Small Business Hawaii's Success Stories and Business Person of the Year! See conference story below.
Taxpayers Will Pay For City Rail Untruths
1996 Legislative Session Begins: Opprotunities Await
Byrne Named Small Business Person of the Year
SBH 20th Annual Conference Best One Yet!
Free Success Seminar Feb. 15
Franchising in February
Norquist Predicts 1996 Election
Small Business Views by Sam Slom
SBH Guest Commentaries
Gambling Would Negatively Impact Small Business
Beware: Lawmakers in Session!
Government's Black Hole of Spending
MAYOR HARRIS HAS LITTLE TO SAY;
TAXPAYERS WILL PAY!
After the project failed by a 5-4 City Council vote in 1992, the prime contractor, Oahu Transit Group (OTG), sued the City for various amounts allegedly owed for promises made, and "expenses." A Disputes Resolution Board awarded OTG $9 million on a $10 million claim but the facts and details of the settlement were kept secret by the City. Thus, the SBH lawsuit for release of the documents.
SBH contended that the Mayor was deeply involved in a plan to silence and discredit opponents of the transit plan, such as Cliff Slater and SBH, and that ultimately, taxpayers would foot the bill for political misconduct. Harris indicated his Administration would not use City tax funds to pay off the award to OTG, claiming the Federal Government would pay.
In October, 1995, Circuit Court Judge Wendell Huddy ruled the City Administration had no right to deny public access to documents related to an arbitration decision involving the City and OTG. Huddy strongly admonished the City for its attempt to keep the information from the taxpayers.
The Circuit Court previously awarded release of the information to the Plaintiffs but the City dragged its feet. Huddy ruled,"A governmental agency has the burden of showing a legitimate basis for confidentiality.... (in this case) there was no basis for confidentiality." He also said, "It is not the purpose for a governmental agency to delay a response without getting some sort of court intervention and this is what the court found objectionable."
When the plaintiffs did get to see the information, it was evident the City was still not making all the data available. Further legal action resulted in seeing-and copying-critical letters, memos and expense forms, in January, 1996. It is now clear why the City has been so resistant: it has plenty to hide, including the fact that City tax funds are necessary-and Harris knew it-to pay off about one-third ($3 million) of the award to OTG. Questions of allowable billable expenses also have arisen. Mayor Harris had nothing to say; City PR spokesperson, Carol Costa, offered her explanation.
KHON-TV News reporter Bill Brennan, who previously followed the lawsuit closely, broke the story on January 17 on the new inaccuracies uncovered. On January 25, City Council Budget and Finance Chair, Duke Bainum, held a formal investigation of the City Administration's involvement in past rail practices that adversely affected City taxpayers, and inquired as to whether or not the Administration was telling the truth.
1996 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Not much of substance is expected by many because this is an election year and controversial non-issues, such as same-sex marriage, threaten to obscure the real work.
Opening day speeches by Senate President Norman Mizuguchi and House Speaker Joe Souki did not reassure business, as once again, government reform, tax reduction and economic stimulation were absent. The House remarks-and those at the SBH Annual Conference by Majority Leader Tom Okamura-held out promise that the 51-member House was willing to look at spending alternatives, such as privatization, and other reforms, including term limits. Lt. Governor Mazie Hirono is working separately on worker comp options patterned after Maine, Arizona and Missouri.
In the Senate, the Majority Democrats promised government as usual: more taxes, more bureaucracy and the spectre of an expensive government run "Project Hope" long term care dependency for residents. Senator Rod Tam did call for an audit of the 8 years of Waihee-Cayetano fiscal mismanagement that led to today's budget deficit. Minority Leader Michael Liu offered positive options, but there are 2 Republicans in the 25-member body.
As SBH cautioned, unions, special interests and big government supporters will push:
* New G.E.T. and other taxes and "fees"
* Higher minimum wage
* Gambling on top of current taxes
* Enriched mandated benefit
* Additional stifling regulations Missing are substantial cuts in government spending, tax and regulatory REDUCTION for small business, a realistic policy for home-based businesses, workers comp and liability insurance priorities and incentives for Hawaii's business and investment climate.
Governor Cayetano's Jan 22 speech put business on the front burner; but lacked specifics and did not call for real changes.
However, there are always areas of opportunity, and small business can exert a real leadership role during the Session. There are more independent lawmakers than before who see the problem and are seriously looking for creative solutions. Business can't sit on the sidelines; let SBH know how you feel about these and other issues. Then YOU must get involved! You know your business best and the impact of legislation on you . Find a way to explain it to your lawmaker.
Join SBH's Legislative Action Committee (LAC) and Biz FAX Net. Bob Sigall SBH Director and owner of Creative-1 Marketing Chairs the LAC; Cindy Rasmussen of Worldwide Store Fixtures, is assisting. The next two LAC meetings are set for Thursdays, February 8 (12-1:30) and 22nd (11-12:30 at the SBH office. Call for details (396-1724).
PERSON OF THE YEAR
Desmond Byrne, of Honolulu Information Service, was selected for the top SBH award for his many years of business leadership and countless volunteer hours on behalf of business and resident taxpayers in the community. He has written articles, spoken out, given testimony and volunteered on numerous private and public organizations, including, Common Cause Hawaii and the Governor's Small Business Advisory Council. He has offered positive alternatives to the fiscal "crisis,' and has been a staunch advocate of open, responsive and accountable government. Through his untiring individual efforts, information on government budgets, taxation and spending, were revealed from reluctant government agencies, and have set the stage for genuine reform to come.
Lowell Kalapa, Tax Foundation of Hawaii, Inc., was selected for the new "SBH-George Mason Editorial Award," for his continuing, hard-hitting editorials on the importance of business and the problems of governmental taxation and regulation, and for his contribution to the legislative process.
Cherylle Morrow, Innervation, Inc. of Kailua, was awarded "Small Business Booster," for her "strong community involvement and personal commitment to small business issues." A leader in women's business issues, Morrow is the current Chair of the Women In Business Committee of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Timothy Moore, owner of Old Lahaina Cafe and Luau (Maui), awarded "Civic Leadership" for "his active participation in the legislative process and leadership efforts in the problems of government regulation." Moore was one of 16 Hawaii Delegates to the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business and helped organize Hawaii's first Congress on Small Business, in November, 1995.
Honored for legislative leadership and assistance in achieving an improved business climate, were Republican State Senator and Minority Leader, Michael Liu and Democratic State Representative Terri Nui Yoshinaga. She has taken a personal interest in privatization.
The SBH business awards were presented during the annual luncheon program. Recipients had been selected by the membership and the Board of Directors.
Scheduled keynote speaker, Grover G. Norquist, was caught in the Mainland blizzard and didn't arrive on time. Small Business awardee Desmond Byrne ably substituted at the last moment and enthralled the crowd with his passionate discussion and call to make Hawaii government responsible, and get business out of the shop and into the Capitol.
Byrne said of government, "Our expectations are unfortunately too low...and they are met."
BEST ONE YET!
More than 275 business owners and the public attended Small Business Hawaii's 20th annual Small Business Hawaii Business Conference at the Ala Moana Hotel, Wednesday, January 10-the first major business conference of Ô96. The evaluations from the audience suggested this was the "best" Conference in recent memory.
The theme of the day-long event was, "SMALL BUSINESS: LEADING HAWAII'S BUSINESS and ECONOMIC REVOLUTION."
The Conference was upbeat and positive, emphasizing the changes that will occur and the improvements that can take place during 1996 in Hawaii's hostile business climate, IF small business owners exert their leadership, experience, wisdom-and clout.
There was a wide range of speakers who presented many aspects of Hawaii's problems- and potential solutions. If acted upon, Hawaii's economic doldrums could see a dramatic upturn.
SBH president/executive director Sam Slom assured the attendees that 1996 IS the year the "Political Revolution" arrives in Hawaii. He said residents and business owners should no longer accept politics as usual here and should start making waves of change.
Orson Swindle, retired Marine, former POW, Reagan appointee and daily commentator on KHVH radio ("The Right Side") discussed the political landscape in Hawaii and the impact from Washington, D.C. Swindle reportedly will challenge Democratic incumbent Neil Abercrombie for one of two Hawaii U.S. House seats.
Lowell Kalapa, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, discussed Hawaii's fiscal problems, over-taxation and the need to REDUCE taxes, particularly personal income rates which are the steepest in the nation. Kalapa also commented that while it is in vogue to always talk first of education, JOBS should be Hawaii's first priority, because without jobs, an education here means a ticket to the Mainland to find a career.
Pacific Business News founder George Mason, discussed ways of making government more accountable and getting "better government for less." He emphasized privatization, competition of services and gave numerous examples of Mainland cities and states (as well as New Zealand) where this approach has worked. He was enthused with County initiatives in Hawaii and said the State must get on board.
State Representative Quentin K. Kawananakoa followed up on Mason's remarks by offering specific legislative suggestions for "Legislating Competition in Government ".
A panel of State Legislative leaders, moderated by Bob Sigall, gave the audience an insight into what they can expect for business during the 60-day Ô96 Session which began January 17. Speakers included, State Senator and Senate Vice President, Mike McCartney; State Senator and Chair, Ways and Means Committee, Donna Ikeda ; State Senator and Minority Leader, Michael Liu; State Representative and Majority Leader,Tom Okamura and State Representative and Minority Leader, Gene Ward. Each was candid, informative, and answered questions.
One of the most inspiring features of the annual conferences, is introduction of SBH's Small Business Success Profiles. Each business awardee had been nominated by, and supported by, other business owners and consumers who praised the firm's service, integrity and quality. The 1995 awardees were: Alfred Vollenweider , owner of Alfred's At Century Center; Take and Gail Morohoshi , King Photo Service, Inc., and One Fas Lube's Donna McLaughlin. Each had important success tips and personal thoughts for other owners. McLaughlin's passionate and emotional presentation reduced the audience to tears.
A free one-hour seminar for SBH members, "Discover the Secrets of Business Success" is offered by member and business marketing consultant, Rich Budnick and Associates on Thursday, February 15, from 9-10 a.m., at the SBH office, 6600 Kalanianaole Highway, #212 (the same building as Roy's Restaurant).
Participants will learn how to gain new customers, more sales and increase profits. You will discover how to get ahead of the competition, learn irresistible promotion ideas, and how to make your customers happy.
"Times are getting tougher, and many businesses are struggling to survive. We want to help businesses learn how to prosper during the recession," Budnick explained.
Advance reservations required; seating is limited. RSVP by calling 396-1161.
If you are currently a franchisee, or aspire to have your own franchise, February is the month for you, with two big opportunities to gain insight into the pros and cons of purchasing an existing franchise, or franchising your own business.
On Friday, February 16, Franchise Partners, in cooperation with member Connecticut Mutual, presents, "Financial Strategies for Successful Franchises," at 9 - 10:30 am, in the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel. Small business expert, lawyer and CPA, Brian McKenna, from Hartford, Connecticut, will be the featured speaker. Topics include: protecting the value of your franchise business, attracting-and retaining-key employees and retirement planning. McKenna will present "10 Tips on How to Increase and Protect Your Net Worth." The seminar is offered in conjunction with the International Franchise Association's (IFA) Annual Convention (Feb 18-21). A special $50 cost includes IFA membership. Call 1-800-234-1007.
Then, on Thursday, February 22, also at the Hawaiian Village, Francorp of Chicago, will present the popular "Franchise YOUR Business" seminar from 9 am (registration at 8:30). SBH teamed up with Francorp, America's foremost franchise consulting firm in January, 1995. Members were pleased at the time. Mark Seibert, president of Francorp will lead this year's informative forum. The standard cost for the seminar is $145; SBH members can attend for $75 by calling Leslie Vloedman at 1-800-877.1130. See you there-and happy franchising!
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