I have lived in Massachusetts for most of my adult life. It was by accident. Grad school here plus my first job, which was the best first job in the world for my career path. I’d prefer the mountains in West (Canmore, AB or Boulder or someplace in New Mexico) or Marin County (not so much now with the fires) but ShawWife is rooted here. So we bought an extraordinary house here and hope to live a long life and expire in it.
Taxes really aren’t that bad but the people are what distinguishes the Boston area . Outside of the arts, there are more interesting people per capita here. The hospitals are great, the folks who work in biotech do really interesting things, the professors are often working on fascinating stuff. We had over for brunch a former professor who is trying to help companies account for sustainability (ESG) in financial reporting; a landscape architect; a former management consultant who is now working for a very large company that has had public problems trying to help them communicate with the market, the public, and regulators in a more effective way, a retired neurologist who focused on the neurology of reading, etc. Many of our friends are doing interesting things so it is fun to talk with them.
And, for the tax-phobic, they can do what the former owner of this house did. He made Florida his main home for tax purposes (actually fully legitimate in terms of usage as far as I can tell) and hence avoided MA income tax, which is now 5%. If I were to avoid state tax, I could finance a decent mortgage in Florida. But, we would legitimately have to live there for 6+ months a year, which would not excite my wife.
The much bigger effect, frankly, is that real estate is very expensive and property taxes rise with real estate prices. Although our property taxes are lower than NH, the base real estate value is higher than NH. According to that not totally accurate source Zillow, my house has risen $500K in value since we bought it in Jan 2020. We will have to pay for that for years to come.