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Thursday, January 21, 2016
Hawaii Economic Outlook Slips in National Standings
By Grassroot Institute @ 4:57 AM :: 4416 Views :: Economy, Hawaii Statistics

Hawaii Economic Outlook Slips in National Standings

Grassroot Institute says 'Rich States, Poor States' Report Provides Road Map to Prosperity for Aloha State

News Release from Grassroot Institute

HONOLULU, HAWAII--January 20, 2016--With the release of the 8th edition of the ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index (otherwise known as "Rich States, Poor States"), Hawaii's economic outlook appears to have taken a step backwards. After many years in the Index's bottom ten, the state's position began to improve. In the newest edition of the Index, however, the lack of real reform has begun to have its effect, and Hawaii has slipped from a rank of 36 to 37 in economic outlook.

The low ranking is largely the result of the local tax burden, and it's worth noting that Hawaii ranked 50th overall in sales tax burden and estate/inheritance tax as well as 48th in top marginal personal income tax rate and 46th in "remaining tax burden." The state also ranked 50th in the effect of the state's policy of forced unionization on economic performance. An ominous note was also struck by the ranking of 33 in absolute domestic migration, a reflection of the brain drain that may cripple economic growth for years to come.

There were some bright spots in the report, especially the rank of 8 in "recently legislated tax changes" and the overall economic performance ranking of 18. The challenge, explained Grassroot President Keli'i Akina, Ph.D. is to use the best practices outlined in the report as a road map to increasing the state's economic prosperity.

"It is a simple fact that a state cannot tax its way to prosperity," stated Dr. Akina. "The 'Rich States, Poor States' Index is an example of competitive federalism in action. The states that show the most growth are the ones that embrace policies that are attractive to both business and workers. That means embracing real, substantial reform, not using taxes and incentives as a way to pick and choose economic winners."

"As we begin this new legislative session, our goals are clear," continued Dr. Akina. "We must reduce the regressive and burdensome general excise tax and lighten the tax burden on ordinary Hawaiians. That is the way to improve our cost of living and spur real economic growth in Hawaii."

The Rich States, Poor States report can be viewed in its entirety at:

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About the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii:

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market, and limited, accountable government throughout Hawai`i and the Asia-Pacific region.  Read more about us at

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About Grassroot President:

Keli’i Akina, Ph.D.,  is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader in Hawaii.  Currently, he is President/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a public policy think tank dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government.  An expert in East-West Philosophy and ethics, Dr. Akina has taught at universities in China and the United States and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawaii Pacific University.  Dr. Akina was a candidate for Trustee at Large of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in the 2014 General Election run-off.


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