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Monday, March 20, 2000

Isle residents
pay big price
for wealth

Hawaii ranks 39th in the U.S.
due to its tax bite but 16th as
a place to retire, a
magazine says

By Russ Lynch


If you have money and worry about how much tax you'll have to pay on it, Hawaii is far from the best state to live in, a national magazine aimed at serious investors said today.

Bloomberg Personal Finance, looking for states that are the "wealth-friendliest," gave Hawaii a C-minus score and ranked it 39th out of the 50 states and District of Columbia.

"Of course there's more to life than taxes can reflect," said the magazine's editor, Steve Gittelson. "But the survey does provide some interesting food for thought if you're thinking about where to launch or cap your career, where to raise your kids, or where to retire."

As a place to retire, Hawaii did not do as poorly, ranking 16th in the nation in the study of 204 individual tax returns from all over the country.

At the top of the Bloomberg Personal Finance list for the third year in a row was Wyoming, earning the highest possible score of A-plus and ranking first in the nation in overall ranking and first as a place to retire. At the bottom of the national list were Montana and Rhode Island, each earning an F grade.

The magazine, part of the business that includes Bloomberg News and several financial reporting services, is carrying the national report in its April issue.

The publication used the tax returns to create hypothetical families, each with a certain mix of income and assets, and check their needs against tax conditions in each area.

For retirement alone, the worst-ranked were New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Illinois and Connecticut -- "not for their cold climates," the magazine said, but for "the year-round chill of tax rates on investment income."

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