Aloha Lex | Legislature Opens | Turtle Bay Auction Sat | HECO Burns Boxes
BY SAM SLOM - Lex Brodie, SBH Founder. Hawaii businessman, television icon and former Board of Education member Lex Brodie died at the age of 98 on Kauai Friday on the island where he was born and raised.
Brodie was well known for his business, Lex Brodie's Tire, Brake and Wheel Co., and his series of commercials that ended with the phrase, "Thank you, very much!"
Brodie founded Small Business Hawaii in 1976 because he wanted small businesses in Hawaii to have some of the same economic clout as big businesses and unions.
Education was his passion.
See complete story on HawaiiReporter.com
Legislature Begins. The 27th state Legislature opened a 60-working day run today at 10 am at the State Capitol. It will be a rough budget session with many side issues including marijuana, gambling, assisted suicide and the state public land development corporation repeal.
New House Leadership. Supported by the House of Representatives, Speaker-elect Joe Souki (District 8 - Wailuku, Waihee, Waiehu, Pu'uohala, Waikapu) announced leadership positions and chair and vice-chair positions for the 2013 session.
- Vice-Speaker - Representative John Mizuno
- Majority Leader - Representative Scott Saiki
- Majority Floor - Representative Karen Awana
- Majority Whip - Representative Romy Cachola
- Majority Whip - Representative Ken Ito
- Majority Whip - Representative Sharon Har
- Speaker Emeritus- Representative Calvin Say
Woodson New State Rep. Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday announced the appointment of Justin Howard Woodson of Kahului to the state House of Representatives seat for District 9, a position left vacant by recently appointed state Sen. Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran. Woodson's appointment is effective immediately. Woodson owns and operates Woodson's Eco Auto Wash in Kahului. Previously, he worked within the real estate industry for Realty Executives Oahu and Prudential Locations LLC, fulfilled analyst and clerk duties for the offices of state Reps. Tom Brower and Mele Carroll and Sen. Carol Fukunaga, and served as special assistant to the state chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.
Woodson is a former budget sub-committee member for the Maui Economic Opportunity Head Start program, former president of the Young Democrats of Hawaii, and former state coordinator for the College Democrats of Hawaii. He currently serves as vice president of The Gospel of the Alpha and Omega International and volunteers for the King's Cathedral Maui Children's Ministry.
Marumoto, Prevedouros Join SBH Board. Former State Representative Barbara Marumoto and UH Engineering Professor Panos Prevedouros, were both elected to the Smart Business Hawaii Board of Directors, an unpaid position, this Monday.
HECO Burns Cable Boxes. A massive electrical shutdown early Saturday morning on O'ahu (and lights out on the Big Island too) caused the usual disruption with one notable exception: many Oceanic Cable boxes were fried by HECO and had to be replaced in time for the weekend NFL playoffs. Yes, I waited in line at the Sears Oceanic office to exchange mine too. HECO's frequent outages cause lots of damage to expensive computers and electrical equipment. You can fill out and submit the HECO damage claims but good luck in getting a reimbursement.
Online Travel Taxed. A ruling by Tax Appeal Court Judge Gary W.B. Chang requires online travel companies ("OTCs") to pay the state approximately $150 million in overdue taxes.
Judge Chang granted summary judgment for the State of Hawaii against OTCs including Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Orbitz, Travelocity and Priceline, ruling that the Hawaii General Excise Tax ("GET") applies to the sales of Hawaii hotel rooms by online travel companies. The amount of unpaid taxes owed is approximately $110 million, plus interest of an additional approximate $40 million. These unpaid taxes cover the period from 2000 through 2011. In addition to the unpaid taxes, the court's ruling could result in future GET collections of approximately $20 million annually, beginning in 2012. The court also ruled that the OTCs did not owe transient accommodation taxes on these sales.
Since 2000, the OTCs have made sales of over $2.7 billion of Hawaii hotel rooms. The OTCs collected sufficient money to cover the GET and transient accommodation taxes from consumers purchasing Hawaii hotel rooms, but never filed any returns or paid any taxes to the State of Hawaii.
Judge Chang ruled that the GET is a privilege tax imposed on businesses for the privilege of doing business in the State of Hawaii. He emphasized the broad nature of the GET and ruled that it included the sale of Hawaii hotel rooms by OTCs.
The OTCs have the right to appeal the Tax Appeal Court's ruling on the GET and indicated they will do so. Likewise, the state will have the right to appeal the court's adverse ruling on the transient accommodations tax. Further proceedings in the Tax Appeal Court will be held on March 8, 2013 in which the state is seeking penalties for the failure of the OTCs to file tax returns or pay the taxes due. A trial date has been set for April 15, 2013 to resolve any outstanding issues.
UPW Scores. The United Public Workers union, which refused to take a 5% pay cut the same as all other public employees, was rewarded again by a binding arbitration panel that granted the UPW a 6% pay increase over the next few years. The Legislature will need $8 million to pay for this award.
HMAA Taps Baker. Hawaii Medical Assurance Association (HMAA), one of Hawaii's largest Preferred Provider Organizations, has named Reg Baker its new executive vice president. John Henry Felix was elected chairman, president, CEO and secretary-treasurer.
Gail Hannemann was elected as director and vice chair, and Warren Price III was elected as director. William McCorristonwas newly elected as director, filling the vacancy created by the passing of Fred Trotter in 2011.
HMAA has always been known as Hawaii's leading provider of health insurance benefits for small and medium-sized businesses, and it provides large employers with superior health benefits as well. HMAA's comprehensive medical plans include alternative benefits such as acupuncture, chiropractic and naturopathic care, as well as life insurance, wellness programs, and dental, vision and prescription drug riders. It offers the best medical plan option for sole proprietors in the state. HMAA's benefits and rates can be customized for any company. More information is available at www.hmaa.com.
Island Air Sold. The inter-island carrier, Island Airlines has been old . The buyer is not another airline.
Sierra Club for Solar. The Sierra Club unveiled a media campaign to draw public attention to Governor Abercrombie'sslashing of the tax credits for residents and businesses that install solar energy systems. The Hawaii Department of Taxation's new interpretation of the solar credit - which was announced November 9, 2012 and went into effect January 1, 2013 - drastically reduces the availability of the Hawai'i renewable energy tax credit for solar photovoltaic systems.
The new campaign features Sonny the Solar Panel standing in an unemployment line. Statement of Sierra Club Hawai'i Chapter Director Robert D. Harris:
The Abercrombie Administration is wrongly slamming the brakes on one of the few success stories in achieving Hawai'i's clean energy goals. The Department's new interpretation would slash the average tax credit to homeowners and businesses that install solar energy systems by about half. It also threatens the future of thousands of solar energy workers in one of Hawai'i's strongest growth sectors.
The Sierra Club is open to legislative changes to our tax policy -- everyone wants a smart, well-crafted law that watches the bottom line while still providing enough of an incentive to encourage residents to transition to clean energy -- but believes the Governor's blatant crossing of the line between the executive and legislative branches is misguided. In a democracy, laws are supposed to be made by the legislature in an open and transparent way. The Governor attempted and failed to pass a law reducing the solar tax credit last year. The Governor does not have the authority to executively change the state's tax policy in a behind-closed doors manner simply because the legislature did not give him what he wanted.
The impacts of the Governor's action are still to be felt. We hope to draw public attention to the potential economic impacts by unveiling the Sonny the Solar Panel advertisements and encouraging the Governor to show leadership and vision on how to move Hawaii towards a clean energy future.
Gun Appreciation Day. Saturday, January 19, pro second amendment supporters will hold a rally at the Capitol at 12 noon for "Gun Appreciation Day."
SBH can help you with YOUR business. Just starting a business? Call me personally for help at 396-1724 or email: SBH@lava.net. Smart Business Hawaii Means Business and we're here to help you.
Hawaii Reporter On The Air. Go to www.HawaiiReporter.comfor the real investigative news. HR, founded by Malia Zimmerman, continues to break major investigative stories that most of the media won't touch. Tune in to KHVH (830 am) every week day now at 7:05 am to hear Malia's report.
See Your Ad Here. Some readers have inquired about placing an ad on the right margin of these weekly blasts which reach more than 10,000 people. Interested? If you want your business ad posted, the cost is $50 for one placement or $150 per month (4-5 placements). Contact Darlyn at SBH (396-1724) for specifics.
Do More Business: JOIN SBH!. Is YOUR business a member of SBH? No? Lots of benefits. Strong networking organization. Call Darlyn today (396-1724) or go online towww.smartbusinesshawaii.com.
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