BY SAM SLOM – The national debt deadline of August 2 is fast approaching and the PR wars between the President and House Republicans is ramping up. My opinion? Do NOT raise the debt ceiling without significant spending cuts and no new taxes. The U.S. will NOT default; it will just have to allocate more for debt service. Read my complete op-ed in HawaiiReporter.com. More next week.
Nine in 10 voters say it is important for Congress and President Barack Obama to reduce the nation’s long-term debt, and a 60% majority prefer spending cuts over increased revenues as the means of accomplishing that goal, a new IBOPE Zogby Interactive poll finds. The July 8-11 survey finds two-thirds favor means testing for Medicare based on a person’s wealth, but similar percentages oppose reducing cost-of-living increases for Social Security and reducing provider payments in Medicare and Medicaid. There is strong agreement to reduce defense spending (60%), end some tax loopholes and preferences (85%) and to reduce discretionary spending outside of entitlements and defense (62%). >>View the full news release on our website.
Two weeks ago, as reported, the 9-member State Reapportionment Commission voted 8-1 to count non-resident military and their dependents in the state total for reapportionment. This is a change from a 1992 state Constitutional amendment which excluded the military. This is important because without the military, Hawaii Island gains and O’ahu loses a Senate seat. There was a full court press by Big Island Democrats State Senator Malama Solomon, Rep. Cindy Evans and Bob Herekes, along with other Democrats for a reversed vote. They want the Commission to re-vote. Lawsuits have been threatened. Interestingly, 3 of the 4 Commission Democrats support the change. There may be two plans submitted.
Yesterday, the Governor may have vetoed almost two dozen bills. The Democrat controlled House and Senate announced last week they would not meet to override any of the Democrat Guv’s vetoes. Clear contrast from the past 8 years when the Majority Party took glee in overriding hundreds of Republican Governor Lingle’s bills.
Malia Zimmerman of Hawaii Reporter found out last week that the City HART project is renting two full floors, about 35,000 square feet, of Ali’i Place downtown at a cost of $1.4 million annually. Salaries for 136 new rail project employees adds another $9.3 million. Who says that rail isn’t a success?
Hope to see business friends and Maui members of SBH at a special SBH Business Forum next Thursday, July 21, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm at the Kahili Golf Club on Maui. Want to attend? RSVP with Darlyn at SBH, 808-396-1724.
Island Insurance Company, Ltd., the State’s largest locally owned and managed property and casualty insurance carrier, has been recognized as one of the Top 50 property and casualty insurance companies in the nation by the Ward Group for the fourth consecutive year. The Ward Top 50 recognition places Island Insurance within the top 2% of the leading property and casualty insurance companies in the nation. In 2008, Island Insurance was the first Hawaii-based property and casualty insurance company to achieve the Top 50 recognition in the award’s history. For more information, visit its website at: www.islandinsurance.com.
SBH is one of the undersigned groups – representing millions of Americans – urging the Congress to support H.R. 1002/S. 543, to put a five-year freeze on attempts by state and local governments to raise taxes on wireless services. Not only are wireless taxes already excessively high and discriminatory, but they also significantly restrain the growth and expansion of broadband. Across the country, state and local governments are putting a substantial burden on consumers by raising discriminatory taxes on wireless services to fund special interest projects and cover up overspending addictions. Today, the average consumer pays upwards of 16 percent in taxes on their wireless bill every month. In some localities, wireless taxes have skyrocketed to well over 25 percent. A federal solution to curbing wireless taxation has become imperative. The mandatory freeze on wireless taxes under H.R. 1002/S. 543 is a pro-consumer, pro-business, anti-tax, and bipartisan solution to this growing problem.
Nationally, these taxes on wireless cost consumers over $21 billion annually, making it more expensive to run a business and more difficult to maintain a household budget. Almost 90% of Americans rely on cell phones and a growing majority utilizes mobile broadband. Yet, all but three states tax wireless higher than they do the sale of general goods or services, and some states tax wireless despite having no sales tax on other goods or services. Taxes targeting wireless service make it significantly less affordable and inhibit universal adoption, especially for low-income families, small business owners, rural Americans, and seniors.
Rep. Gene Ward advises that the Consul General of Indonesia is holding an opening ceremony of a group of businessmen (100) interested in Indonesia who have come to meet and hear the Consul General talk about business opportunities between Hawaii and Indonesia. The event is on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm at the Plaza Club.
Sad to note that Morton Bassan and the farmers that grow Ka’u Gold-branded oranges in Naalehu on the Big Island filed for Chapter 12 bankruptcy last week – the second time since 2008, trying to reorganize debt. Morton Bassan is regarded as one of the top growers and consultants of the citrus in the U.S. The oranges are among the Hawaii-grown, Hawaii-branded produce found in local stores. In 2008 his farms were decimated by multiple agricultural thefts.
The House Republican Caucus yesterday held an Informational Briefing on the topic of Cyber Crime. Rep. George Fontaine chaired the Briefing and Rep. Kymberly Pine served as Vice Chair. The line up of speakers was impressive and included the Maui Chief of Police, the head of the White Collar Crimes Unit of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and the former head of the HPD Criminal Investigation Section who is a leading expert in computer forensics.
Following last week’s release of new regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), policy experts from the National Center for Public Policy Research are calling attention to the economic harm that will be caused by the agency’s assault on coal-fired electricity generation.
“EPA’s new Cross State Air Pollution rule will add significant compliance costs to electricity generation and force utilities to close power plants. Given our daunting economic challenges it’s outrageous that President Obama is advancing regulations that will cause layoffs and lead to higher electricity prices,” said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., director of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project.
“The economic consequences of EPA’s new regulations are real. American Electric Power (AEP) has already announced it will close power plants and the company will be forced to spend billions of dollars to comply with EPA’s requirements. The cost of EPA’s crackdown on utilities will be passed on to consumers and small businesses.”
Analog TV Channels 49, 50 O’lelo PEG are now digital. Other analog changes too. New digital boxes required by Oceanic Cable who will supply boxes to customers to receive the channels. The boxes are free now but charges to follow?
Sadly, Foodland closed its doors on Sunday, July 10 after 47 years in Koko Marina, Hawaii Kai. Walgreens with possible sub-tenant Petco scheduled to occupy the 33,000 square foot space.
Plan to attend the next monthly SBH SUNRISE Networking Breakfast meeting Thursday, July 28 from 7-8:30 am in the Pineapple Room, Macy’s Ala Moana Center. Complete buffet breakfast, networking, introductions and special guest speaker Fred Hemmings. Hemmings, most recently a State Senator, was a former world surfing champion, entrepreneur, author and currently, advocate for nuclear fuel alternatives in Hawaii. He will speak on “Hawaii Independence: Clean Energy Alternatives.” Don’t miss his presentation. Bring a friend. Call Darlyn @ SBH, 396-1724.
Want more local business information? Please visit the several SBH websites at:: www.smartbusinesshawaii.com, www.educate808.com and www.sbhfoundation.org.
Award winning Hawaii Reporter and Malia Zimmerman report daily (M-F) on the Rick Hamada Show, KHVH radio on 830 AM at 6:20 am. Malia also reports on Kauai’s KKCR with Sandy Brodie on Tuesday mornings, on the station’s “Morning Paper.” She will report the news behind the news for you.
You’ll like the keynote speaker at the Small Business Hawaii Entrepreneurial Education Foundation Awards Banquet Friday, September 16, 5:30 – 8 pm, Waialae Country Club. Announcement next week. Send business nominees to SBH@lava.net.
What? Not receiving your copy? Send PR, additional requests and email address to SBH@lava.net or call Darlyn at 396-1724.
Let SBH help you with YOUR business. Just starting a business? Call me personally for help at 396-1724 or email: SBH@lava.net. Smart Business Hawaii Means Business and we’re here to help you..