Chamber of Commerce Hawaii

In this February 22, 2017 edition:

Key Speakers Slated for Committee Meeting
MAC Visit to Leilehua High School
BOE Asks for Feedback from Business Community

President's Message

Aloha Chamber members:

A majority of our laws and regulations impact the expense side of businesses. As the “Voice of Business,” the Chamber team actively advocates policy for business and delivers results. 

Our legislature hears from a wide variety of stakeholders on policy issues; the business community cannot afford to stay silent. Collectively, when we take action, we can make a difference. This is one of the reasons why we are working hard to reach our 2017 members by the end of 2017 goal. To date, we are 1,600 members strong. The more members we have, the larger the army and the stronger our voice.
This legislative session, we have reviewed and testified on a number of bills that impact business. The first major legislative milestone is upon us when bills that are still alive move to the final committee before a floor vote is taken in each respective chamber, after which these bills crossover for another set of hearings in the opposite chamber.
Some of the bills that we support and continue to move forward are economic development bills. Other bills relate to mandates, such as paid sick and safe leave, while others increase the cost of doing business, including minimum wage and tax bills.

The Chamber certainly understands the intent of these bills. However, some may have unintended consequences. For example, a provision in HB 209 that restores income tax rates for high income brackets that was repealed at the end of 2015 will increase taxes on small businesses, if passed.

A paid sick and safe leave bill will have a significant impact on the cost of doing business, particularly for small businesses.
A minimum wage increase is already in effect and next year it will be further increased. Without studying the effects of the increase on businesses, we cannot support this session’s bill, which increases minimum wage to $15. As we have stated in our testimony, Hawaii is the only state that has Pre-paid Healthcare. At the present minimum wage increase for 2018, with other mandates factored in, including Workers’ Compensation and TDI, the average hourly benefit provided rises to over $14.66/hour. At the proposed minimum wage hike to $15/hour, the benefit cost will be anywhere from $19 to over $23/hour. 

According to a University of Washington study, when the minimum wage increased in Seattle, many hourly workers saw their hours reduced. Furthermore, tying wage increases to the Consumer Price Index does not take into account situations when the economy takes a downturn.
For these reasons, the Chamber will continue to advocate on legislation that impacts business and serve as your voice. Equally important is your voice. We strongly encourage you to respond to our Action Alerts and bring a unified voice to our legislators.

Laulima & mahalo,

Sherry Menor-McNamara
President & CEO

Business Advocacy

Key Speakers Slated for Committee Meeting

Two key public officials will be speaking about the 2017 Legislative Session and initiatives at this month’s Workplace Environment & Competitiveness (WEC) committee meeting. Minimum wage hike; mandated paid family, sick, safe leave; Workers’ Compensation; and other issues will be discussed.

Lunch will be provided so please RSVP to attend this meeting, if you have not already done so. Policy Committee meetings are open to all members.

Thursday, Feb. 23 – WEC Committee
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
- Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Chair, Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee
- Linda Chu Takayama, Director, DLIR
Learn more about the Chamber's Business Advocacy program.

Military Affairs

MAC Visit to Leilehua High School

Last Friday, the Quality of Life Committee of the Military Affairs Council (MAC) visited Leilehua High School’s Aloha Transition Center (LTC). With the large number of military dependents that have attended Leilehua historically, the LTC was established in 2005 to better meet the challenges faced by transitioning students. The LTC welcomes approximately 250 new students each year, half of which are military families.

While the military students are LTC’s primary focus, the program seeks to assist all new students in achieving academic success at the school. Through its ambassador program of 30 student volunteers who have been through the program, the LTC engages new students and provides ongoing support. 

While Leilehua is one of the few schools that have committed resources to this initiative, the LTC could do so much more with monetary donations. The MAC will be working with the state DOE, Hawaii 3Rs and the business community to ensure this program’s success.

For more information about LTC, click here.

Learn more about the Chamber's Military Affairs program.

Membership News

BOE Asks for Feedback from Business Community
As part of its search for a Superintendent of Hawaii’s K-12 public education system, the Board of Education wants to know what students, parents, teachers, administrators, businesses, community members and other stakeholders think are the most important characteristics for a Superintendent.  
To access the short survey and provide your opinion, visit this link. The survey will be open until 8:00 a.m. on Monday, February 27, 2017. For more information about the search process, visit the Board’s Superintendent Search page by clicking here.

Check out our Member Spotlight page and special Member-to-Member discount offers.
Chamber Events:
Feb. 23: YP 2017 Exec Connect and PDC Launch Party

Mar. 18: Mad About March HORSE Tournament

Member Events:
Feb. 23: Hawaii SBDC Presents State Procurement 101

Feb. 28: Pathways to Profits: Business Model Canvas “Hands-on Workshop”

Mar. 13-17: Jr DevLeague Academy Spring Break 2017

Apr. 8: YMCA of Honolulu Healthy Kids Day

ProService HR Training Schedule (PDF)

Neighbor Island Chamber News:
Hawaii Island

Hawaii Congressional Delegation News:
U.S. Senator Brian Schatz
U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono
U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa
U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard

Other Member News
Business in Hawaii with Reg Baker – Bank of Hawaii Update with Kevin Sakamoto

Mahalo to our Investors' Circle Members!

Member Discount Offers, Job Postings, Advertising Sponsorship & more.

Copyright © 2016 Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, all rights reserved.

1132 Bishop Street  |  Suite 2105
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
(808) 545-4300  |

update your preferences or unsubscribe