“We are nowhere near exiting the economic dark times, as the closures of many of Hawaii’s most beloved small businesses can attest."
Tomorrow’s adjournment will come as a relief, disappointment on four bills
Honolulu, May 4, 2022—Barring any last-minute surprises, tomorrow’s adjournment (May 5) of the Hawaii State Legislature will come as both a relief and disappointment for the state’s small-business owners, the state director for their largest representative group said today.
“Five hundred is a good batting average in baseball, but we would have loved to see it higher in politics,” said Melissa Pavlicek, Hawaii state director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation’s leading small-business association. “However, we’ll gladly take the two good things to come out of the Hawaii State Legislature that will be a benefit to our struggling small business enterprises.”
Pavlicek cited House Bill 1600 as the most important. It puts a down payment on aiding the solvency of Hawaii’s unemployment insurance trust fund. “The UI trust fund is financed entirely by taxes paid by employers so that those in need of unemployment benefits can collect from it. Without some financial assistance from the state, small-business owners, especially, were staring down the barrel of whopping UI tax increases.”
Also good for small business, the Legislature set aside House Bill 2399, which would have assessed a fee on producers of fast-moving consumer goods and certain to be passed on in the cost of goods. “We are nowhere near exiting the economic dark times, as the closures of many of Hawaii’s most beloved small businesses can attest. Small businesses are still hurting, and the best way governments can help is to not hurt them any further.”
Despite NFIB Hawaii’s opposition, House Bill 2510 increased the state’s minimum-wage rate and plotted new increases all the way through 2028, landing at $18 per hour, a 78 percent increase. Hawaii employers are already addressing the need to increase wages, Pavlicek said, as market forces have necessitated creative ways to find and keep employees. Most other states opted not to increase their minimum wages during these economically unpredictable times.
Employers can also anticipate new compliance requirements if Senate Bill 3289, establishing a Hawaii Retirement Savings Program is enacted. Affordable retirement savings programs are readily available, Pavlicek said. SB 3289 creates one more regulatory challenge for the small-business owners who don’t have the accounting and human resources staff big corporations do.”
For 78 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven association. Since its founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit nfib.com.
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