other dynamics of relocation to cheaper, easier towns for remote work.

I visited Tulsa a few months ago to just check it out. I enjoyed it greatly. The Tulsa Gathering Place is absolutely unreal for a free public park. There is enough going on there to make it a worthwhile place to move to for a few years. A considerable amount of very high end architecture and art there.

I am doing a multifamily development with similar (not nearly as generous) relocation incentives tied in through a medical district. Very interesting way to move the needle and encourage shifts in living. For most cities, this is a much cheaper way to approach affordable housing as well.

I grew up in Tulsa as a minority. Went to Jenks Public schools.

Two students in my graduation class got accepted to Harvard, and others to MIT, U Penn, and Duke. They have gone on to become successful tech entrepreneurs and professors. The graduating class after my year had 4 students accepted to Stanford.

Non est ratio ad gustum ... Über Geschmack lässt sich nicht streiten ... Les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas ...

There is a reason why almost every language has an idiomatic expression to express the same idea.

Tulsa may be a great place for you, it may be a not so great place for you. But dismissing an idea based on no real experience and innate prejudices is pretty stupid.

Hey there, another Jenks graduate here. I'm currently more towards the OKC area but definitely would love to live in Tulsa again. It's a laid back kind of place, great cost of living, plenty to do... Not for everyone I'm sure but perfect for me.

I think the state of education in our state is a pretty big problem, but there are nationally ranked high quality schools like you said, Jenks, Union, Norman.



Oklahoma senior from Jenks High School accepted to all 8 Ivy League schools

Sarah Cameron boasts a long list of extracurricular activities, including academic clubs and an impressive tennis career. Now she can brag about her eight college acceptance letters, all to Ivy League schools.

> I mean WOW the comments here are snotty against Tulsa

If there was an article about paying remote workers to move to SF, you'd get the exact same thing. I mean, obviously the specific complaints themselves would be different, but you'd still get the same rough tone and criticism.

I don’t think SF would evoke quite the same reaction. There are a lot of politically fueled opinions and jabs at the population of Tulsa here.

I was born in Tulsa and left before my teens (to us, Oklahoma was the South West/South as opposed to Midwest). Lived elsewhere in the United States, Germany, and now live in Switzerland.

I have a lot of fond memories of the place, but returning there after 25 years completely shattered my romantic childhood feelings. The city was not doing great when I lived there, but it felt far worse now (husk comment earlier). You want to know where MAGA came from? All you need to do was live in Tulsa 25 years ago and compare it to today: the rust and rot. The place is sprawling; you’ll need a car. Summer is oppressively humid against biking. It is far more diverse than it was, but I have doubts about the true level of comforts minorities (all stripes from ethnicity to political) feel. I felt somewhat insulated from religion with Unitarian parents, but the prevailing religion runs strong here. I don’t think they’d accept me if they really knew what I thought today. Infrastructure is laughably in poor shape. My father tells me corruption/nepotism/patronage still drives most appointments in OK civil service. I recall fondly of the — can’t believe I am saying this — sweet smell of crude oil refinement from West Tulsa that permeates the entire town and ambient sounds of the pump jacks (yes, sporadically in the neighborhood).

Food is certainly better than what it was. Folks in their early 20s seem to be pushing for more. I actually had a respectable bowl of ramen there. Growing up, there were two Chinese restaurants only. That tells you a lot!

I always appreciated how direct the people were — zero pretense or two-faced behavior. A lot of small talk. You’ll have to be OK with the provincialism. Miss the intense Thunderstorms a whole lot.

My parents were not especially political or conveying of class or social consciousness. I recall a few trips to Arkansas when I was young and crossing the border from OK into AR and wondering what the hell was wrong with that place. It seemed like that much of a step down.

Tulsa has — or had — it’s quirky charm. Everyone knows about the South Park episode about that Mexican restaurant Casa Bonita. Well, guess what, that one in Colorado it parodied is based on an original in Tulsa. Also: in that same strip mall (yep, you’ll love Tulsa if you love sprawling one-story drags of strip malls), there was Starbase 21, a store dedicated to Star Trek franchise paraphernalia, which I think closed recently (sadly). Let’s not forget the world’s largest McDonalds in Vinita that spanned an interstate. These days, the place feels dreadfully big-boxed.

I am a parent now. While nature access is OK (not great but not terrible), certainly faster to reach than in the Bay Area (sorry), I would be concerned with the schools. They have been starved to death and the school day largely cut to four days.

I realize this won’t satisfy anyone’s claims for empirical remarks, but it is just the perspective of someone who knew the place intimately and returned recently. My feelings are textured.


Financial relocation incentives don't appear to be anything new, but the alternatives never seemed to ring any bells for me. Hard to pin down precisely, but I think part of it was the fact that a lot of them were asking you to settle down in what might as well be the frontier in terms of urban density and amenities, or maybe the city in question was a burnt-out husk of its former self (a different kind of frontier almost), or maybe the incentive wasn't so much cash as much as loan assistance or some other thing that doesn't sound as sexy.

Looking at the website, pretty obvious that they're not asking me to settle in a small town or a burnt-out husk of a city. Despite my biases against Oklahoma, I get the sense that this is a pretty exciting place to be. On top of that, the incentives actually seem very practical. It's cash, plain and simple.

I like it, if you couldn't already tell.

I went to high school in Tulsa, so allow me to clear up some misconceptions.

> Looking at the website, pretty obvious that they're not asking me to settle in a small town or a burnt-out husk of a city.

In reality Tulsa is somewhere in between a "small town" and a "burnt out husk of city".

> Despite my biases against Oklahoma, I get the sense that this is a pretty exciting place to be.

It is not.

Its main benefits are being cheap and not super cold.

See, I would be afraid to move to Tulsa with this context. I don't have a firm grasp on the economic outlook of the region, nor the demographics or the culture. Nor do I know how welcoming the citizens in Tulsa are toward gay, athiests like myself. I know most of my friends wouldn't feel comfortable (one calls the place she hails from Misery, in reference to the state and her former state of mind while growing up there).

Seth Andrews, the founder of TheThinkingAtheist.com, grew up in Tulsa and called it "Jesustown" in his book Deconverted. (Not sure exactly how I wrote it as I listened to the audio version.)

I live in Tulsa now. Don't do it.

Just because this website says it is exciting doesn't mean it is. They are throwing money at the issue of a brain drain and lagging economy.

Tons of people who "went to school in Tulsa" don't live there now because it is the opposite of exciting.

Thought experiment: you are now Mayor of Tulsa and have received a $100M grant to "make Tulsa exciting". Assume the situation is that whatever you propose would not be opposed.

What would you do?

“Brain drain” suggests there is a leak, makes not much sense to try attracting new brain without fixing the leak first. Identify who are “brain”, track their needs, provide intervening opportunities when they feel theyre not satisfied.

Allow new business to be created without the city's red tape and dismantle the old-boys club that drove away innovation for a century.

> dismantle the old-boys club


> Allow new businesses to be created without the city's red tape



I dunno, I used to live in Bartlesville. Tulsa was The Big City. It was very exciting compared to B-ville!

maybe the city in question was a burnt-out husk of its former self

As a joke, I'd say that the actual choice is between a less populated burnt-out husk of its former self, a heavily populated burnt-out husk of its former self, or some degree of truly nowhere.

Have a friend who went on tour recently and they mentioned how much they liked Tulsa. They live in San Diego right now and definitely can't afford a house in the area. Weird to see this post after talking to them about it.

It really depends on your definition of normal and comfortable, and how able you are to entertain yourself when you are not working or shacking up in your tornado shelter (which you will probably have to dig yourself.)

I mean this with all possible sincerity, but what gives you the impression that Tulsa would be an exciting place to be? I’ve never been to Tulsa, but my grandfather is from the state. My impression is that outside of OKC and maybe Tulsa, Oklahoma is basically a burnt out husk of a state.

And is OKC really much better? I was uncomfortable there and I'm a straight, white, married male. I can't imagine what it would be like to be brown or gay or anything outside a very narrow definition of "normal". I also can't believe that a smaller city could possibly be better than OK's larger centers...

I'm saddened by all of the negativity in these comments. So many people falling back on the old stereotypes of the South and Midwest, people who have clearly not spent time in these places. I live in a small city in Kansas and have worked remotely for SFBA tech companies for over 10 years. I moved here from the Seattle area. I can tell you that life is amazing when you make Bay Area money and live in a small Midwestern city. You can build a beautiful, new house with lots of space and spend far less than rent on a SF 1 bedroom apartment. You can walk to work--drivers are friendly out here--at a coworking facility (we have two in my little town alone) and eat lunch for less than $10 no problemo. You can find almost anything you need locally and if you can't find it here, you'll have plenty of spare cash to book a five-star hotel room in the big city for the weekend and go shopping.

People are super friendly and contrary to what so many of you mistakenly believe, not judgmental. Gay couples live openly and happpily here. I've never met a racist or seen anything racist; indeed, nearly half of the houses on my block here in the affluent side of town are either black or mixed-race families. Kids play in the streets together every day and they can walk to the bus stop without the parents worrying about an Uber driver running them over.

I hope that someone here takes Kaiser/Tulsa up on their offer and reports back. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

It's gotta be judged city to city. Charleston, south Carolina is chock full of straight Jim crow racism, and I'd hazard to say that's the majority there.

It's not fair to apply that stereotype to Tulsa without going there and checking it out, but I think it's a reasonable concern.

This reminds me a lot of patio11’s fascinating write up about Japanese Hometown Tax. It makes total sense for small cities to pay for high earning remote workers to move there. Perhaps this will become a trend. https://www.kalzumeus.com/2018/10/19/japanese-hometown-tax/

It's related to hometown tax how? Because both have descriptions that include the words "town" and "money"?

Because it could create a situation where small cities and counties are competing against each other to win the favor of workers. It’s not an identical situation, and arguably this competition already exists, but it’s much more obvious when direct cash incentives are being offered.

Both are ways of compensating for brain drain.

It isn't a small city paying remote workers. I remember when Patrick objected to teachers being paid 60k a year.

Admittedly this is aggregate for the whole state:


  Overall Rank Out of 50: #43
  Health Care #48
  Education #39
  Economy #36
  Opportunity #38
  Infrastructure #31
  Crime & Corrections #34
  Fiscal Stability #22
  Quality of Life #17
Those aren't great incentives for people with families to want to move. Might be more tolerable for younger folks?

Of course, getting fresh tax revenue etc may be important towards getting those various things improved, and Tulsa might be significantly better than the rest of the state.

Statewide aggregates are not always super useful. Portland, Oregon is really different from Burns, Oregon, for instance.

The Portland area would dominate the aggregate because they have 80-90% of the population. I mean, how many in tech are going to move to Pendleton anyways? I’ve heard Bend is kind of hot these days, but went through during a forest fire and wasn’t impressed.

Oklahoma is a bit more balanced on population than Oregon.

As someone who grew up in Tulsa and have lived outside of Portland for almost 15 years, I feel confident saying that Portland has gone down the drain in the past few years and is completely overrun with heroin camps covering every inch of public parks and green space. It's still better than Tulsa.

If you’re into heroin I guess it’s better than Tulsa.

If you're into Meth I guess it's not.

Seattle has gone the same way.

I work remotely, in Bend, and am quite happy with it. It's dry enough to be habitable, which the western half of the state where I grew up is, sadly, not. Lots of great outdoor stuff.

Only a little more than half. Portland metro is 2.4M, state is 4.15M.

It really depends on what you call the Portland area I guess. See https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/7nz9fq/a_populatio...

I bet your number includes a few people in Washington if it’s the official Portland metro area one.

I'm going by the census definition of the Portland MSA.

Right, then it’s less than 2 million with the remainder in WA.

Urban places are liberal, Rural places are conservative. Same trend everywhere in the US, even California.

You'd think "Quality of Life" would have a little more weight... I mean... what else is there?!

Whoa. The #1 state in this report is Iowa. Hmm. Maybe time to... check out Iowa.

Iowa is a good place. Thriving tech scene too in the Des Moines metro. Gets cold in the winter, but not that cold.

Edit: Also great public school systems and pretty low cost of living.

Surely using some index devised by soulless accountants that never heard of snow.

Don’t knock it till you try it.

But stay away from the yellow variant.

Healthcare? You could plausibly have great quality of life for healthy people, but once you get sick you lose access to it. If you're dead, you probably don't notice the quality of life living people have.

But where are they ranked in BBQ? I moved to North Carolina from SF Bay Area and NC has much going for it ... but North Carolinians think NC BBQ is like top-3 (Lexington style, Eastern style, etc.) -- but I don't see it. I much prefer Louisiana or Texas BBQ. I'll say other aspects balance out the mediocre NC BBQ.

If Oklahoma / Tulsa BBQ is in the top-3 that might make up for a few of the deficits.

According to trip advisor they're not in the top 10.


So if BBQ is your criteria, consider Tennessee?

I find Lexington style pretty good, it's pretty similar to Kansas City/Memphis/St Louis at least. I can't stand Eastern style though. Texas BBQ is a league of it's own for me, I try not to compare to it cause I always end up disappointed.

source: I'm from Kansas City, went to school in Tennessee and Texas, now living in NC.

I don't understand, isn't a BBQ a device you put in your garden? How can it differ per state?

(not sarcastic, I'm just a clueless foreigner)

In this instance BBQ is referring to a specific type of food - that is, smoked meats, usually beef or pork, which is then covered with barbecue sauce, which is usually tomato-based. The specific meats, rubs, and especially sauces vary from place to place, and this is what people are referring to when they debate which state or region has better BBQ.

A barbecue could refer to an outdoor grill, but I don't think that's too common in the US. More often, it refers to a party held outdoors in which food is grilled, usually burgers and/or hot dogs.

You're thinking of a grill, which is used to make the BBQ. As for how it differs from state, I think it's the recipes for the BBQ that differ (some places use vinegar, others use ketchup).

But it's about the habits in people's backyards right? Or about restaurants?

Pretty sure they are comparing BBQ restaurants which are definitely a thing, and differ in style from state to state.

As you’ve implied, if you’re cooking the meat yourself in your backyard then you can do any style you want. I believe “true bbq” can be considered more time consuming than just throwing meat on a grill, and would involve the use of a smoker and perhaps other equipment. It’s not just grilling meat.

Different regions in the US have very different barbecue styles. There's a vast array of different ways to long-smoke meat over wood, and a vast array of ways to sauce and prepare it after it's been cooked.

Since good barbecue often takes years of experience, 16+ hours to cook, and produces more food than a small family can eat, it's a cuisine that is frequently outsourced to restaurants. So the kind of barbecue which dominates an area really has an impact on the kind of barbecue you can eat in that area, unless you've got years of experience, hours of spare time, and either a big enough family or enough freezer space to cook your own barbecue regularly.

I'd say it could be both. I'm honestly not the best person to ask as I'm not really a BBQ aficionado, perhaps someone else could chime in.

In Tulsa, barbecue bologna is a local specialty. It's delicious and definitely worth trying it if you're in the area.

Moved from Oklahoma City to California. Never going back.

If you're religious, right-wing, and don't care about having outing options, then Oklahoma is the place for you.

I'm guessing you've never driven through California.


California is a lot more Red than you think.. I've seen tons of Confederate flags here (which doesn't even make sense).

I've never seen a Confederate flag in California, and haven't really encountered any noticeable prejudice from small town / rural Californians in my travails through Northern California. Nothing like Oklahoma.

Are you in an interracial relationship? I grew up in a small town in Illinois so I know what rural towns are like. I've definitely walked into bars and restaurants in rural Northern California and have had the entire place stare at us while we got seated. Felt exactly like rural Illinois.

I have family members who are openly gay and I know places in Northern California I would _never_ take them.

I also know of areas around the North along the coast where you can end up in a fist fight if you're an outsider especially from the Bay Area. That's less a red vs blue thing and more of a "I don't want outsiders in my town" vibe.

If you go where the tourists aren't going you'll encounter some interesting things.

No, I'm not in an interracial relationship and not gay either. I do look Muslim though.

I'm sure there are places like this in NorCal, as you attest, and I haven't encountered them because I go mostly to the places where tourists go (while I tend to avoid the most popular tourist destinations in the state, my travels have still been for camping purposes, which means the places I go to are not strangers to outsiders).

But the mere fact that I can live and travel in the state without encountering this kind of stuff is precisely the point. In Oklahoma, there is prejudice anywhere you go, even the towns and cities.

(In fact, the main group of people in Oklahoma whom I remember being inclusive towards me were actually rural / very-small-town farmers)

And when did you make this move? OKC has been undergoing a renascence of sorts over the last decade and barely resembles the rest of the state. The tech scene is really taking off and diversity is expanding rather rapidly. There are a lot of great people working hard to make a difference here and just because you like one place over another doesn't mean that other place has to be bad, it is fine to just be different.

I ask this out of genuine curiosity since I can't pick a definitive meaning: outing options? Is that ability to go somewhere or the ability to be publicly gay? My confusion is the first two adjectives tend to imply not pro-gay.

I guarantee that if I spent more than one week in Oklahoma or Kansas, I would get into a terrible political argument with the locals. I can only bite my tongue for so long.

Yes, I’ve heard they’re prone to gross generalizations out there, and that’s pretty intolerable.

Note that I didn't say what my politics are, you're making a big assumption there.

Kansas is surprisingly much cooler than Oklahoma

You left off teen fertility rate.

I've been working remote for 7 years, more recently as a software developer consultant. I showed this to my wife about two hours ago and she got really excited. Neither of us like where we are living now, and have been eyeing a relocation to Texas, notably Austin or possibly Dallas. But this is definitely worth a look, based on what we've seen so far.

I'm curious if others in the tech crowd are considering the same. If you are please post your story. It would be encouraging to see other interested this offer. Heck we could be neighbors.

Austin, TX is an amazing place to be. An oasis in the desert, if you asked me.

Just got back from Austin and Dallas. Your options are going to be a lot deeper in both of them. And if you have a family, nothing in OK, sounds very encouraging on the education front.

I don't disagree, as I've been to both places in the past year scoping it out. But what has me intrigued about Tulsa is how far they are going to improve the area.

Let's assume this experiment works, and they draw 200 high-wage tech and creative class workers to the area. Over time, a community forms, startups are launched, and investments are drawn to the area. Quality of life improves, and it draws more of these workers and there's a sort of multiplier effect that transforms the area.

IMO Dallas and/or Austin would be a no-brainer but the cost of living has shot up dramatically in the past few years. But in the end, I guess you get what you pay for.

Your life in Dallas would be so much richer.

Spent 6 months on a project in Tulsa. I’m a big fan of the place. I was in the downtown area and ended up staying in the Mayo hotel most weeks. The incredible thing was that I was in a ~1500 square foot apartment style 2 bedroom with full kitchen and was paying on average 129/night. These rooms were 5-600 a night on weekends but the place was a ghost town during the work week. It was right next to the blue dome and bands like Pearl Jam, rob zombie, Katy perry all stayed in the place while I was there. Downtown becomes a ghost town at 5pm but there is a decent night life as well. I would totally live there.

I don't qualify for this offer, and I wouldn't accept it if I did. I have a ragweed allergy. I was horribly ill when I lived in Kansas, probably at least in part because it is ragweed central. Oklahoma is also ragweed central. So that doesn't work for me.

I liked Oklahoma when I went through there. I spent a few years kind of wishing I could live in Oklahoma. I am a homebody who spends a lot of time online. I need a few decent places to eat and shop, but I can kind of make my own fun.

I mostly don't understand complaints that a city is "boring." I mean, if it has 500 people, okay, I can see that. I need a certain amount of city fabric. But I don't really get it when that gets said about big cities. Tulsa is 400k people.

I have a sister who recently bought a house in Tulsa. Their house is so large it's got rooms she's forgotten about... Pretty new, pool, nice neighborhood. Cost less than $300K. I don't know about the school district (Jenks). I'd sure like to see some progressive voters move down there.

>I'd sure like to see some progressive voters move down there.

Related to this, I wonder what the born&raised locals would think of this incentive. (gentrification?)

There's a lot of oil money in Tulsa, has been for decades. I'm not sure they'll notice.

I went to Jenks! Not sure that helps you decide good vs bad though. :D

Oklahoma public schools have gone downhill so rapidly that past experience is unfortunately no guide to the present.

Jenks High School class of 2016, MIT class of 2020. Honestly, Jenks was an incredible high school to go to since it was public; having a $20M Math and Science center let me go to places like MIT.

My high school having a brand new computer lab completely rebuilt every year, an agricultural sciences program that put most corn country colleges to shame, and a $xx million a year budget surplus let me drop out at 16.

That’s good to hear. I went to OSSM in the 90s and the legislature tried to defund it.

> having a $20M Math and Science center let me go to places like MIT.

No it didn't.

My school not having something like that led to me being unable to apply to MIT.

Both Oklahoma and Vermont have close to a 5% state income tax on the first 100k of income, so for many on HN, this is more like a rebate on state income taxes over the first 2 years. I guess if you always dreamed of moving to these places this could be that little nudge to finally try it out.

This means that states without income tax (WA, NV, TX, TN etc) are yet still more enticing for most high-earning professionals. I agree with other commenters saying this doesn't do much except help the people who always were considering moving to OK/VT.

I've never understood this thinking. A state has a certain amount of expenditures in their budget. They have to acquire those funds somehow. If they don't collect income tax, they bump up food tax, or hotel tax, or restaurant tax, or diesel tax, etc. The money is coming out of your wallet one way or the other.

I live in a state without income tax and moderately high property taxes. This arrangement tends to favor the rich, inheritance owners over the working class. In a state income tax state, my taxes are dependent on me working, and a smaller percentage goes to property.

In a property tax state, my taxes are entirely dependent on the property market, regardless of how much or little I make. When there is a budget shortfall the bureaucrats juice the millage rate. Property re-assessments go up, rarely down. And if you owned property for a long while you pay less in taxes than someone younger and on a lower salary.

> This arrangement tends to favor the rich...

What a complete and utter lie. What hole are you pulling these "facts" from?

> And if you owned property for a long while you pay less in taxes than someone younger and on a lower salary.

You mean, someone retired and unemployed vs. someone at the peak of their career?

Man...you are projecting so hard, it's palpable.

> What a complete and utter lie.

Don't accuse others of lying when even a modicum of good faith points to them simply holding opinions different from yours.

In this case, they are also right. At least under the assumption of taxation linear to property value.

Thats because richer people tend to spend less (as a %) of their income on housing. I hope that's intuitively obvious: making minimum wage, you're likely to spend 40% or 50% of income on rent. At the other extreme, the Bill Gates of the world spend about a Pentium III rounding error of their income.

It's the same with every other consumption taxes. Often, the first $100,000 in value or so are free. That helps a little, but only for the balance between the poor and the middle class. It's almost impossible to adequately tax the super-rich within this framework.

It depends on your situation. I live in a place where I am able to live without a car, for instance, so local gas taxes don't affect my decision making for whether to live here. Income taxes always will.

Or they just don't have nice things.

Drive around on some Houston roads sometime... One time my bumper got popped off by a pothole.

Income taxes are generally either flat or progressive. Most consumption taxes are regressive. So you'd expect that a revenue-neutral change from income tax to sales tax would end up benefitting high income earners.

The problem though, is you need a job. I've looked at Vermont, and several of these other states, but and while I like the real estate prices, and the locale, the big problem is that I still need a job. Unless I want to work remote, there just isn't a lot of demand of for software execs there.

Some place to retire I guess.

If you want to work remote AND live in a very quiet area, there are some nice rural areas of WA state... Remote parts of Chelan and Okanogan counties. Mountains, snow, forests, fruit farms, etc.

Eastern Washington is kind of bland on everything but natural scrub scenery.

Better to work in Vancouver without a state income tax and then shop in Portland without a sales tax.

it really depends where - a rural area outside of the tricities is going to be super dry, scrubby and bland... If you like mountains with real forests, go to north Okanogan county near the BC border, or Ferry or Stevens counties which are similar to northern Idaho.


The area around Lake Chelan is nice but it get super hot in summer. Not Arizona or NM hot, but nearly.


Ha! I lived in West Richland as a kid, and that was exactly what I was thinking about.

But even north of I90 (eg grand coulee) is scrubby. It isn’t bland, I meant that this was the area’s best appeal.

I'd assume the 10k they pay out through this program is also subject to all the income taxes as well.

That’s exactly what it is. Thet’re trying to build local business. Do to lack of general development, they have not attracted larger businesses.

I predict this is going to start a trend. For a whole lot less than the $48,000 a job municipalities paid to attract Amazon why not spend a fifth of that and draw in thousands of remote workers?

@soared pointed out that Vermont is also offering $10,000 to move and work remotely.

I can see this remaining a quiet movement. If it's successful I can see states competing for people the same way they compete for tourism (or on the last page of the travel brochure: "You came, you saw. Want $10,000 and are willing to relocate? Call XXX")

As long as there is not also a trend at companies to offer more remote jobs that unfortunately won't help too much.

I would appreciate it if both things become a trend.

If that becomes a trend, more exotic destinations will be far more attractive. At least, that's what happening with the young demographic of nomads.

I looked into moving to Vermont but the main problem was that there was an extreme lack of housing. The cities in Vermont are incredibly small and have very little in the way of new developments. I tried trawling Craigslist but I just couldn't find many attractive places to live.

Vermont is probably not a place to live in general if you have city living (or even the center of a town with all the amenities) in mind. Mostly, you move to Vermont to get a house in the woods someplace.

Keep in mind that Craigslist may not be the best way to find an apartment. From what I've seen, smaller cities don't tend to use online services for things like apartment hunting. Things are still done the old way: word of mouth, posting signs on the apartment itself, newspaper classifieds.

This is very true. I had a fantastic apartment that I got by walking in and asking about availability. They always seem to have something available within a few months, but don't advertise at all, anywhere. Yet remain at near-100% occupancy.

Actually the only ad they really have is a "now leasing" sign with a phone number near the entrance.

Remote workers already know they can live anywhere, and $10K is nice but for a professional software engineer it's not that great. So while I'm not looking to move, I'm curious what they're using to entice me to want to live there.

What I see is ... a whole lot of drinking-related activities. "Experience" Oktoberfest, "Toast" at lots of bars, "Hang Out" at lots of other bars, "Brew" more beer. I wonder if this is more a reflection of what's in Tulsa, or who their target audience is.

I think it's target audience. If you're in late 20's early 30's and single it hints at a vibrant social life that could lead to a relationship. It's probably easier to move your single self than transition to a long distance relationship or move your whole family. The cash incentive too of $10k goes a lot further in your 20's.

I wonder if they thought that explicitly.

Is Oklahoma still refusing to fund their schools so they can stay open 5 days a week?

Colorado is doing this too because tax increases go to referendum votes and we can't convince people to actually pay for school funding.

Yes. Oklahoma has cut public education more than any other state in the country.

Tulsa native here. Don't do it unless you want to be surrounded by religious nut jobs.

Check out any news article posted here on obesity and health. It's full of smart people that have embraced psuedoscience.

I was in Oklahoma for several years of my childhood. Would not recommend for anyone who isn’t a white Christian. Granted, I was in Stillwater, but OKC and Tulsa are only a little better.

> $10,000 cash.

One thing to note, the state income tax rate in Tulsa is 4.44%, so if your business makes $100,000 a year in profit, expect to pay around $4,500 in state taxes. I live in the great state of Tennessee with zero state income tax, and I'd much rather be in Nashville than Tulsa.

Plus Nashville is surrounded by Tennessee and hundreds of musicians and music lovers. Tulsa is surrounded by Oklahoma.

This is very cool, great website too. I actually looked up Tulsa while reading this. Well done. When I search Tulsa in Google maps the default street view is a desert looking place though. I wonder if they could affect that.

you'd be real close to one of tulsa's best features: https://www.youtube.com/svseeker -- dude's building a giant scientific research boat in his front yard and will host just about anyone that wants to help him work on it. i've been out there twice and it's awesome!

Why not offer incentives to employers to create remote jobs? That’s really where the bottleneck is.

They don't necessarily want more remote workers, they want to attract workers that already have out-of-state jobs so they can collect the easy income tax and income from you living there.

Tulsa's geographic upside is the nearby Ouachita Mountains. There's hiking, climbing and caving, moreso than in nearby cities like Dallas or Wichita.

The downside is five snowy days per year and eleven above 100 Fahrenheit, and occasional cases of scary spinning sky triangles. This rules it out for me.

Oklahoma is ground zero for crazy severe weather. I think they turn the tornado sirens on at the start of spring and just leave them on until about mid summer.

That's self-reported data, rather than anything officially sourced.

Could you explain why someone should believe official sources over those his reporting?

Which is arguably more reliable than "official" data.

26 data points is utterly useless as a representative sample.

Even if it wasn't, people tend to overestimate crime.

My family in Tulsa confirmed that crime has gotten worse.

It can't be worse than Fresno CA .. trust.

If Tulsa would just abandon its racism and religious bigotry I bet they'd attract a lot more folks than this offer will.

I'd love to have some Amazon-style incentives for my remote company to build an "office" in Tulsa.

I've been thinking of a hybrid remote work environment where we just have lots of remote workers that live near each other and can co-work say 2-3x per week - meetup for coffee or have mini hackathons say 1-2x per quarter.

Its interesting - given the 48k/job incentive that was being talked about for the amazon hq2, I wonder how the 10K in Oklahoma incentives compares. Of course, one is a corporate incentive in a place where a lot of skilled workers would likely be either way, and one is a place trying to attract talent, but on some level, it makes me wonder if the outrage over the tax incentives actually makes sense. Given the state income tax revenues and local economy inputs, it would seem that a 10K RAC (Resident Acquisition Cost) for someone making > 50K would be a no brainer assuming they still in Oklahoma for 4 years and the tax obligation is 5% to the state. Not sure what the numbers would look like in NY instead and whether the opportunity cost really applies since it would likely be full of ppl either way.

Yeah but then you’re living in Tulsa...

If the housing assistance wasn’t tied to a specific apartment complex I’d seriously consider it though.

Just relocated back to my home state of California and my wife and I are already planning to leave when the lease is up.

Interestingly enough, the topic of tonight's CBS TV show, "Young Sheldon", was this very topic of moving to Tulsa for work.

At least it's an interesting coincidence to me. Not that I ever watch TV or anything.

I'm a bit confused by the city/town split. I'd definitely describe Tulsa as a city, but then again I'm coming from a 150k people city and living in a 20k people town at the moment. The website seems to use them interchangeably, and I remember an article some time ago describing Austin as a "town" people move to.

What are the thresholds in the US before people start saying something's a city?

IMHO, a town has one main street with the majority of businesses on that street. Don't believe any of the bullshit you read about Austin, it's not a town now and it wasn't a town even back in the 1970's.

Posted on the sister thread...

I think this is a really smart move, but not enough. Most remote employees, well, the ones they want to attract, make good money. 10k frankly isn't much, especially to uproot and move. Tulsa isn't really near anything, nor does it have a fallback job market. Speaking for myself, maybe 30k or a free small house could convince me, not 10k and a possibly discounted apartment...

Yeah. The $10k is essentially a relocation package for anyone with a family and a house. Clearly those folks are not the target audience, sadly.

For this to work, you have to live in Tulsa.

What I’ve never understood- what prevents me from, as a remorlte worker setting up a business in a tax haven and charging through that... I mean if this loophole is available to extremely well off individuals and companies why not for services...

CFC laws, which is something most developed countries have. These will in most cases "look through" artificial companies set up in tax havens and attribute the income to you personally.

I think they usually tax by where you do business (which is usually where you live, for remote work), not where it's incorporated.

> I mean if this loophole is available to extremely well off individuals and companies why not for services...

No you have to move at the very least.



Random thought: why doesn’t the DNC use all their money to fund voter relocation programs? Surely the surplus of California and New York voters could move the needle if they were injected into smaller districts across the board.

No need. People do it them themselves. "On The Media" recently did a segment on Colorado, and the migration from California.


I can’t articulate how your comment makes me feel, but please no.

I’m not advocating for it, I’m earnestly asking why they don’t.

Because they'd rather pay to relocate people from other countries.

Funny enough, the residents of my SF peninsula town (San Carlos, but most others have the same attitude) have had enough of people moving here and want the flow to stop.

Glad to see this initiative by Tulsa.

It seems like every dozen threads or so in the last year have at least one thread with bizarrely cantankerous / dismissive replies, with a few lonely voices saying when did you all get so unhappy?

Tulsa's initiative here is really, really good. It doesn't matter if you want to live in Tulsa, specifically (fine! don't move!), and it doesn't matter if the incentive is high enough to make it Worth It to You Personally.

What matters is that somebody has figured out that the dynamics of the Amazon HQ2 bidding war (roundly critiqued elsewhere, but I'll leave that for another thread) apply to individual remote workers as well --- in other words, potentially to basically everyone reading HN.

Quit whining, and start celebrating. Get this in front of your own city. Show them that there's an opportunity. It has never been a better time to be in software.

I actually liked the idea.. until you made the HQ2 comparison.

Now I'm trying to find a reason why subsidising young, educated, upper-middle class professionals is morally defensible, considering there are still millions of children in the US alone growing up in poverty and chronic food insecurity.

I understand the cash flow may end up net positive for Tulsa when/if people end up staying. But that's not guaranteed. In fact, this is a self-selected group of people defined by exactly their willingness to move when there are opportunities elsewhere.

And there's the risk that it just sets of a competitive race-to-the-bottom. I guess we'd all like our taxes to be cut in half. But US tax rates are already extremely low.

The sort of targeted tax break for a very specific slice of the population also feels...icky? It's no longer progressive taxation with everyone contributing according to their means. It's "I'm young, single, and work with buzzwords. Therefore I don't pay taxes." (10 years later: "I have children and my wife is sick. They know I can't leave and my tax rate quintupled".

Edit: just noticed it's privately financed, undercutting the meat of my complaints. But only until some other city uses public money to keep up.

This is absolutely amazing concept and is a step forward in the right direction. I wish more "non-popular" cities did this.

Whether they succeed or not, it's impressive they came up with this rather than throwing tax cuts to corporations.

I’m not sure about everyone else, but I can point to a very specific date as to when we all became unhappy

Being angry, stressed, pissed, or sad about Trump does not serve you. It won't improve anything, it won't make your wealthier or give you more time with friends and family, or make you popular. It will only serve to give you heartburn, distract you from your job and your relationships and friendships.

I think you would be doing yourself a huge favor to block social media and news sites on your browser and focus on what you can improve in your own life and in your neighborhood.


The United States is a democracy, and the Constitution was framed with the expectation that citizens have the right and even the duty to be both locally and federally involved.

If someone's mental health is at risk, I'm right there with you - throw out Twitter and see a doctor. But being angry at the federal government is just about as American as a cheeseburger, and it's not useless. Demonstrations work, anger works. If for no other reason than so kids 20 years from now don't ask "and everyone was just ok with that?"

I appreciate you're trying to help people but I disagree with your prescription. It whiffs of "your actions don't matter, peasant."

November of last year.

Y'all were pretty miserable before that.

Hate to break it to you, but it's been twice that long. ;)

Ok I will bite. When?

Please enlighten us as to what happened.

I couldn't read more than halfway through the comments before coming back to yours. It's such a shame. Kaiser's effort is quite impressive. Tulsa realizes that the best way to bust all of the stereotypes is to bring people in that will be that change. This will probably turn out well for them. I think that targeting remote workers instead of startups is a much smarter approach. We already have the incomes and once we've put down roots, we're likely to remain. Bring enough remote tech workers in and the startups will naturally follow.

It could go either way, depending on who they end up attracting. Attracting people who appreciate the culture of Tulsa and want to fit in rather than force Tulsa to change to accommodate them would be a good thing for Tulsa. Attracting people who otherwise dislike Tulsa and want to change it is a recipe for disaster.

People don't react well to outsiders coming to their home and telling them how they should live. Just ask all of the states receiving large numbers of California refugees.

You're exactly right, although cities have to an extent always tried to entice people to move there. It's just back in the day there were fewer self-employed people.

As a city dweller though, I think my city(not Tulsa, no worries) doesn't need more single 20-something Internet-or-other remote working desk jockeys. My city needs mothers with young children to use its parks and waiters to staff its restaurants. Also artists to give people better things to do with their leisure time than "hang out at bars". Initiatives like this essentially show our cities have stopped being about local culture, community, and people from different origins choosing to share a way of life and are now just places where people who live in the Internet can look for sex partners and pizza delivery. It's incredibly sad.

LOL... imagining an auction market for incentives to remote workers, where basically the prices get bid up to almost the entire economic contribution of the worker over the time that they live in the city. Like the Japanese hometown tax.

There’s some report bias involved. People tend to share disagreement. But I agree, the original positivity-first tone of this forum is decaying fast. I’ve noticed downvoting to express disagreement also becomes prevalent. It really takes a massive effort, and probably godly miracle, to maintain a community focused on positive energies.

Tulsa, like the rest of Oklahoma has serious problems that have been the genesis of this incredible incentive.

No silver lining in Tulsa.

No direct flights from SF or NYC :(

Hmm I wonder if I'd be eligible for this after having left Oklahoma post high school...

Still way cheaper than what New York and Virginia are paying for HQ2

I wonder if it would be useful to start including political culture in these comparisons. They tend to focus on cost of housing and “quality of life” metrics like the existence of third wave coffee and cocktail bars. And yet, clearly, there’s more to decisions than that. So many people who are queer, minority, or allies, disgusted by Trump and those who vote for him, may deeply resent living in hostile environments. I’m not saying this as a political statement but genuinely trying to highlight a major factor in deciding where to relocate.

I can cite many anecdotes of folks who have tried living in different environments and fled due to (lack of) diversity and the political culture. These pitches and comparative analyses should give it due consideration.

> I can cite many anecdotes of folks who have tried living in different environments and fled due to (lack of) diversity and the political culture.

The opposite is far more common. White Flight is not just the name of my Bee Gees cover band.

That's a fair point. The average voter in Oklahoma goes to the polls the night after watching Rosanne, drinking their 40, and reveling in the latest anti-abortion ad.

Some people just want to go to work and support their families without dwelling on political and cultural issues

What is the subjective experience of a lack of diversity? Boredom?

Ironically, Tulsa had a chance to be a thriving business center around the turn of the century. Unfortunately, the business owners were the wrong skin color as Tulsa was known as The Black Wall Street.

In 1921, a white mob killed hundreds, and white police officers flew planes firebombing 35 blocks, in the first use of air bombing in anger on American soil.


Part of me is happy to see that they're so desperate for business that they're pulling this.

This initiative is apparently funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, not the city of Tulsa itself.

> We created Tulsa Remote to enhance Tulsa's talented and successful workforce community by bringing like-minded, bright and driven individuals to the city for community building, collaboration and networking.

George Kaiser is a billionaire that lives in Tulsa and San Francisco. I have lived and worked in both of those cities myself. I have a much better quality of life in Tulsa. The prospects of owning a home and being able to raise a family in San Francisco are frighteningly hard compared to Tulsa.

Right, but that depends on one's own personal definition of "quality of life". For some people, it involves walkable, transit-friendly neighborhoods, a tolerant/accepting local and state government, and easy access to major airports for international travel. For those things, SF would clearly be the superior option (relative to Tulsa).

What city do you live in and do you judge them by what they did 100 years ago? Not sure why that is relevant.

Are you arguing that the people from that event 100 years ago either all had a change of heart and raised their kids in respect of other humans, or massively left Tulsa for whatever reason, despite their attachment to the town ?

Because short of that, 100 years is roughly two or three generations, and that’s a short time to change the cultural composition of a town’s wealthy layer.

By extension do you judge and dismiss everyone living in Germany today with the same rationale?

A lot of things happened to Germany, from the outside, from the inside, a lot of the people who participated died from the war or in the aftermath, people who survived went through a lot, be it through direct trials or post-war education to children overwatched by the surrounding countries.

It's in my opinion one of the very few example of a recovery after such events.

I came across the "Black wall street" event of Tusla a while ago, and in comparison I don't get the impression that anything was really done to in reparation or even to change the course of things, almost the opposite.

To not be too personal about how shitty I feel it is, from the wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulsa_race_riot#Aftermath

> In the end, no one was convicted of charges for the deaths, injuries or property damage.

> A group of influential white developers persuaded the city to pass a fire ordinance that would have prohibited many blacks from rebuilding in Greenwood.

> No prosecution took place of any whites for actions committed during the riot. The city settled into an uneasy peace, and decades of virtual silence about the events began. It was not recognized in the Tulsa Tribune feature of "Fifteen Years Ago Today" or "Twenty-five Years Ago Today".

To address the "people living today are innocent" part, it's not a matter of being part of the crime or not, but wether the Tusla culture is tainted by its past or not. And to have a culture change, there needs to be recognition, reflection and rejection of past issues, with a strong will to compensate and overcome. Is there any of that?

From the outside, I'd wager Oklahoma wouldn't still have an active branch of the KKK if there was such a dramatic shift.

Germany miraculously overcame the most catastrophically racist culture in modern history and I'm not quite sure how they did it beyond outright banning Nazism.

Meanwhile, I was called a n lover as a child in South Carolina because I had black friends. This is early 2000s, mind you.

Judging an entire population on the sins of their father is just another form of baseless prejudice, like racism, so I don't support it. But deep red America is full of racists. You shouldn't judge a person until you meet them, but there's a reason I left the deep South for San Francisco. I was just tired of the fucking racism, man.

To the topic at hand - an influx of tech workers is probably awesome for changing the cultural zeitgeist of a place like Tulsa, and given that it's a major metropolitan area it probably is far removed from the culture of the 20s, or the surrounding rural areas. But it ain't San Francisco. It's an entirely fair concern, to have to deal with racists there.

To be fair, they underwent Denazification

Nit pick: 100 years is more like four or five generations.

Sins of the father..

Something like this doesn't just blow away in the dust. There are wounds caused by this that will run deep, affecting the community for generations.

So like Los Angeles?

When did LA kill hundreds and have their police firebomb 35 blocks with no consequences for those who took part?

And Tulsa tried to cover it up.

According to the Wikipedia article, I'm reading it such that the city commissioned a study that determined the city police force did target black people? Granted this is generations later.

This is very forward-thinking. Props to whoever came up with this.

They sound desperate.

Why would you move from one place to another place to be a remote worker for a third place? This would make more sense if there were businesses in Tulsa which needed more workers.

Tulsa wants your tax income. If Tulsa can make it attractive, and a person's cost of living is reduced some people may take them up on the offer. Since many remote works choose where to live, a paid opportunity to move could be an ideal situation.

Tulsa has made an offer, that you aren't interested does not mean Tulsa is desperate.

But in actual fact, they are desperate. Property values are dropping, they can't attract people to live there because it's an exceptionally boring place to live.

I have worked full-time remote for almost my entire career, yet I've ended up in big cities exclusively (aside from a couple of few-month stints in a far-flung place every now and then). Why?

- most places who beg for workers of any kind are really boring

- I don't ever want to live somewhere where I'd feel like I'd have a really hard time finding a new job if my current job fell through

- since I'm remote, and travel a lot, access to nonstop flights to almost anywhere is a massive convenience

These kind of programs can probably be a great deal for a very narrow slice of remote workers, the freelancers who are at a stage in their life where a big house and yard and easy access to Costco is more important than arts and culture and nightlife and being able to pick from 2 nonstops to LA or London every hour. And thats OK.

The only catch is probably whether the cities who are offering incentives to family-minded remote workers who don't care about the big city amenities can offer school districts and parks and stuff like that which is important to that audience... "Tulsa" doesn't exactly have a brand that makes me think of it as a place to raise a well-rounded child with diverse educational and extracurricular opportunities, but that could very well just be a branding problem.

> "Tulsa" doesn't exactly have a brand that makes me think of it as a place to raise a well-rounded child with diverse educational and extracurricular opportunities, but that could very well just be a branding problem.

Diplomatic. But you know the answer.

The town has its merits. The arts--especially museums--are quite good, as is a lot of the downtown architecture and housing in midtown (gorgeous houses). It is an oil town after all. With that also comes its fair share of conspicuous consumption in terms of shi-shi restaurants and shopping if that's your thing. The oil industry has also brought in more diversity than you'd think, particularly people from the middle east. The music scene used to be great though fairly country oriented (with lots of blues, rock and swing influence and a big independent/DIY aesthetic), though that genre has certainly lost almost all of its vitality and I expect Tulsa's music scene has gone the same way. The philharmonic and ballet also used to be decent (could be still?) and tickets may be cheap and available enough to just drop in if you're interested.

In terms of big-city amenities, arts, culture, nightlife, etc. it definitely beats the South SF Bay area on all fronts except cheap, delicious Asian restaurants. But it can't compete with LA, SF proper, DC...

You can also expose your children to experiences like having horses, which is harder in cities, but contributes to well-roundedness in a variety of ways. You can even go to the museum in the morning and go ride horses in the afternoon because getting from A to B is easy.

That being said, it is a pretty conservative place, and it's a long way from anywhere that's not (outside of college towns), and it's a long way from anywhere that looks different except the Ozarks. You'd probably be fine as a non-surfing liberal atheist except dating could really suck. Life could also be pretty hard for various ethnicities and other sorts of minorities, but less so than most other places within a thousand miles.


In my experience with many of these places though, a lot of the problems are with the mindset, both of the city itself and of individuals who kind of fall in line.

You can move to a big coastal city and feel the energy of the place--movers moving, shakers shaking--and it's kind of true but it can be very hard to tap into that energy unless you're already connected and have a fair amount of disposable income. If you want to do things, make things, start a business, paint, build boats, join a band, or whatever, it's a lot easier to do in a place where you can afford a garage and not live 40 min outside the city, and where you aren't slammed just trying to pay $3000/month in rent.

If you want to be an active participant in arts, music, crafts, etc. it is generally easier to do in a place like Tulsa or Salt Lake City. You'll have more time and perhaps more income, and networking is pretty easy when the networks are small. You may or may not outgrow the scene eventually. The downside is that people spend a lot of time bitching about how nothing is going on in their small scene or small city and how it'd be so much better to be in a big city with the famous people in their field, and this can be demoralizing to the more sensitive or inexperienced.

However if you want to be a passive participant, a spectator, then it's probably better to be in a city where you can go from gallery to gallery and drink wine and gossip, or if you have the cash on hand to see the luminaries in your musical genre of choice play every Friday night.

The political climate and the absolutely horrid public school funding are doing far more to drive educated white-collar workers away than arbitrary measures of "excitement" ever will.

Looking at their crime rate, I would have to argue that it's an exceptionally exciting place to live, though not in a good way.

Exactly - the catch is, you have to live in Tulsa...

I'm pretty sure they want you to move there and continue working where you already work (remotely).

They do. According to CBS you don't qualify for the benefits if you take a local job.


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