Grassroot Institute video goes viral

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii reached almost half a million people in just six days with a video about how locals are fleeing Hawaii’s high taxes and cost of living. The video, which reached 480,000 people as of May 4th, was clicked on 195,000 times, generating more than 4,000 shares and 2,600 comments.

Former Hawaii residents who now live on the mainland made up the majority of commenters, many with stories of how Hawaii’s high taxes and prices were a major factor in their exodus.

Allen Alder commented, “My pay doubled, my cost of living dropped, my taxes went down, I could afford a house, truck, and boat. In Hawaii I was lucky to afford a one bedroom and a cheap car.”

When we asked Alder if he would ever move back, he wrote, “I have considered it, but with the volatility of the rail and its cost, the GE (general excise) tax, stagnant wages and soaring cost of housing, likely not.”

Stan Long wrote that he had lived on Oahu for 23 years.

“We hated to leave,” he said, “but felt as though we had no choice. Here in San Antonio, TX, the cost of living is much lower; and while I’m now retired, my wife has found better employment opportunities here than she had on Oahu. P.S. There is no state income tax in Texas.”

Many people who commented had moved to Nevada, calling it, “The ninth island.” Among them was Jennifer Dumlao, who wrote, “Best decision ever! Now we can actually save money and travel more. It’s super cheap for food and clothes. Plus, no state tax.”

Many locals who moved away still consider Hawaii their home, including Celeste Souza, who moved to Nevada and wrote, “We miss home everyday.”

Souza continued, “We left behind our home, ohana and lifetime friends. We struggled with the decision to leave, but we no longer could afford it, working two jobs each. Since relocating to Vegas, we are able to find work easier, pay no state tax and not stress on how we’re going to survive.”

Mal Villanueva wrote, “When mainlanders ask me where I’m from, and I tell them I’m from Hawaii, many shake their heads and don’t understand why I’d leave such a place. … The politicians haven’t taken care of the kama’aina concerns, there is a tax on groceries, and traffic is horrendous.”

Jackie Cadinha wrote, “My husband and I were both born and raised in Hawaii; two years ago we left all of our family, friends, great job(s) and ministry to move to Oregon. … We never realized how expensive it was to live in Hawaii. Now that we are here, we are so glad we made the move. We get so much more for our $$$. Our mortgage is half of what our rent was! Wish we had thought we could do this earlier in our lives.”

The 30-second video obviously hit home for many. Stephanie Brown summed it up, saying, “This video hit our hearts because my husband and I are leaving for the mainland next month.”

To see more comments, visit — and “like” — our Facebook page.

Lucky we live Hawaii? Hmmm …

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