Hawai‘i ranks 48th out of 50 states as a place favorable for business, according to a recent CNBC special report on “America’s Top States for Business.” The report is not good news for Hawai‘i’s working families.
Our costs of living, doing business, transporting goods, and most of all, running government are among the highest in the nation. For these reasons, Hawai‘i has become one of the least business-friendly states in America. Having served in the Hawai‘i State House and on the Honolulu City Council, I know that we cannot continue to punish businesses and still provide for a prosperous Hawai‘i.
But the anti-business policies that I fought in state and local government are dwarfed by the tax-and-spend agenda that I am battling in the United States Congress. It seems that for every problem facing our nation, the government’s answer is to spend and spend some more.
Spending too much money today sows the seeds for higher taxes tomorrow. Ineffective government programs, massive bailouts and punitive new laws breed anxiety. This anxiety ultimately hinders investment and economic growth. The blow falls hardest on small businesses.
Fiscally responsible policies have the opposite effect. Economies grow when individuals and companies have more money to expand their businesses and to start new ones. We put more money into the economy when we lower taxes and create the confidence that banks and other financial institutions need before they will lend to working families, small businesses and budding entrepreneurs. These are not new ideas. For more than two hundred years, Western economies have flourished by relying on the power of human innovation and hard work.
Despite our unwelcoming business environment, Hawai‘i was ranked as the best state nationwide for quality of life. I am fortunate to have grown up in Hawai‘i and to now raise my family in Hawai‘i. If we are able to combine Hawai‘i’s natural beauty with inviting, business-friendly policies, the future is bright for our state.
Until then, I will continue to advocate for fiscal restraint in Washington, DC. I will continue to support policies that lower the tax burden for Americans in Hawai‘i and on the mainland. And I will continue to work with my colleagues at the local, state and national levels to encourage investment and business development. Businesses need to know that Hawai‘i is not only open for business, but that Hawai‘i is business-friendly as well.