Experts point to 'fragile' economy, tight housing market, and ‘hidden’ taxes

Published On: Apr 03 2013 06:25:00 PM HST

"To see what something costs here and then the mainland is frustrating," said one woman in downtown Honolulu.

It's a distinction we didn't want and love to hate.

"It's kind of like the potholes. We all know there's a problem," said Sen. Sam Slom.

For the third year in a row, the website ranked Hawaii the "Worst State in the Nation to Make a Living."

"What you need and what you make doesn't match," said Pam Heya.

"We have a very fragile economy," said Lowell Kalapa of the Tax Foundation.

He gave tourism a thumbs up for bringing big bucks to the state, but said it sure doesn't bring stability to workers.

"Most of our jobs are service jobs so those jobs are subject to the fluctuation of demand," he said.

And Kalapa said you can thank a five percent urban zone for a painfully priced housing market.

"In other words, less than 5 percent can be built upon, so when you have that kind of constriction, supply is constricted, the demand is high, the price has to go up," he said.

But Kalapa says the GET or general excise tax is the real doozie.

"Because it hits everything," said Kalapa.

It's not just on the food we buy, but the services we need, and the businesses we work for.

Kalapa said in reality it equates to a 10 or 11 percent tax on the way we live.

"I definitely noticed the cost of living," said Kyle O'Keefe who moved here from Wisconsin three weeks ago.

There is a shred of good news.

When it comes to workplace environments Hawaii ranks No. 1, not just because of the place, but because of the people.

"It's really a shame because Hawaii has so much potential, so many good people," said Slom.

"I love it here and I don't want to live anywhere else," said Heya.

"When I get off work I get to go to the beach and it's not snowing like Wisconsin," said O'Keefe, smiling.

The ranking factored in average wage, cost of living, taxes and workplace environments.

Washington State ranked as the best place to make a living with an average wage of $50,000 and no income tax.

But this should make you feel better; Washingtonians live with an average of 230 cloudy days a year.


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