Now is the time to ‘get real’ about Hawaii’s future
by Melissa Newsham, Grassroot Institute, May 12, 2021
Hawaii’s “brain drain” has been an ubiquitous subject in our public consciousness for decades.
But given the economic devastation prompted by the state’s yearlong COVID-19 lockdowns, we now are even more vulnerable to losing the state’s best and brightest to opportunities elsewhere.
Legislative tax bills such as the notorious SB56 haven’t helped, and leaving Hawaii appears more than ever to be an obvious choice.
The state Legislature recently commissioned the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to study the issue, but it’s not like there is any mystery as to why people are leaving.
Certainly, human capital flight is a nuanced issue. But it doesn’t take a Nobel Prize-winning economist to deduce that high taxes in Hawaii, especially during a time of economic turmoil, are part of the problem.
The real barrier facing our policymakers isn’t that this issue is too complex. Rather, it’s that trying to solve it requires an understanding of how their out-of-control spending and consequent high taxes have affected the ability of Hawaii residents to stay in the islands.
The plain fact is we can’t spend and tax our way to prosperity.
So, let’s not waste any more time beating around the bush while locals wave goodbye to their homes, families and friends.
We need to get real about what we need to do to build a brighter future for Hawaii — and work together for the sake of it.
* * * * *
Hawaii Has A Lot Of Unemployed People. But Companies Still Can’t Find Help
CB: … “For the Hawaii economy overall,” UHERO reports, “labor shortages may pose the most daunting impediment to recovery.”….
Hawaii’s unemployment rate is stuck at about 9%, which theoretically means almost one in 10 people seeking work can’t find it. But businesses on the ground report a different picture.
“Although the state is still experiencing relatively high levels of unemployment, there is ample anecdotal evidence that Hawaii’s employers are having substantial difficulty hiring new staff,” UHERO reported. “In fact, labor shortages are becoming a common problem in many industries nationwide as the recovery advances.”
So what’s causing this?
UHERO dismisses one common argument: that the federal CARES Act is to blame. …
Instead, UHERO points to deeper problems.
Perhaps most troubling, the economists report that businesses are struggling to find workers because there are simply fewer people in Hawaii. According to UHERO the pandemic has led to the departure of 16,000 from the labor force, and many of these people have left the state altogether….
UHERO cites U.S. Census data showing Hawaii’s population fell by nearly 9,000 in 2020.
“Although the state’s population has been falling since 2017, the pace of decline doubled in 2020,” UHERO reported. “It is likely that the precipitous job losses and high cost of living in Hawaii have incentivized some unemployed workers without strong family ties in the islands to relocate.”….
read … Hawaii Has A Lot Of Unemployed People. But Companies Still Can’t Find Help