BY SAM SLOM – Retail Sales Up, Down. Final numbers are not in, but it appears retail sales in brick ‘n mortar stores declined or increased marginally while online sales are up. A less than genuine economic recovery, parking woes at Ala Moana Center and fears of credit info theft, as occurred at Target, all contribute to the final results. Speaking of Target’s loss of personal data, do you really think the Obama Health Exchanges will protect your information? Really?
ID Cards Offer You Savings. Speaking of last minute Christmas gifts, the Hawaii ID Discount card is a great investment. You can save 10%, 15% or more at many restaurants, car rentals and other locations with the card. SBH is selling the $40,12-month card for $30 as a year-end fundraiser. Great stocking stuffers. Interested? Call Susan at SBH at 396-1724 to purchase several now.
Author Patrick Snow to Keynote 38th Annual SBH Business Conference. Best-selling author and motivational business success speaker, Patrick Snow, will be the SBH’s Keynote Luncheon Speaker, Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 8 am – 2 pm, for the 38th Annual SBH Business & Investment Conference at the Ala Moana Hotel. A great line up of exciting and informative speakers and issue topics, networking, business exhibits and more. Sponsorship and booth exhibit opportunities still available. Contact Malia (306-3161) or Susan (396-1724) for details.
January 30 SUNRISE Features Medved. SBH SUNRISE returns Thursday, January 30, 2014 in the Ala Moana Macy’s Pineapple Room with national Salem radio talk show host and author, Michael Medved. To reserve your seat, call 396-1724.
Can You Help SBH? SBH, a (501(c) (6), would appreciate your private or business donation. If you like what SBH does for business, consumers, and an improved Hawaii business and investment climate, we need your support. There is still time for a 2013 donation in any amount to SBH (6600 Kalanianaole Hwy, Ste 212, Honolulu, HI 96825). We also have a 501-c-3 foundation that could use your support so we can continue to do outreach and education in the community, media and at the legislature. Mahalo for your consideration.
Storfer, Hazelton-Giambrone on Board. SBH is pleased to announce that Mark Storfer of Hilo Hattie, and the Chairman of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii, and Naomi Hazelton-Giambrone of Pacific Edge Magazine joined the Board of Smart Business Hawaii. Welcome to our newest volunteer board members.
Hawaii Connector to Cost You More. According to Malia Zimmerman’s report in Hawaii Reporter, state officials said the Hawaii Health Connector isn’t financially sustainable and, because of that, should be a state agency.
More from the report: “The nonprofit state exchange received $204 million in federal money. Once that runs out, the exchange will be expected to fund its $10 million to $14 million in annual operations through fees on local insurance companies. The fees, now at 2 percent, are generated through a percentage of sales made through the exchange.
“But numbers as of Dec. 7 released by the Hawaii Health Connector show just 683 people in Hawaii bought plans through the exchange, or less than 1 percent of Hawaii’s 1.4 million people. Another 6,615 accounts were established, 220 of which were small businesses, but they have not completed the paperwork to buy insurance, exchange officials said.
“Sanjeev Bhagowalia, the state’s IT director, and Pat McManahan, the state’s human services director, as well as representatives from Kaiser and HMSA health insurance, told state representatives at a Dec. 12 hearing they should consider allowing the state to take over the private nonprofit, which the Legislature set up to implement the Affordable Care Act here.”
Fed to “Dial Back.” Citing an improved economy, the Federal Reserve will “dial back” on its QE bond buying by $10 billion starting mid January.
Unemployment Rate to Decline. Good news for employers: the State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations released the tax rates for employers for 2014 and there is a slight UI tax reduction. No employee pays UI tax; only employers. The 2014 taxable age base per employee is $40,400 and the new employer tax rate is 3.4% (from 4.5% in 2013) PLUS 0.01% Employment & Training Tax Rate. Maximum rate is 6% (down from 6.4%) and the maximum weekly benefit increases to $544.
UH Hearing. Last Friday, the State House and Senate Higher Education Committees once again examined problems at the state’s only public institution of higher learning, the University of Hawaii. Financial problems, management of the UH Cancer Center in Kaka’ako, the failing athletics (football) program and the expanding backlog ($487 million) of repair and maintenance were among the areas of interest of lawmakers who repeated their strong support of UH. The university complained about its annual $35 million electric bill (and said it is developing alternative energy projects), lack of staff and problems that could sink the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy. Not all issues associated with the 2012 “Stevie Wonder Blunder” concert have been resolved. UH is still seeking a permanent President to replace MRC Greenwood.
City Auditor Strips HART’s Propaganda Machine Bare. The long awaited report by the City Auditor on the operations of the Honolulu Area Rapid Transit cabal, HART, is interesting reading. It details nearly $14 million in PR propaganda, and political blogs meant to discredit critics of the $9.03 billion steel-on-steel heavy rail, and political destruction of candidates (such as Ben Cayetano) who ran on fiscal integrity. Read it and remember, you’re paying for all of this. And more.
Duck Dynasty Distress. It seems 2013 will be the year when free speech died in America. The politically correct crowd scored major victories this year in quashing speech THEY don’t like. I never watched “Duck Dynasty” on A&E but the attack on its reality star, Phil Robertson, is over the top. He was interviewed in GQ Magazine and gave responses about his beliefs, traditional marriage and homosexuality. A&E was quick to suspend him and the show, and to re-pledge their total support for the LBGTXYZ sexual community (which of course is their right). When Chick-fil-A was attacked and boycotted for some of the same reasons, the so-called activist civil libertarians remained silent as they have in this case. It used to be that Social Security was the third rail in politics and open discussion; now it is abortion, vouchers and sexual orientation. Those that celebrate the silencing of this dissent should remember history when a silencing of one belief leads to many other bans and retaliation.
Long Red Lights in Wahiawa, Hawaii Kai. The City stopped its traffic light computer system while major road resurfacing continues in Wahiawa and Hawaii Kai. The result? Longer red lights and more traffic disruption. The resurfacing will continue through March 2014.
Gregoire Featured. Winners’ Camp Founder, SBH Foundation Director and civic leader, Delorese Gregoire, is featured in the January issue of Hana Hou, the magazine of Hawaiian Airlines. The dynamic Gregoire deserves the accolades. You may be surprised to learn of her challenging background.
“In 1985, Gregoire launched Winners’ Camp, a week-long motivational retreat for teens. Campers tackle ropes courses and attend workshops in etiquette and public speaking-skills Gregoire worked hard to develop as an adult. The nonprofit program has received national recognition and produced 14,000 graduates. Thirteen years ago, Winners’ Camp found a permanent home on Kamehame Ridge. The abandoned Army barracks overlooking Hawaii Kai were a disaster. Graffiti covered every surface that wasn’t smashed or rusted through. The challenge of renovating the dilapidated kitchen and dorms didn’t dissuade Gregoire in the slightest. Today they’re clean, cozy and wallpapered with inspirational quotes of her own invention.”
HAL Appoints Parker. Hawaiian Airlines appointed Lisa Parker as director of the Shared Services, Training and Development division. In this role, she is responsible for designing, building and delivering high-impact and sustainable programs that enable Hawaiian Airlines to attract, engage and retain top talent.
Honor Saiki. On Thursday, January 30, 2014, there will be an event to honor former Hawaii Congresswoman Patricia Saikiat the Waialae Country Club. Starting at 6 p.m. with a VIP Reception, and 7 p.m. dinner and program, this special evening is an opportunity to salute Congresswoman Saiki for her 25 years of public service and to thank her for the many significant achievements that have made her one of our country’s National Treasures. Contact Miriam Hellreich at the Republican Party of Hawaii for reservations at 284-3235 and see details by clicking here>
Reagan Dinner, February 6. The Hawaii Republican Assembly has announced the first annual Ronald Reagan Freedom & Liberty Dinner on February 6, 2014. The special guest speaker will be heavyweight American Conservative Union chairman, Alberto Cardenas, who headlines the annual CPAC in Washington, D.C. Tickets $75. ContactHawaiiRepublicanAssembly.com
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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.
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