House Republicans oppose proposed GET increase

September 11, 2012

Honolulu – Today, House Republicans presented a letter to the Tax Review Commission opposing the commission’s proposal to increase the GET and other taxes. In the letter, Republicans argue that increasing taxes would hurt Hawaii’s most vulnerable citizens and negatively impact Hawaii’s economic recovery.

The letter reads as follows:

“Dear Chair Iwase and Members:

The House Minority Caucus would like to express its appreciation to The PFM Group for their work in developing their report titled Study of the Hawai‘i Tax System: Final Report, dated August 28, 2012.  We would like to note that the report contains a number of recommendations we agree with and support including the elimination of the .5 percent GET and Use Tax rate on business-to-business transactions, the elimination of the individual income tax on the first $20,000 of adjusted gross income, the increase of refundable food/excise tax income tax credits, and improvements in tax administration.  These recommendations would improve system efficiency and reduce taxes on low-income individuals.

Unfortunately, the report also contains a number of recommendations that we vehemently oppose.  The most egregious of these recommendations are the increase of the GET rate from 4.0 percent to 4.5 percent (which is actually an increase to 5 percent for the majority of people of Hawai‘i), the implementation of income tax on pension income, the elimination of the income tax deduction for property taxes paid, and the increase of the corporate income tax rate.  We find these recommendations, as well as others in the report, disappointing and disagreeable as they increase taxes on individuals and businesses placing a greater burden upon them.

This is especially problematic given the state of Hawai‘i’s economy and the significant cost of living faced by residents of the state.  An increase in taxes would be a detriment to individuals and businesses at this most inopportune of times.  Rather than exploring ways to increase revenue, we believe government spending should be curtailed and be done in a smarter and more efficient manner.

Furthermore, we feel the business climate should be improved in the state through improved regulatory procedures and greater government efficiency.  A more business-friendly environment would help companies conduct business thereby growing the economy and helping the people of Hawai‘i.”

HMIN_Letter_10_11_2012

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The 9th Annual “I LOVE LILIHA” Town Festival Will be held on Sunday, August 26, 2012

When:         Sunday, August 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m

Where:        Kuakini Street and Liliha

What:           Block Party  “I Love Liliha”

The 9th Annual “I LOVE LILIHA” Town Festival will proudly reconvene this year on Sunday, August 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Each year the ever-popular block party held on the last Sunday of August gathers business leaders, vendors, healthcare providers, entertainers and government agencies together, joining hands with community residents to celebrate the spirit and heritage of Liliha-Nuuanu.   Over the day’s course, last year’s event gathered approximately five-thousand attendees from within Liliha and beyond.

 

Sponsors such as Finance Factors, Liliha Bakery, and Longs Pharmacy have since 2004 allowed the Festival to offer free admission, which it will continue to provide this year.  To start the day, The Royal Hawaiian Band, will delight attendees from 10am to 11am.    Two-time Grammy award nominee Earl Stuckey, Jr. who has also been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame is also scheduled to perform.  Hawaii’s favorite comic Augie T will meet and greet people between 10am and 12.   Other events include singer Lorna Kaeck, a Chinese lion dance performed by Kong Siu Lum Pai, and an oral historian, Hazel Ho who will recite tales of her experience growing up in the District.

“We are honored to have the sponsors we do to support the festival each year,” says Representative Corinne W. L. Ching, “‘I LOVE LILIHA” is nothing if not individual gems of the community arriving at one place and time, to remind residents why they should be proud to call Liliha home.”

The event features fresh local produce, plant and flower sales, handmade arts and crafts from local artisans, live entertainment, a “Keiki Fun Zone” bounce house, health information and screenings, representatives from community organizations such as the FBI, Hawaii State Civil Defense and Neighborhood Boards.   A Taste of Liliha” featuring food sampling from Liliha neighborhood restaurants such as Erin’s Shave Ice and Cotton Candy will delight the attendees.   An antique fire truck rides also highlights the experience each year for many.

 

The annual town festival offers a venue to showcase the many reasons one may rightly exclaim “I love Liliha!”  Bring your beach umbrellas, mats & chairs, and spend the day! Free parking is also available.

Request to Veto – Re: S.B. No. 2424 — Professional Employer Organizations

June 12, 2012

The Honorable Neil Abercrombie
Governor of Hawai’i Executive Chambers,
Hawai’i State Capitol
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96813

Re: S.B. No. 2424 — Professional Employer Organizations

Dear Governor Abercrombie:

A total of 19 representatives voted against S.B. No. 2424 on final reading including all Republican representatives. This bill would have catastrophic consequences for many professional employee organizations (PEOs), also known as employee leasing companies. Many small PEOs were not aware of this measure until very late in the legislative session. Otherwise they would have opposed the bill much earlier.

If enacted, it would be difficult, perhaps impossible, for these small businesses to comply with the bonding and registration requirements. Any PEO company that handles 100 employees must purchase a minimum $500,000 bond, and it is questionable whether these bonds are obtainable.

Registration fees run from $2,500/biennium for PEOs that handle only 100 of their clients’ employees. Fees are $10,000 for 500 employees. These fees are far in excess of what other states charge for registration which is around $100 according to testimony. $100 would be a more rational fee to do business in Hawai’i.

Please veto this measure. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Rep. Ching addresses HB 2099 – Workers’ Compensation

Conf. Comm. Rep. No. 50-12 H.B. No. 2099, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, C.D. 1 RELATING TO WORKERS’ COMPENSATION.(Workers’ Compensation; Attorney’s Fees; Costs)
AS AMENDED, PASS FINAL READING

Description
The purpose of this bill is “to improve the efficiency of the workers’ compensation system by allowing attorney’s fees to be included in costs that may be assessed against a party who brings, prosecutes, or defends a workers’ compensation claim without reasonable grounds”.
The current (HD1) draft:
• Amends HRS 386-93(a) to include the phrase “including reasonable attorney’s fees”.
• Is effective July 1, 2112 (to promote further discussion).

The original draft, unlike the current draft:
• Had technical issues, which the HD1 corrects.
• Had an “upon approval” effective date.
One might be concerned about the impact of this bill, given the fact that ILWU and quite a few worker/plaintiff lawyers support it.
Hawaii Insurers Council, while not opposing bill as a whole, asked for an amendment to allow compensation for “the whole costs of the proceedings and reasonable attorney’s fees” instead of for “the whole costs of the proceedings including reasonable attorney’s fees”. This is because attorney costs do not necessarily include attorney fees.
Opponents
Hawaii Insurers Council (only opposed part of the language with regard to attorney fees or attorney costs.)

Contact: repching@capitol.hawaii.gov Excerpt from Capitol TV

CYBER CRIME PACKAGE PASSES STATE LEGISLATURE

The State Legislature has passed three groundbreaking bills to curb the growing cyber crime trend in Hawaii. The bills were the result of the cyber crime informational briefing co-chaired by Representatives Kymberly Marcos Pine and George Fontaine.

Under these bills, law enforcement and prosecutors will have increased ability to charge cyber criminals with new or increased penalties.

“The cyber crime package gives new hope to victims that their perpetrators will be prosecuted,” said Rep. Pine. “My hope is that Hawaii will soon be one the toughest states in the nation to be a cyber criminal.”

HB 1777 authorizes district and circuit court judges in Hawaii to order the production of records held by entities located outside of the state in all criminal cases. The intent is to help prosecutors to obtain electronic evidence that is often stored by mainland organizations. The Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office advocated for the bill, testifying that it was the most important action Hawaii could take to aid in the prosecution of cybercriminals.

“Supporting law enforcement is key,” said Rep. Fontaine. “Members of our caucus worked extensively with the Prosecutor’s Office to introduce an identical bill this session. I’m proud of my colleagues for equipping law enforcement with this critical tool to protect residents from computer crimes.”

HB 1788, a cybercrime omnibus bill, toughens computer crime laws by modeling language after existing identity theft laws defining computer fraud as an aggravated form of theft. It also imposes harsher penalties by raising each existing crime one grade higher. Most notably, the bill creates a new offense of Computer Fraud in the Third Degree, a class C felony. The crime would involve knowingly accessing a computer, computer system, or computer network, with intent to commit theft in the third or fourth degree.

HB 2295 expands the existing offense of Use of a Computer in the Commission of a Separate Crime to include situations where a perpetrator knowingly uses a computer to perform certain acts against a victim or intended victim of Harassment under HRS 711-1106 or Harassment by Stalking under HRS 711‑1106.5. The bill clarifies that the offense is also committed when the perpetrator knowingly uses a computer to pursue, surveil, contact, harass, annoy, or alarm a victim or intended victim.

COMMENDATION FOR ANNUAL LILIHA-NUUANU CANDLELIGHT TOUR

The office of Representative Corinne Ching

recognized with Historic Hawaii Foundation’s

 preservation commendation for annual  Liliha-Nuuanu Candlelight Tour

The Office of Representative Corinne W.L. Ching will be recognized on Friday, May 11, 2012 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center from 4:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. with a Preservation Commendation at Historic Hawaii Foundation’s 2012 Preservation Honor Awards Ceremony – “the highest recognition of preservation projects that perpetuate, rehabilitate, restore or interpret the state’s architectural, archaeological and / or cultural heritage,” according to the foundation.

Representative Corinne W.L. Ching along with her staff, Jessica Bursack, Tiffany Au, Lindsey Barrow, Deborah Bossley, and Austin Benoit with a group of volunteers spearheaded the 2012 Nu’uanu-Liliha Candlelight tour through the architectural and historic sites in the 27th district.  Founded in 2006 and conducted annually every Moonlight February, the complimentary tour is open to the public and serves as an educational and advocacy mission focused on raising civic responsibility, stewardship of one’s heritage, knowledge of historic preservation, and appreciation for culture and community.  Those who sign up for this Annual complimentary tour of District 27 are gifted with a Chieftess Liliha tote bag, Heritage calendar and bookmark, information on the district as well as its proposition as a National Heritage Area.

Sites that participated in the candlelight tour that will also be recognized include the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office, Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, Consulate General of Japan, Daughters of Hawaii, Philippine Consulate General, Community Church of Honolulu and the Academy of the Pacific.

According to Representative Ching, “The tour features the best of this historic corridor which includes a variety of Hawaii’s multicultural past as well as distinctive historic architecture unique to the district and a chance to meet with community organizations.”

For further information contact Tiffany Au at 808-586-9415 or at repching@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Harnessing Heritage with Rep Ching – Thriving

Host Representative Corinne Ching speaks with
Guest 1: Dr. James Ireland / Director, Honolulu Emergency Services Dept. and
Guest 2: Leslie Lam / Executive Director, American Diabetes Assn. Hawaii and
Guest 3 Viola Genadio/ RN, APRN, CDE, BC-ADM

This special program will focus on preserving our heritage through the health of our community. As some of you may know, March is Kidney Month. In light of Kidney Month, we are pleased to introduce the Green Anthurium Project. The Green Anthurium, one of the longest living plants indigenous to our islands, is a symbol of our Diabetes Awareness Campaign. The Green Anthurium Project encourages the community to live well, healthy and revitalize our lives and is inspired by the late Ms. Beverlyn Ho, a dear friend, who passed on due to Diabetes.
The Green Anthurium embodies the reminder to live well and eat well. By giving the Green Anthurium, you’re saying, “Thank you, I appreciate you — be well, live well.”

Contact Repching@capitol.hawaii.gov Excerpt from Capitol TV