Last week Hawaii was named the worst state for business, this week the worst state in which to make a living. Hawaii finished dead last among all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the latest rankings put out by MoneyRates.com. The California-based website says our cost of living and above average housing costs are to blame. Factor in the second highest tax rate in the nation and Hawaii is far worse off than its closest competition...Oregon and Maine. And Hawaii may be at the bottom for a while.
" I don't see any of those types of things changing, like cost of living, unless there's a huge recession and housing prices plummet," said economist Susan Yamada from the University of Hawaii. Yamada said if you're feeling the pinch, you're in good company, "When you're looking at how difficult it is to making a living and pay all your bills in Hawaii, hey I think welcome to the club. I think many of us are having that same issue in Hawaii."
At the other end of the spectrum is Texas, Washington, and Wyoming ...the nation's best places to make a living. All states without income taxes. But that isn't all they have going for them. Just take a look at the cost of basic groceries. A gallon of milk is almost 2 and half dollars more in Hawaii than in Texas. A loaf of bread and a dozen eggs are both nearly a dollar and a half more here in the islands. Yamada says paying employees in sunshine just isn't enough to break the cycle.
"Unfortunately that does not pay the bills. You're still going to have pay HECO, but there's an alternative otherwise why stay here right?"
Unfortunately good weather and sandy beaches aren't enough for many local families. The latest census statistics show more people are leaving the state than are moving here. Yamada believes the only way to reverse that trend is for state leaders to get involved.