According to analysis by Truth in Accounting, Hawaii does not have enough assets available ($4.6 billion), to pay the state's bills, ($23.5 billion). The difference between assets and bills is $18.9 billion. That debt divided by the number of taxpayers reveals Hawaii's per-taxpayer burden of $41,300 in 2012.  Only eight states--Alaska, North Dakota, Iowa, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Nebraska, and Wyoming--achieved a per-taxpayer surplus in 2012.

Hawaii lagged behind the 180 day goal time between the close of its fiscal year and release of its 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), publishing the report 207 days after the fiscal year-end.  The timeliest states- Utah (111 days), Washington (138), and Michigan (151)- published their CAFRs well before the 180 day deadline. The worst state, New Mexico, took 426 days, over a year after fiscal year end, to publish its CAFR.

Truth in Accounting has a unique, comprehensive methodology to analyze all state assets and liabilities, including unreported pension and retirement health liabilities.  The result is shown as the per-taxpayer surplus or liability, the difference in each state's assets and liabilities divided by the number of taxpayers in the state. 

More detail on Hawaii’s assets and liabilities can be found in the Hawaii State of the State (2012).

Link to HI CAFR:    Hawaii Comprehensive Annual Report


  • Hawaii is a Sinkhole State, one of the five worst states in its per-taxpayer burden for the fiscal years 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
  • Hawaii's per-taxpayer burden jumped up to $41,300 in 2012, an increase of 7.8%.
  • In Hawaii, the taxpayer burden is 92% of the average personal income of $44,767.
  • Hawaii's unemployment rate was 5.8%, compared to a national average of 8.1% in 2012.
  • Hawaii's financial reports disclose only $3.2 billion of liabilities, leaving $17.2 billion undisclosed.
  • Hawaii's 'Net Revenue' (total general revenue less total net expenses) was -$ 0.39 billion in 2012, though it has increased steadily since 2009. This amount, however, does not include changes in liabilities not fully disclosed such as pensions and retiree health insurance. Read more on 'Net Revenue'.