Hawaii Ranked Dead Last in New CNBC National Report for Business Friendliness

HONOLULU - Photo courtesy of HTA
HONOLULU – Photo courtesy of HTA

CNBC has released its report America’s Top States for Doing Business 2013. No surprise to business owners in Hawaii that the 50th state came in dead last in the annual ranking and is considered the worst place to do business in the country.

States were judged in part by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness on ten categories.

Hawaii ranked worst in the categories of infrastructure and cost of living.

Hawaii also ranked poorly for the cost of doing business, technology, business friendliness, the economy, education and the workforce quality.

On the bright side, in the CNBC Report, Hawaii ranked at the very top for quality of life.

The Chicago-based Truth in Accounting produced an exclusive study for Hawaii Reporter on June 28 that compared the results of six state rankings including: Truth in Accounting Taxpayer BurdenForbes Best State for BusinessCNBC Top State for BusinessChief Executive Magazine Best and Worst State SurveySmall Business and Entrepreneurship Council’s Business Policy IndexAmerican Legislative Exchange Council’s Rich State, Poor State Study.

Specifically, Hawaii ranked: 48 (TIA), 49 (CNBC 2012), 48 (Forbes), 43 (Chief Executive Magazine), 40 (ALEC), and 45 (Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council). Hawaii’s 2013 ranking with CNBC just released dropped from near last to last place.

The analysis of the six reports showed Hawaii as consistently being the most hostile place to do business.

Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom, who also heads the small business advocacy group, Smart Business Hawaii, blames the government in large part for the challenging conditions under which Hawaii’s businesses must operate.

“What? Another study showing Hawaii’s business climate in the tank? Not only is there no surprise from business owners, but there is no reaction from government leaders who have created and maintained Hawaii’s hostile business climate,” Slom said.

“Unfortunately there are many people in government and regulated industries that are doing quite well in this environment and have no incentive to change or improve Hawaii’s ability to compete economically,” Slom added.

Slom said “it is a shame” that government officials won’t make the changes they could to help Hawaii’s businesses thrive.

“Those of us in business know that with some simple and basic reforms to the tax, regulatory and employer mandates environment, Hawaii could have not only quality of life but quality of business achievement,” Slom said.




  1. This should come as no surprise to anyone doing business here. Other states work hard to promote business. Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu work hard to put road blocks in your way. For instance, when I applied for a license to do business with the state in a lease arrangement, I waited a year for the lease and then had to walk an application around to more than thirty entities to have it approved. One stop was the liquor board, with which I do absolutely no business. Then combine those issues with just navigating such things as the DMV to get a drivers license or putting your children in schools that are substandard and full of discrimination, particularly in the upper grades, and you have to ask…why would anyone want to move here to do business?

    With Hawaii's climate and the world's most beautiful scenery, why doesnt government get out of the way and let this state develop into the showplace/hub of the Pacific that it should be.

  2. Hawaii Reporter, not to be to nit picky but if "Hawaii Ranked Dead Last in New CNBC National Report as Worst Place to Do Business " wouldn't that then make Hawaii " The best place to do business " ?

    • Ok tried to clarify the report. Thank you. The bottom line is we suck and we suck more than any other state.

      • I've recently been asked to transfer to Hawaii for a medical device sales job. Do you know if the doctors are making any money? Sounds like they are leaving by the hundreds each year.

  3. Okay – but look who made the study – the Manufacturers association. Hawaii's economy is mostly based on tourism and service, not manufacturing, because let's be truthful – we live in the middle of the ocean.

    And – I'm super proud to live in a place with the best quality of life. What is more important, quality of life or good "business development"? We may not make a lot of money according to the government, but we sure are happy people. Put me here instead of Texas anyday.

  4. You betcha.
    Why would this democrat , public union controlled state want any type of competition moving into their turf ?
    Keep the free market out of Hawaii for govt. job security.

  5. it really depends on the business, but i know for a fact the state of hawaii is making it incredibly difficult for its citizens or other people to open up a business there. the process is lengthy and authorities oftenly ask for approval or paperwork that seems irrelevant for your business

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