Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Bad News has a Silver Lining
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 1:45 AM :: 2454 Views :: Hawaii Statistics

Bad News has a Silver Lining

From Grassroot Institute, November 9, 2018

At first it would seem like great news that Hawaii moved up a surprising eight places in the latest annual Economic Freedom of North America Index, from 45th among all U.S. states in 2017 to 37th in 2018.

But things are not always what they seem.

In this case, economic freedom in Hawaii actually diminished during the latest measurement period, from 6.3 in the 2017 Index to 5.48 — with 10 being the most free. But economic freedom in certain other states declined even worse during the same period than in Hawaii.

So here we are, wishing we could celebrate but can’t.

Yes, we are happy that Hawaii passed Vermont, New Mexico, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Delaware and Ohio to make it to 37th. Our former rank of 45th is now held by Oregon, which was 40th in 2017.

Scrabbling at the bottom of the rankings were New York (50th), Kentucky (49th), West Virginia (48th), California (47th) and Alaska (46th). The five states with the highest levels of economic freedom in 2017 were — from first to fifth — Florida, New Hampshire, Texas, Tennessee and South Dakota.

Again, it’s a happy day that Hawaii, for a change, is not scraping along the bottom anymore in this annual index of economic freedom. But that is based on a relative measurement — comparing Hawaii against all the other states.

Going by objective measurements, the sad truth is that economic freedom in Hawaii deteriorated in 2016, the data this year’s Index is based on. Here are some of the reasons:

>> In the category of “Sales Tax Revenue as a Percentage of Personal Income,” Hawaii’s general excise tax earned a score of 0.00 — the worst of any state.

>> In the category of “Top Marginal Income Tax Rate,” Hawaii tied for 49th with Minnesota. Only California did worse.

>> Concerning state property taxes, normally an area of strength in nationwide surveys, Hawaii took a hit.

>> In the category of “Labor Market Freedom,” Hawaii also took a hit, reflecting the state’s heavy union presence and minimum-wage increases.

And things are only going to get worse before they get better. The data for this year’s Index — produced annually by the Canada-based Fraser Institute, the Mexico-based Caminos de la Libertad and the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii — doesn’t include changes to tax and labor laws since 2016 that are likely to lower Hawaii’s score in the future.

The good news is that the annual Economic Freedom of North America Index provides a road map to freedom and prosperity. There’s no mystery or magic formula to improving our state’s economy. It’s all there in the Index: Trim government regulations, reduce our infamous tax burden, expand labor market freedom, and more.

With such a road map in hand, and working together, we in Hawaii can successfully work our way toward the top of the economic freedom ranking, no matter how you want to measure it.

E hana kākou! (Let’s work together!)

Keli'i Akina, Ph.D.



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii