The libertarian think tank the Cato Institute has a new project in which it analyzed all 50 U.S. states regarding “respect for individual freedom,” and it found Hawaii wanting.
Specifically, says the study, “Hawaii’s fiscal policy is ‘tax and spend’ with state-level taxes rising from 7.8 percent in FY 2009 to 9.3 percent in FY 2013. Local government taxes are also at a very high level considering how little it has to do at 3.0 percent, only slightly below the national average.”
And this: “Hawaii does badly in almost all categories of regulatory policy but the two worst are land-use and labor-market freedom. It has no right-to-work law, a minimum wage that is set to rise in 2017, and an occupational entry which is much more regulated than the rest of the country.”
And this: “Personal freedom is in the lower range, with increased victimless crime arrests, low gun and tobacco rights, and the state has virtually no legal gambling. However, Hawaii does have better incarceration rates and alcohol freedom than the national average.”
To improve things, Cato recommends that Hawaii do this:
cut spending “on sanitation and sewerage, parks and recreation, public buildings, health and hospitals” and other “miscellaneous” areas;
relax the state’s “extreme land-use regulations”; and