Hawaii is a great state to live in. The people of the state are generally happy, the weather is nice and residents tend to enjoy a greater level of financial stability than those of other states. Aside from the picture of the average resident of Hawaii, you also have the financial condition of the state itself. For many, this may not seem like an issue that has much impact on everyday life, but it does matter. To get a better picture of the financial state of Hawaii, let’s take a look at a few facts.
According to a report by Truth in Accounting, the state of Hawaii had close to $19.3 billion that needed to be paid out. Much of this was from bonds and retiree healthcare benefits – both of which accounting for over $9 billion of the state’s total expenses.
From the same report, it finds that the state has about $24.8 billion in assets. However, much of the state’s assets are not available to pay these bills that come due. Some of the assets, like land, buildings and roads are not available to pay the state’s expenses. Then you have other assets that are legally or contractually restricted and cannot be sold by the state to meet its financial obligations. Accounting for these factors, the state of Hawaii has about $5.7 billion available to pay its bills.
With more than $19.3 billion in expenses and only about $5.7 in available capital to pay these expenses, it means that Hawaii has a budget that exceeds the available assets of the state by more than $13.5 billion. This makes for a tax burden of about $28,500 per taxpayer in the state of Hawaii. Essentially, that means that if the state were to pay all of its bills, it would have to use all of its available assets and collect $28,500 in revenue for every taxpayer. This $28,500 share of the burden is down from a recent high in 2012 of $41,300 per taxpayer.
However, Hawaii is one of the better states to live in regard to the financial health of the individual. The median income is higher than the national average and it has one of the lower rates of bankruptcy. That said, the cost of living is higher in Hawaii than in most other states and consumer debt is higher per person than in most other states.
In a measure of the financial wellbeing of the average Hawaiian, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index reported in 2015 the residents of Hawaii had the highest score for financial wellbeing in the entire country. On a scale from zero to one hundred (zero being the worst and one hundred being the maximum best score), the average resident of Hawaii scored a 66. This is not only the best in the nation, but it is also more than six points higher than the national average.
An additional point is that Hawaii has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States. At the end of 2015, the state unemployment rate was marked at 4.5%, which was more than 2% lower than the national average.