“Hawaii has much room to improve.” That from a new report from the Mercatus Center that ranks Hawaii the 47th least free state in the nation. The evaluation takes into consideration both economic and personal freedom.
In terms of economic freedom, Mercatus said sales, individual income, and motorvehicle-license taxes are high.
Personal freedom was ranked low because Hawaii’s gun laws are among the worst in the country, smoking bans are universal in public and private places, Hawaii’s marijuana laws are “fairly restrictive,” Hawaii’s gambling laws are the second strictest in the country (Utah is the strictest), and Hawaii has not enacted same sex marriage.
The report also notes that educational regulation is “excessive” because private schools must gain state approval to operate and there are “significant” homeschool regulations.
The authors recommend that Hawaii’s government could do the following to increase its ranking:
- “Eliminate the state approval requirement for private schools.
- “Enact same-sex partnerships.
- “Enact strong prohibitions on private-to-private eminent-domain transfers with blight reform.”
Hawaii Business Climate Ranks Poor in National Survey
ChiefExecutive.net has rated Hawaii the 43rd worst place to operate a business in the nation, largely because of Hawaii’s taxes and regulations and workforce quality.
Increasing the ranking over 7 other states was Hawaii’s living environment.
Statistics from the report show:
Taxation and Regulations
- State Corporate Income Tax Rate: 6.40%
- Highest Personal Income Tax Rate: 11%
- % with High School diploma or more: 90.3
- % with Bachelor’s degree or more: 29.1
- % with Advanced degree or more: 9.9
- Patents per 100K: 9.34
- % of Employed Represented by Unions: 23.5
Quality of Life
- Hopsitals per 10K: 0.188
- Elementary/Secondary Schools per 1000 people: 0.223
- Violent Crimes per 100K: 279.15
Hawaii’s ranking has fallen in recent years. Hawaii ranked 41 in 2009, 42 in 2010 and 43 this year.
The report also notes that Hawaii ranks 10th in state dept per capita with $5,328.
No surprise that the report shows the state of Texas at the top of the Best and Worst States for Business ranking for the 7th year in a row with North Carolina and Florida second and third best respectively. Illinois, New York and California were ranked last.
“Not surprisingly, states with punitive tax and regulatory regimes are punished with lower rankings, and this can offset even positive scores on quality of living environment. While state incentives are always welcome, what CEOs often seek are areas with consistent policies and regulations that allow them to plan, as well as intangible factors such as a state’s overall attitude toward business and the work ethic of its population,” the report said.
Over 550 CEOs participated in the survey that determined the ranking.
Mismanagement at Hawaii’s Public Housing Continues
The state auditor’s report on the Hawaii Housing Authority shows that the mismanagement of the state’s public housing continues.
The report notes that the authority oversees and manages 5,331 public housing units in 67 federally-funded buildings and 864 units in 14 state-funded buildings.
“During FY2007-2010, the authority lacked staff with the resources and time to sufficiently monitor project managers’ performance. Oversight for rent collection, federal reporting, and issues affecting tenants’ daily lives—such as building conditions, property upkeep, and timely addressing of repair and maintenance problems—was erratic. Both state- and privately-run housing projects reported backlogs in repair and maintenance. Turnaround on vacant units was slow, adversely impacting families on the waiting list as well as rent collections,” the report said.
One of the most stunning notes in the report is the fact that 9,000 Hawaii families are on a wait list for public housing and they have waited 2 years to 5 years to get into that housing.
Meanwhile, the authority has 233 units that are vacant because they need maintenance work or are still sitting vacant after 6 months.
“… delays in turning around vacant units negatively impacts families waiting for public housing, rent revenues, and overall funding available to the authority,” the report said.