With the Chamber of Maui Political Action Committee (COMPAC) endorsements this week, including no endorsements in some races and some who might be considered underdogs endorsed in others, it is important to note the basis for COMPAC endorsements is being identified as the most "business-friendly" candidate. It is not a popularity vote or determined by who is likely to win.
It is based on where candidates stand on legislative priories and business issues, their plans and solutions, and, if an incumbent, their past performance.
Candidates are scored on questions for their respective race and must receive a minimum overall score of 60 percent to be deemed "business-friendly" as we are not looking for "business-average." For state races, the Paychecks Hawaii 2012 Legislative Report (smartbusinesshawaii.com/index.php/news/article/2012-Legislature-Ratings/) was also reviewed. Here is what we discussed.
* County deficit and your plan to address it. What is the amount of unfunded liability?
* Specific proposals will you make to create a more equitable real property tax system.
* Your efforts to ensure the Maui Island Plan supports economic and business growth, adequately allowing for future growth in a timely fashion to maximize opportunities.
* Your top infrastructure priorities and the specific proposals you will make to maintain and further develop Maui's infrastructure. What role will the private sector play in this?
* Your proposals to solve the issue of water availability and how you will address the cost. What will you do to create new water sources and increase storage capacity?
* Would you support incorporating a business impact statement review when legislation is being drafted to help avoid unintended consequences?
STATE HOUSE, SENATE
* The state deficit and your plan to address it. What is the current state debt? If elected, will you make this a primary issue?
* Government employee health and retirement benefits system: Do you feel the system is broken, and, if so, what will you do to fix it? Are you willing take a stance against the government employee unions to bring costs down?
* How do you feel about Hawaii's educational system and the average cost per student? Would an independent audit of the Department of Education help?
* Under what circumstances, if any, would you support a general excise tax increase?
* Would you support incorporating a business and economic review when legislation is being drafted to help avoid unintended consequences?
* Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obamacare): Please explain the impact this will have on businesses in Hawaii.
* Do you support tort reform to limit punitive damages? Would you support a system where the loser pays?
U.S. HOUSE, SENATE
* The national debt is over $15 trillion. What will you do to tackle this albatross that affects every man, woman and child?
* On Jan. 1, 2013, we will experience the highest single-year tax hike in U.S. history, estimated to cost every person in Hawaii $3,000 on average. Do you support this tax increase and how do you feel about tax increases in general?
* What are the three most important areas to address to aid our economic recovery?
* Do you support the Affordable Health Care Act? If not, what would you replace it with?
* Where do you stand on Social Security and do you see a solvency issue?
* What solutions do you have to address the gridlock in Washington?
Other organizations with different priorities may endorse other candidates. COMPAC's endorsements let businesses and the public know which candidates will support and advocate for our local businesses and will work to change those systems that hurt them.
* Pamela Tumpap is president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce.