Think About it: Business Blues - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

December 18, 2012

Think About it: Business Blues

Annually, through one survey or another, we get reminded just how tough it is to do business in Hawaii. A recent survey by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council that looks at the environment for small businesses ranked Hawaii at #45 or 5th from the bottom. The survey has been released annually since 1995, and looks at factors such as personal income, taxes, and the costs of business essentials like electricity and gas. 

Along with negative marks for the highest level of any state in consumption-based taxes, and the high level of government debt and spending here, the Council's survey also dinged Hawaii for its high crime rate, which is interesting since Honolulu itself always ranks among the safest metropolitan areas in the country. Forbes ranked Honolulu as the #3 safest big U.S. city two years ago, with a #4 safest ranking in violent crime.

The point is that, yes, Honolulu consistently ranks low in business amenities and help for entrepreneurs, but sometimes you have to look behind the numbers to see where the statisticians are getting their information and how the data is weighted. The #1 state for doing business? That would be South Dakota, which has no income tax and low property taxes among other things working in its business climate favor. Apparently, the weather climate in Sioux Falls or Rapid City from November through March did not deter the rankers from placing "The Mount Rushmore State" on top. At the end of the day, the issues of note behind Hawaii's perennial bad business rankings need to be addressed, but they also must be weighed against things like climate, quality of life, culture, and other intangibles, or else why would anyone stay here? Think about it…


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