BY SAM SLOM –  Smart Business Tip: Don’t forget to praise good employees and assist other employees to do a better job and be more customer oriented. In this age of social media, it is still important to actually talk to people. It is a vanishing art.

SBH members Don and Chris Clothier are organizing a relief effort for those hurt in the ChristChurch, New Zealand earthquakes. Want to help? Contact Don or Chris at: 1221 Victoria St., Ste. 3101, Honolulu, HI 96814. Call 521-8221

I was checking the U.S. debt clock (have you checked it lately?  Go to www.USdebtclock.org, then go to “HI”) and the current data show Hawaii with a population of 1,371,705, 41,789 unemployed, 155,171 food stamp recipients (excuse me, “SNAP” clients), GDP of $69.4 billion, debt of $11.7 billion or 16.9% of GDP. That’s $8,559 per capita and that’s why your wallet feels lighter.

There was a big nothing at Kapolei yesterday as the Mayor, U.S. Senators, Congresswomen and hangers-on threw some dirt in the air for the ceremonial shovel of the $8 billion Honolulu rail transit. The little white tent event cost taxpayers $36,000. The local media continue to drool over this unfunded project. There was a counter demonstration by anti-rail folk. What was missing? Any real money from the feds. Again, your wallet should feel much lighter.

Hooray! The Governor finally submitted his long overdue state operating budget on Tuesday. It was due in January. Now, let the pencil sharpening begin. Wisconsin, here we come. Funny, isn’t it, that union organizers and supporters can come to Madison from all over the country but Democrat State Representatives and Senators have been hiding in Illinois so they wouldn’t have to vote. Harder to do here. Costlier too.

Anyway, the new state 2-year (FY 12, FY 13) operating budget is $23 BILLION and loaded with tax increases, new taxes, service cuts and bigger government. Among the new state employees, 3 new employees and a budget of $192,000 annually to operate the new civil union/same sex marriage law the Guv signs into law officially today.

No General Excise Tax increase this Session? The Governor said so. Don’t bet on it. It is a Trojan horse and will resurface later in the Session after the pension tax, soda tax, and other manini taxes are dispensed with.

More complete 2010 Hawaii census data are expected to be released this week. No real surprises; population and growth much faster on our Neighbor Islands.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), is holding statewide public hearings this month on proposed amendments and additions to its Hawai’i Administrative Rules for the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation. These rule amendments to Title 13, Subtitle 11, Ocean Recreation and Coastal Areas, parts 1 and 3, are being proposed to allow DLNR to more effectively manage state small boat harbors and related facilities as well as ocean activities in state waters.

The meetings will be held as follows:

  • Maui – 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, February 23 in the Maui Waena Intermediate School Cafeteria, 795 Onehe’e Avenue, Kahului.
  • Kona –  6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 24 in the clubhouse of the Hawaii Big Game Fishing Club, on the grounds of Honokohau Small Boat Harbor, 74-381 P4 Kealakehe Parkway, Kailua-Kona.
  • Kaua’i – 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, February 24 in the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Cafeteria, 4431 Nuhou Street, Lihu’e.
  • Hilo – 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 25 in the ‘Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi Street, Hilo.

All interested parties are invited to attend and to present their views on the proposed amendments, either orally or in writing.  Written statements may be submitted at the public hearings or to the Chairperson at 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 130, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813, up to one week following the last public hearing date.

If unable to review the proposed rule change on-line or in person, a copy can be mailed at no charge upon receipt of verbal or written request to: the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, 333 Queen St., Suite 300, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813, 587-1972.  The proposed rule amendments can be reviewed on-line on the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) web site located at http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dbor/bordraftrules.htm or can be reviewed in person at the following DOBOR district offices from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday, except on holidays and State furlough days.

Royal Star Hawaii (PUC 1505-C) Motorcoach Tours & Destination Services celebrates its 15th anniversary by adding 12 brand new MCI 4500 series coaches at a cost of $6 million, and is the first to commit to a 100% seat belted fleet in 2011.  For more information, call (808) 841-STAR (7827) or visit  www.royalstarhawaii.com.  Congrats!

Saw the new Adam Sandler movie-comedy, “Just Go With It,.” and it was fun and yet another good ad for Hawaii; Maui specifically. Sandler has really helped Hawaii and not with all the extra tax credits that Relativity Media was begging for here last week.

Former City Bank president, Richard Lim, was confirmed as the new head of the state Department of Business & Economic Development (DBED) by two Senate committees (Econ Development and Tourism) yesterday. His nomination goes to the full Senate in a week or two.

William Aila, the Governor’s nominee for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has hit a snag. Easily confirmed in committee, his name was to go to the Senate floor today but was pushed back till March 4 by Judiciary Chair Clayton Hee. There is an issue with financial disclosure.

The state continues its rosy economic forecast but look around; more businesses are shuttered and many more are still struggling in this difficult business climate. Business here needs real relief and it won’t come from the Big Square Building.

Reminder that four business leaders will be welcomed as Laureates into the Junior Achievement Hawaii Business Hall of Fame in an induction ceremony & dinner to be held: Friday, March 11, 2011, 5:30-8:30 PM Hale Koa Hotel. Hawaii Business Hall of Fame laureates for 2011 are:

  • Former Senator Richard Henderson, The Realty Investment Company
  • John Morgan, Kualoa Ranch
  • Robert Taylor, Maui Divers Jewelry
  • Shelley Wilson, Wilson Home Care

Contact: 545-1777 or visit: www.jahawaii.com

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