BY SAM SLOM – Welfare: Hawaii #1! According to a new CATO Institute study, Hawaii is number one nationally in providing generous welfare benefits by a wide margin. As predicted years ago, Hawaii now spends more on welfare ($2.75 BILLION annually) and subsidies than it does on public education. That’s not right. A mother of two children, ages 1 and 4, in Hawaii receives nearly $49,000 in welfare benefits, and it is tax free. The rest of us would need to have a job that paid $60,000 a year to get the equivalent salary. See the study at Cato.org

Bucks for Lo-Los. The State Election Commission meets today, 10 am in the State Office Tower (Beretania Street next to the Capitol) and among other things, will, from behind closed doors, recommend a rumored $20,000 salary increase for the Chief Elections Officer, Scott Nago. This is the same CEO who botched last year’s elections statewide so badly with non-delivered ballots, erroneous ballots, etc., resulting in many residents not getting to vote. Nago should be fired, but instead they want to give him a salary hike. Outrageous. Public testimony is welcomed this morning.

“Jobs,” The Movie. The new movie, “Jobs,” about Apple’s Steve Jobs, was a disappointment that the critics panned before it opened last Friday. Ashton Kutcher’s lead performance was good- although there was a great deal of focus on the tech genius’ sour side- and there were other good acting performances, but the story was flat. Interesting that this movie is NOT the authorized one based on the best selling book about Jobs; that comes later. This movie starts and ends in 2001 with the introduction of the IPod. It does not chronicle the subsequent great inventions (IPhone, IPad, etc.) and the miraculous financial turn around of Apple, Inc. A more engaging movie was the previous flick, “The Pirates of Silicon Valley,” which chronicled the rise and close rivalry of Bill Gates of Microsoft and Steve Jobs of Apple. Still, “Jobs,” is worth seeing – it is just not great.

Kaeo at August 29 SBH SUNRISE. Hawaii head of the Dale Carnegie courses and marketing specialist Jan Kaeo will speak at the next monthly SBH SUNRISE Networking Breakfast, next Thursday, August 29, from 7-8:30 a.m. at the Pineapple Room, Macy’s, Ala Moana Center. Her topic will deal with employee and customer relations. Networking, full breakfast buffet, and business updates. All participants will be introduced. Come, say Aloha to our new SBH Assistant, Jaynahe Self, who joined us August 1. Info and reservations, call SBH at 396-1724.

Sharks Everywhere. The recent multiple shark attacks in Hawaiian waters have gained international negative exposure, especially with the sad case of the 20-year old German tourist on Maui. Hawaii banned “shark finning” several years ago, and with a change in food supply, prohibited fishing and snorkeling areas and more refuse released into the ocean, the shark sightings and attacks have increased. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is initiating a study of tiger shark movements in island waters. In 2013, there have been eight incidents, including four within the last month. Four of this year’s incidents occurred on Maui, three on the Big Island, and one on Oahu.

In 2012, there were 10 confirmed, unprovoked shark incidents, the highest number ever recorded. Six of last year’s 10 incidents occurred on Maui. At the time, DLNR convened a meeting of shark experts and public safety personnel, similar to the Shark Task Force of the 1990s that guided shark management decisions at that time.

Still, you are less likely to be attacked by a shark in Hawaii than by government officials determined to take your money and increase your taxes.

17-Year-Old Swims Kaiwi. KITV and the Honolulu Star Advertiser first reported that Leahi Camacho, a Hawaii Island resident from Kailua-Kona, is the youngest person-at age 17-to complete the treacherous 26-mile swim across the Kaiwi Channel from Molokai (Laau P.oint) to O’ahu (Sandy Beach), arriving last Sunday afternoon.

Relay for Life. Dive for Life. Island Divers is helping the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at Sharks Cove Pupukea Beach Park Hawaii. Come to the first annual Dive For Life Event to raise money for the American Cancer Society. There will be teams of 6 divers rotating one-hour dives at Shark’s Cove from Sun up to Sun down! 6am to 6pm Saturday Aug 24th. All for a great cause. For those who want a fun party on the beach with beach games and Music, or to go snorkeling.  If this event turns out  to be a huge success American Cancer Society will take this on as one of their biggest annual fundraiser events in Oahu!

Guv Names HHC Appointees. Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday announced the appointments of Wallace A. Ishibashi, Jr. of Hawaii Island and Patricia W. Sheehan of Kauai to the Hawaiian Homes Commission, effective immediately.

Damon Key Appoints. Judith A. Schevtchuk has joined Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert, a prestigious law firm celebrating 50 years of business in Honolulu. With experience in both traditional family and non-traditional family law matters, Schevtchuk brings a wealth of knowledge to the firm and its clients in a rapidly evolving legal field.

State Wins Tax Appeal Case. Tax Appeal Court Judge Gary W.B. Chang entered a final judgment in favor of the State of Hawaii and against nine Online Travel Companies (“OTCs”) selling Hawaii hotel rooms over the Internet and otherwise. The Tax Appeal Court granted the State’s motion for partial summary judgment, deciding that the OTCs owe approximately an additional $25 million for statutory interest on tax penalties.  Altogether the taxes, penalties and interest for the period 2000 through 2011 is approximately $246 million.  If the judgment is sustained after any further appeal, it would result in additional annual general excise tax collections estimated to be approximately $30 million.

The Tax Appeal Court ruled in favor of the OTCs on the State’s claim that the OTCs owe the State’s Transient Accommodation Tax (“TAT”) over the same 2000 through 2011 tax years.  The State intends to appeal this ruling. The State maintains that the OTCs “furnish” transient accommodations, and that under the State’s TAT law, such persons must pay TAT on their gross rentals.  The amount that the State contends is owed is $429.8 million, which includes taxes, penalties and interest.   Should the State prevail on appeal, it is estimated that it would result in additional future annual TAT collections of approximately $60 million.

HTA Conference. The HTA 2013 Hawaii Tourism Conference is only one week away. Don’t miss your opportunity to meet and learn from local, national and international experts in tourism, marketing, research and other fields during exciting and informative general and concurrent sessions. Gain insight from presentations, panels, success stories, networking and other opportunities that will shape your tourism marketing plans for 2014.

Health Connector. The Hawai’i Health Connector announced that it is launching a marketing campaign to generate greater awareness of Hawai’i’s new health insurance marketplace.  The public awareness campaign includes print, broadcast and online advertisements, in addition to ongoing participation in community engagement events and other outreach.  Open enrollment for Hawai’i residents is October of this year. This is the Obamacare Connector that will use taxpayer funds to “educate” the public, similar to the city’s rail.

“A Better Day” on TV. Senator Sam Slom Hosts former State Senator Gordon Trimble on “A Better Day,”

Reapportionment Update on TV. Tune in to “Better Government” on Olelo TV this month for an update on Reapportionment in Hawaii with Michael Palcic, Chair, Oahu Advisory Council on Reapportionment.”

Olelo schedule | All on “VIEWS” Channel 54
8/26    Mon    3:00pm
9/02    Mon    3:00pm

Check out News Behind the News with Malia Zimmerman where we discuss Hawaii’s Business Climate.

SBH Welcomes Young Professionals. Smart Business Hawaii (SBH) is welcoming Young Entrepreneurs. The SBH YOUNG PROFESSIONALS is now up and running. Annual dues are only $75 for those under 30 years. Contact me directly ( SBH@lava.net), go online (www.smartbusinesshawaii.com) or call 396-1724.

Hawaii Reporter.com, Hawaii’s first electronic daily newspaper launched in 2002, has all the breaking news and unlike other publications in town, is still free. Award winning Hawaii Reporter and Malia Zimmerman report daily (M-F) on the Rick Hamada Show heard on KHVH radio on 830 AM at 7:05 am. Malia will share the news behind the news.

Tune in to Panos Prevedouros. SBH Director and UH Engineering Professor Dr. Panos Prevedouros is a weekly guest on Rick Hamada’s morning radio show every Tuesday from 7:05 a.m. to 8 am.

Read SB NEWS. Don’t forget to read your current monthly SB NEWS by PDF attachment or link. More expanded news and views for the Hawaii business community.

Want More Business? JOIN SBH! Is YOUR business a member of SBH? No? Lots of benefits. Strong networking organization. Call 396-1724 or go online to  www.smartbusinesshawaii.com.

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