BY SAM SLOM –  Smart Business Hawaii was chastised in 2006 for having the audacity to sponsor a Statehood Day celebration at Iolani Palace (the original site where Statehood was proclaimed in 1959). We were told that was an affront to certain Native Hawaiians who considered the Palace theirs alone.  Apparently, it is ok to host a Democrat rally at Iolani Palace because that is what is happening there today at 4 pm.  Auwe!

Congratulations to Colonel Frank Tate, the new Commander of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade-“Wings of Lightning”-who took over for Colonel Mike Lundy, October 21 at an Army Change of Command ceremony at Schofield Barracks.

Good news, bad news: Bank of Hawaii reported a net income increase of nearly 21% for the 3rd quarter ended September 30. However, Bankoh also reported that its loan portfolio fell 10.4% and revenues and stock value also declined during the period, according to new CEO Peter Ho.

Richard Wacker is the new president and CEO of American Savings Bank, succeeding Timothy Schools. Wacker was the former head of the Korea Exchange Bank. American Savings Bank is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric industries, Inc.

A national survey of troubled state retirement systems lists Hawaii’s underfunded ERS as 5th worst in the nation; a sobering thought for Hawaii’s already over-burdened taxpayers who ultimately may be on the hook for Hawaii public workers.

Ted Peck, the state’s “energy czar,” will discuss “Hawaii’s Energy: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” at the monthly SBH Sunrise Networking Breakfast, tomorrow,  Thursday, October 28, 7 – 8:30 am, Pineapple Room, Macy’s Ala Moana. Call Darlyn for reservations, 396-1724.

One more week to go until the national and state elections. (Thank goodness!). Most people are burned out from the over abundance of “debates,” daily avalanche of political mail, and the nasty personal attacks. There will be cheers, jeers and gnashing of teeth next Tuesday night. BE SURE YOU VOTE BECAUSE EVERY VOTE COUNTS. Reportedly more than a third of you may have already used absentee ballots to vote early. The saddest people next Wednesday will be losing candidates, printers, the USPS and radio/tv ad departments.

Suggested Positions on State Con Con and Honolulu County Charter Amendments: Many people have written or called seeking guidance on the confusing 2 State Constitutional Amendments and 6 City & County of Honolulu proposed Charter amendments (there are also Neighbor Island proposed changes).

Here is a quick reference list and personal positions for your consideration:

Amendments to the State Constitution

1. RELATING TO THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
Shall the Board of Education be changed to a board appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, as provided by law?

Vote YES. While not a panacea, this change is a most important fix for our public education system. Ideally, the Board of Education should be ABOLISHED and education decentralized.

2. RELATING TO TAX REFUNDS
Shall the legislature be provided with the choice, when the state general fund balance at the close of two successive fiscal years, to provide a tax refund or tax credit to the taxpayers of the State, or to make a deposit into one or more funds, as provided by law, which shall serve as temporary supplemental sources of funding for the State in times of an emergency, economic downturn, or unforeseen reduction in revenue?

Vote NO. This is YOUR money and previously you were due a refund automatically. This change would allow the Legislature to take more of your money, put it in the General Fund, and spend it for you.

Amendments to the City & County of Honolulu Charter

1. RELATING TO THE CREATION OF A PUBLIC TRANSIT AUTHORITY

Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to create a semi-autonomous public transit authority responsible for the planning, construction, operation, maintenance, and expansion of the City’s fixed guideway mass transit system?
Vote NO. A transit authority will further increase and conceal expenditures for a City fixed rail transit. It will be yet another level of bureaucracy to deal with.

2. RELATING TO THE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST OF CITY OFFICERS

Prohibits newly appointed city officers from participating in city matters with which he or she was directly involved with for a period of 12 months

Vote YES. Strengthens City ethics provisions. Requires new City officers to refrain from acting on any matter they have been directly involved with for 12 months.

3. RELATING TO THE LIQUOR COMMISSION AND CIVIL SERVICE EXEMPTIONS

Shall the Liquor Commission be allowed to hire and dismiss its Administrator and Deputy Administrator in the same fashion as department heads appointed by the mayor?

Vote YES. Should be the same process as other departments/divisions.

4. RELATING TO ORDINANCES BY INITIATIVE POWER AND OTHER CONFORMING AMENDMENTS

Shall the Revised Charter of the City and County of Honolulu, be amended to remedy language inconsistencies and to clarify the provisions of the Ordinances by Initiative Power, Article III, Chapter 4, and to make conforming amendments to other sections of the Charter?

Vote NO It was difficult and confusing for the Stop Rail Now coalition to gain enough votes for an initiative to stop costly rail. This amendment would make it even more difficult for citizens on any issue.

5. RELATING TO THE DISPOSAL OF PERSONAL PROPERTY AND OTHER CONFORMING AMENDMENTS

Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to update provisions and to provide for the disposal of City personal property by rules and regulations of the Director of Budget and Fiscal Services, and other conforming amendments?

Vote YES. A fair process.

6. RELATING TO THE CREATION OF AN OFFICE OF HOUSING

Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to create an office of housing directly under the mayor, to be headed by an administrator who shall be appointed by the mayor, subject to council confirmation, and who may be removed by the mayor?

Vote NO. The City should NOT be in the housing business. Another City office will not result in cheaper housing, better housing or more housing, but it raises the possibility of corruption-as in the past when there was a City Department of Housing. Do you remember Ewa Estates? Kukui Gardens?

Voting tip: To find out what district you are voting in, and to get a copy of the ballot you will be using to vote, go to the Polling Place locator on the Hawaii Office of Elections Web site at this website. Then go to the bottom of the left-hand column and enter your first and last name and date of birth and hit search. More questions on these ballot issues? Call me at 396-1724.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii has the highest-rated Medicare and Medicaid plan in the state, according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) 2010-11 Health Insurance Plan Rankings – Medicare/Medicaid.  Kaiser Permanente Hawaii’s commercial plan received top Hawaii ranking, earlier this year.  All three plans are also accredited with NCQA’s highest quality rating.

You are invited to to celebrate the 7th Annual Anniversary of U.S. VETS – Hawaii. Please come and enjoy a great night of live music, dinner, and dancing on October 29, 2010 from 1600-2200 hrs at their Kalaeloa site. For more information, contact: Daylyn Rapisora, Program Assistant, US VETS Hawaii, United States Veteran Initiative drapisora@usvetsinc.org or phone: 808.682.9000.

The best way that government can help foster a healthy business climate is to ease regulations and reduce the cost of fees and taxes. While more can be done, especially with regard to taxes, there has been much progress over the course of the Lingle-Aiona Administration.

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) has made it more convenient, affordable, and easier to do business in Hawaii by initiating or improving operations in a number of key areas. The Business Registration Division has greatly expanded online services, including implementation in 2004 of Hawaii Business Express (HBE), a one-stop, web-based business information service. This resource saves new businesses, especially those on the neighbor islands, time, effort and money by enabling them to register with the appropriate government agencies (DCCA, Department of Taxation, Department of Labor and the IRS) in one online transaction, without having to stand in line or mail in paperwork.

Since HBE started up, more than 70,000 people have made use of its services, forming more than 19,000 new companies in Hawaii. In 2009, DCCA initiated “Go Green” business registration filing protocols, eliminating the distribution of paper annual filings, saving $24,000 in postage and 560 pounds of paper per year. Online license renewals continue to grow every year. This year, for example, of the 9,512 contractors who renewed by the September 30th deadline, 75% renewed online. This compares to a 59% online renewal rate at the last biennial renewal in 2008 and a 25% online renewal rate in 2006.

In April, over 97% of all architects, land surveyors, and professional engineers renewed online while 94% of electrologists, mortgage brokers and solicitors, occupational therapists, physical therapists and real estate brokers and salespersons renewed online in 2008. DCCA has reduced fees and assessments affecting businesses by approximately $50 million since January 1, 2003.

Need help with YOUR business?  Just starting a business? Call me personally for help at 808-396-1724 or email SBH@lava.net . Smart Business Hawaii Means Business and we’re here to help you.

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