Snippets from the SBH Mid-Year Conference

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Small Business Hawaii held their Mid-Year Conference yesterday (June 22) at the Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki. The conference featured speakers from the government sector including heads of the Department of Labor, Commerce & Consumer Affairs and the State Tax Department. Several political candidates made 2 minute speeches stating why the small business community should support them. Business speakers spoke on the recently suspended gas cap law and the restaurant services industry. The keynote speaker was State Attorney General Mark Bennett, who spoke on tough crime measures that were passed this year as well as a bad constitutional amendment question that voters will have to consider this fall.

State Tax Director Kurt Kawafuchi touched upon the upcoming general excise tax issue stating that neighbor island customers may not have to pay the extra .5% of the Oahu county surcharge to the G.E.T. under certain conditions. This was news to me.

Barnaby Robinson, owner of Kahala & Nimitz Chevron reminded conference goers that Hawaii consumers are presently enjoying a break from having to pay General Excise Tax on a gallon of gasoline. That break will come to an end at the beginning of 2007 when the GET will be reinstated to gasoline purchases at the higher rate of 4.5% for Oahu consumers given the fact that the county surcharge to pay for fixed rail will also kick in at the same time. This will increase the cost per gallon by at least 15 cents he says. OUCH! Rail sucks.

Two 2nd congressional district candidates showed up at the SBH conference. State Senator Colleen Hanabusa currently representing the Leeward Coast of Oahu is making a bid for the 2nd congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Representative Ed Case, who is going head to head this year against U.S. Senator Dan Akaka. She along with State Senator Bob Hogue from Kaneohe, are two candidates running in this race who actually live in the 2nd Congressional district. The crowded field of candidates include several who do not reside in the 2nd district but still making a run for the seat because the law says they can. We’ll see what happens this fall.

State Attorney General Mark Bennett touched upon the judicial triumphs this past legislation session that included the passage of tougher laws that punish criminals including the “three strikes” statute that mandates a 30-year prison sentence for repeat offenders, a stronger wiretap law and increased emphasis on prosecuting sexual predators, especially those who use computers to entice and commit a crime. He also warned conferees about the judicial mandatory retirement age repeal law that is being proposed as a constitutional amendment this fall. This amendment is a Democrat party proposal to stave off mandatory retirement of certain judges that were appointed before Governor Lingle took office in 2002.

Link: Small Business Hawaii
Photo: State Attorney General Mark Bennett speaks at SBH conference.

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