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I don't know if there is a "minimum wage" in SimCity 4, or if even the concept of a minimum wage is meaningful in a simulation game, but it seems to me there is a "lowest wage".  For instance, if the simulation decides to build a "Depessies Diner," a few R$ jobs are created (waiters, waitresses, busboys, etc), a few R$$ jobs are created (the franchise owner, the overall manager of the restaurant, perhaps one or 2 others) and for that business, there are probably no R$$$ jobs created.  My understanding is that rather than a bunch of individuals being simulated, several aggregators are updated, such as the number of R$ or R$$ jobs, the total number of low (medium?) wealth businesses, etc.

I looked for an articles where the "minimum wage" (or "lowest wage")  might be calculated, or at least talked about, but I could find nothing.  I am pretty sure that R$ are probably something like people with wages that are perhaps 1-3 times the lowest wage, R$$ are people with jobs that pay 4-10 times the minimum, and R$$$ jobs pay 11 and more times the minimum (or the appropriate counters are updated).  If maxis or EA has said something "official" about that, I cannot find anything.  If any one has done any calculations about this, I cannot find this either.

The closest I could find were some articles trying to establish an exchange rate between USD and simoleons, but the articles I found applied to the Sims and not necessarily SimCity.  One said that based on the price of gold at the time, a simoleon is worth ~$15, so apparently gold can be pucrchased in the Sims, but not in SC4 (or at least there is no way I know of),  Another article said this is wrong, and compared the price of cars in the Sims with their analog in the real world, and came up with an exchange rate of closer to ~2 to 3 dollars per simoleon.  Though these were from the sims, I saw another article that made the contention that simoleons had the "same value" across the SimCity games, the Sims games, and any other spinoffs.  O f course, a few years ago I did a calculation that based on the cost of a real tennis court vs. the cost of a tennis court in SC4, a simuleon came out to being worth ~$500.

Well anyway, back to my calculation of the "minnimum wage".  I think I can take the total amount of taxes that are paid by R$ residents, mutiply it by 100/9 (11.1...) to calculate the total income of the R$ residents, then divide it by the number of R$ residents (or at least R$ wage earners) to get an average wage for R$ workers.  Then I could do the same for R$$ and R$$$ wage earners (I don't think R$$$ residents are the same as R$$$ wage earners since a R$$$ resident might be a small child, and therefore not a wage earner., then play about with the ranges (for example assume that R$ workers make 1-3 times the minimum, and that R$$ workers make 4-10 times the minimum,etc.) to at least estimate the "minimum" or at least "lowest" wage.  Or is that too simplistic way of doing it, and if it is too simplistic, what might be a better way.  I also downloaded the CORIreports addon, and some of the numbers from those reports might be useful in making these "minimum wage" calculations, rather than trying to "guess" the numbers based on the charts/graphs given in the game.

Brian Christiansen

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You have to remember that the Sims don't actually pay the taxes based on any form of income.  Tax income is generated by the tax rate, value of the building and occupancy of the building.  I could not find a formula that actually shows how the simulation takes those three factors and calculates a tax income from a building.  Without the equation, I think it would be difficult to try to find a correlation between the value of the building and a Sims income.  But if you do happen to find the correlation through diligent study and observation, then I think it would benefit the SC4 community overall.  Let us know what you find out.

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  • Original Poster
  • 5 hours ago, Prophet42 said:

    Tax income is generated by the tax rate, value of the building and occupancy of the building.

    Does that mean that taxes are more analogous to a property tax rather than an income tax.  For example, the president of Max's microchips, which I am almost certain would be an R$$$ job, pays taxes on his big fancy mansion rather than on his actual income.

    5 hours ago, Prophet42 said:

    I could not find a formula

    Somebody somewhere may have deduced an approximate  formula somewhere, but I am pretty sure the actual one that the actual SC4 executable uses is probably under lock and key at Maxis or EA games, or whoever owns them now.

    Based on the assumption that taxes in SC4 are somewhat analogous to income taxes, using the method I described in my OP, I came up with these figures (I can detail all of the figures I used if you wish, but for now I will just report the results):  R$ - 6 simoleons/year, R$$ - 20 simoleons/yr R$$$-94 simoleons/year.

    Even though an operating budget of 2000 simoleons for an international airport indicates (at least to me), that a simoleon is a quite valuable unit of currency, 6, 20, or even 94 is quite low.  It also does not really jive with the reported overall average of ~30,000 (simoleons/year?) that the in-game graphs showed at the time I got the relevant figures.  Even 100 times the figures I got is quite low and does not really jive with an average of 30,000.

    Brian Christiansen

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    7 hours ago, brianc1327 said:

    Does that mean that taxes are more analogous to a property tax rather than an income tax.

    I'd say: Yes.

    And it would jibe with the real world (at least in the state where I live). Here the annual property tax is 1% of the market value of the property for owner occupied homes and 2% of the value for non-owner occupied (rental units). Assessment is supposed to be true market value so if the tax amount on an owner occupied home is $2,350 then the assessor's office is saying the home should sell on the open market for $235,000. If a tenant occupied home has a tax amount of $1,500 then the assessor is saying it's worth $75,000. None of this has anything to do with the income of the owner or occupants.

    Keep in mind that in the real world the assessors do valuations in mass and any given property might actually be worth more or less than the value they assign to it.

    So, taking an example from the game:

    img4492.jpg

    ^ This is the only house in this city tile. (Jobs are nearby in the tile to the north.)

    We see they pay §17 per month in taxes so that's §204 per year which would indicate a value of §20,400 for the home. As the R§§§ homes are to represent the elite properties this home in the real world would prolly have a value around $500,000 so that'd make a §imoleon worth about $24.51.

    Figuring it another way, banks will allow about 28% of one's gross income for a monthly housing payment. This includes the mortgage payment, the monthly property tax, and the required homeowner's insurance. If the down payment when purchasing is less that 20% it also has to factor in PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). Let's say our Sim has a stellar credit rating and does make a down payment of 20%. They are then financing §16,320 of the value of that §20,400 home. At current the current rate of 4.45% their mortgage payment would be §82 per month. Taxes we know are §17 per month. And homeowner's insurance at 0.6% would be §10 per month. This gives us §109 per month for their housing expense. Divide that by 0.28 and they should be making about §389 per month or §4,668 per year. If the §imoleon is worth $24.51 then that equates to an annual income of $114,413.

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    On 6/11/2018 at 7:07 PM, Prophet42 said:

    Tax income is generated by the tax rate, value of the building and occupancy of the building.

    ^ Bold added.

    From a limited test, it doesn't appear the number of occupants affects the tax amount:

    img4493.jpg

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    10 minutes ago, CorinaMarie said:

     

    From a limited test, it doesn't appear the number of occupants affects the tax amount:

     

    Yeah, I'm not sure either.  I got that information from the Prima guide, but haven't done any independent studies to confirm it.  Also, the factors included in the tax revenue from a building are only mentioned once in the guide.

    Also, from your image, where did the extra Sim come from?  If your sole residential building has 4 residents, but the town has 5 residents, is the odd guy out homeless?

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    8 hours ago, Prophet42 said:

    Also, from your image, where did the extra Sim come from?  If your sole residential building has 4 residents, but the town has 5 residents, is the odd guy out homeless?

    Yes, it is still the only building (residential or otherwise) in that city tile. I believe it is one of the quirks of how Maxis sometimes rounds a number and sometimes truncates it. The total population is prolly 4.87 or some such. (I could run a C.O.R.I. Report using NumbersFormat=raw option to be sure, but I'm already certain that's the case.)

    Let's just say it is a frustrated, homeless Sim what with the dilapidation of the property and all.

    Could it be the Prima guide is referring to Fill Capacity as the maximum Occupancy and therefore different sized homes on the same lot footprint would have a different tax revenue? But then always be the same for it once grown?

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    Hm... not basing tax income on actual/current/effective occupancy makes perfect sense to me. It changes frequently and depending on many factors, and I imagine tracking all these fluctuations for all the buildings to be quite the nightmare to program and to have the game perform. Per-building settings seem to be a much more logical and efficient choice to me (the game saves/tracks any grown or plopped lots anyway!), and I guess this method still offers sufficient scaling effects.

    Doesn't the Building Value property determine tax amounts, though? This could be tested by letting a building dilapidate: It will change wealth and occupant figures, but there is only ever one Building Value property. Of course, it could be that its value is multiplied with a certain factor if the building is in dilapidated state... hm.

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    13 hours ago, T Wrecks said:

    Doesn't the Building Value property determine tax amounts, though? This could be tested by letting a building dilapidate: It will change wealth and occupant figures, but there is only ever one Building Value property. Of course, it could be that its value is multiplied with a certain factor if the building is in dilapidated state... hm.

     

    Here's the same house with 25 Medium Wealth Sims living there:

    img4534.jpg

     

    And here we let 54 Low Wealth Sims occupy it:

    img4527.jpg

     

    Notice the tax collected is §12 from the R$$ and §8 from the R$. I believe it is simulating the degradation of the home and lowering its value. In both cases the number of Sims living there had no affect on the tax collected. (It varied as I zone some other places to work or bulldozed them.)

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    Wow, you are fast! And diligent - but we knew that already. *;)

    Back to topic: This seems to confirm my theory that tax income may be based on a property that's independent of occupant numbers, but responds to wealth changes. Following the values starting from the low end, the progression is: R$ × 1.5 = R$$; R$$ × 1.42 = R$$$. With such small numbers and 1.42 being so close to 1.5, the deviation may be a rounding effect? *:ninja: /speculation

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    13 minutes ago, T Wrecks said:

    With such small numbers and 1.42 being so close to 1.5, the deviation may be a rounding effect? *:ninja: /speculation

    A more viable test would be a large residential building (so the margin of error would be less) such as McCormick Place which has capacity of 1,367, 2,816, and 5,628 respectively for R$$$, R$$, and R$. I'm comfy enough with presuming 1.5 is the correct factor.

     

    Getting back to @brianc1327's idea of determining income levels for the 3 residential classes how about this? Since R$ will pack in 4x as many Sims and they pay 50% as much in taxes for a building as R$$$ and R$$ will have 2x as many and pay 75% as R$$$ we then need 8x R$ to get the same tax income or 3x R$$. So we could say their income percentages are 12.5% for R$, 33.3% for R$$, and 54.2% for R$$$ of the total revenue.

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    Just some thoughts:

    1.  I think I might have figured out the tax income calculation.  The default Building Value for the Stone Mansion is 2288.  2288 * .09 (9%) = 205.92 / 12 months = 17.16 per month.  Too close to be coincidence??  This would obviously need testing on multiple buildings.

    2.  I don't think that Building Value (in and of itself) can be used when trying to determine income levels.  Although haven't done any testing to verify it, I think building value is a function of LOD size (or square footage) and wealth level.  On top of that, Building Value is a something that can be easily manipulated.  

    3.  We know that we can keep low-wealth Sims low-wealth by denying them education.  Therefore, it would make sense that there is a direct correlation between wealth level and education level (as Cori mentioned "... but the graphs I posted seemed to show the average income tracking one to one with the Education Level of the city without regard to wealth level.").  It would make more sense for the developers of the game to create simple trigger points (i.e. at x education level, Sims are automatically advanced to medium wealth, and at y education level, Sims are advanced to high-wealth), rather than coming up with some potentially complicated calculations.  It would also alleviate the need for introducing a concept of income for Sims.  The range of income for each wealth level is simply bounded by those trigger points.

    4.  If Maxis had implemented a concept of income, realistically that would have opened up a gigantic can of worms (i.e. personal and business income taxes, all the factors that determine those taxes, personal income based on salary vs. based on some defined "minimum wage", bonuses, tips, businesses actually selling good and services, Sims actually purchasing those goods and services, sales taxes, banking, credit, savings, etc.).  In the end one needs a supercomputer to run the Simulation.  Much easier to just not go there.  There is nothing in the simulation that appears to have any correlation with any exactly defined income number.

    5.  Maxis treats most aspects of life (health care, death, education, crime, crime prevention / attenuation. radius of effect of police and fire stations, etc.) very simplistically, and which in no way can be correlated with and/or explained by real life.  So why should we expect such concepts as income and exchange rates to be treated any differently. 

    6.  I understand that all of this is essentially an academic exercise because "Inquiring minds want to know."  Someone will eventually come up with some formula or set of numbers that somehow makes sense.  But the bottom line is that whatever numbers are eventually arrived at will have zero impact within the context of the simulation.  If there is no way to manipulate something (i.e. it's not a property in one of the simulation exemplars), the it just is what it is, whether it makes any sense compared to real life or not.

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    16 hours ago, twalsh102 said:

    Although haven't done any testing to verify it, I think building value is a function of LOD size (or square footage) and wealth level.  On top of that, Building Value is a something that can be easily manipulated.

    I'm frankly not quite sure how the Plugin Manager calculates the value it suggests for the Building Value property (or for most other properties, for that matter!). What I do know is that I used to have frequent, wide, and sudden fluctuations in my income graph before I started modding my plugins. After I had changed all Building Value properties to values in line with the ones set by Maxis for the vanilla buildings, these fluctuations were not only reduced, but disappeared altogether.

    I guess that before I went ahead and modded my stuff, buildings with values totally out of whack would grow and be replaced, causing the fluctuations I observed. After modding, even a bunch of 20 or 30 buildings popping up somewhere (or being replaced) within a short period of time wouldn't cause fluctuations. I took this as a confirmation that my eyeballed "Maxis-compatible" values weren't so bad at all. To be fair, I guess you must stray really far from default values to cause trouble, and I have the impression there's a wide margin of tolerance before things start acting up.

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