BY SAM SLOM – What’s with this latest and continuing baseless attack on McDonald’s nationally and locally? Another left, anti-business, self-serving group, is threatening to sue Ronald & company if they don’t stop offering toys in their meals. This is not about obesity; it is about free enterprise and the right to choose. McDonald’s is one of the largest and most generous corporations nationally and in Hawaii. I will fight for more toys!  Meanwhile, let parents be responsible for what and how much their children eat; don’t blame business.

Union vs. Union? The Pacific Partnership and the Hawaii Carpenters Union have taken out tv ads lobbying for the multi-million dollar  Waikiki rennovation projects for the Moana Surfrider and Princess Ka’iulani Hotels. There theme is What’s Better for Waikiki is Better for Hawaii. The HERE Local 5 hotel workers union is opposed to the projects which would turn many hotel rooms into condos.

Governor Linda Lingle returned from a successful business trip to China and Japan and released her list of 39 potential vetoes on Monday. She has until July 6 to veto these bills, let them become law without her signature or sign them into law. House and Senate Democrats have caucused to see if they want to come back in Special Session July 6 to override some of the actual vetoes. There are several really bad business bills including SB 2001 (ending Act 221 investment credits early, in May; HB 907 which would severely limit itemized deductions and others. For a complete listing of these bills see www.hawaii/gov/vetoes.

Local gasoline prices have held steady for several weeks following Mainland trends although Hawaii remains more than $1 higher. Lowest price on O’ahu is still Costco at $3.1149 for regular.

New home sales have crashed 33% in May after the government $8,000 new home buyer’s tax subsidy ran out. Hawaii sales doing better because of supply and demand.

The state taxation contract with CGI Technologies & Solutions, for tax delinquency recovery, will be the subject of a Senate Ways & Means Committee hearing today, at 1 pm, in Capitol CR# 211

As reported last week, the Legislature will also launch a joint investigation of the Lingle Administration’s Department of Budget & Finance’s state investment in Student Loan Auction rate securities as outlined in SCR 18.

The Legislative Federal Economic Stimulus Program Oversight Commission (try saying that 10 times very fast) is questioning the expenditure of $400,000 for a mural to decorate a new City tansit station. commission member Ed KKemp said, “Art is nice. I like art but wonder whether some of these projects qualify in the ‘need to have’ category.”

The City & County of Honolulu’s first Furlough Fridays begin next Friday.

Small business continues to struggle with few signs of genuine economic turn around. Tune in next Wednesday, June 30, 6:30 pm, O’lelo channel 54 for “News Behind the News” when Dr. Panos Prevedouros and I will discuss this issue and O’ahu’s infrastructure in detail.

BP Petroleum has reportedly received more than 40,000 suggestions and product descriptions for dealing with the Gulf crisis, Kevin Costner’s oil/water separator is well publicized but there are thousands of other ideas. Standing in the way? The Obama Administration and the Jones Act.

Have you seen SBH’s newly redesigned website? http://www.smartbusinesshawaii.com We still have more work to do and your comments and suggestions are welcome.

Still time to reserve and come to tomorrow’s SBH monthly SUNRISE Networking Breakfast, 7-8:30 am in Macy’s Pineapple Room, Ala Moana Center. Special guest speaker is CATO Institute’s Randal O’Toole who will discuss, “Gridlock on Hawaii’s Highways-and in its Government.” Lots of business networking for your business. Don’t miss Randal! The public is welcome; reservations required. Call Darlyn at SBH 396-1724.

Happy Birthday to my oldest son, Samuel Mason, today in Charleston, SC!

Sam Slom is the president of Smart Business Hawaii and the SBH Education Foundation and a state Senator. He can be reached at sbh@lava.net

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