House Bill 634 HD1 SD1 that requires those who purchase a business with 100 or more employees in Hawaii to keep all existing nonmanagement employees still lives.
The Maui Chamber of Commerce opposes this bill, along with: Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, Kauai Chamber of Commerce, Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, Molokai Chamber of Commerce, North Shore Chamber of Commerce, Building Industry Association of Hawaii, General Contractors Association, Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association, Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, Hawaii Food Industry Association, Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, Hawaii Restaurant Association, National Federation of Independent Businesses and many individual businesses.
Each of these groups has members large and small. We recognize that HB634 HD1 SD1 is bad for all businesses and our economic health on many levels as it will:
* Decrease the number of buyers interested in buying businesses in Hawaii with this caveat.
* Make businesses of 100 or more difficult, if not impossible, to sell and hurt local owners and families.
* Reduce the market value of these business.
* Hamper investment in Hawaii.
* Force some businesses into foreclosure.
* Discourage businesses from growing to 100 or more.
* Have the opposite effect of its intended purpose to "protect employees."
Yet, despite the fact that this bill has come up and been shot down before and a majority of Hawaii's industry groups oppose the bill, it is still being discussed, and we are getting down to the wire.
Therefore, The Alliance, a group off associations and industry groups who stand for protecting Hawaii's economy and preserving jobs, organized a walk-around the state Capitol on Monday so that individual businesses and groups could voice their concerns directly with lawmakers. We are a member of this coalition and Chairman Nelson Okumura and I flew over to represent our membership. Joining business owners (who represented businesses small and large), other Chambers and associations, we walked from office to office, covering every senator and representative, to share our concerns and provide them with a handout on the adverse affects of this bill for their consideration.
Many we spoke of were unfamiliar with the bill; they were told they would hear more about it along the way. Others knew of it and had varying levels of concern. Even Maui's own Rep. Kyle Yamashita, who introduced the bill, shared that he had some reservations. Some said they were trusting in the analysis of others and moved it forward as a "courtesy." However, that is not helpful to the people of Hawaii, particularly when it is such a bad bill.
If this bill passes, Hawaii will be the only state in the nation with this law, adding to our already terrible reputation as a difficult place to do business and invest in. Therefore, whether this bill directly impacts you or not, it is bad for business and will affect us all.
As of this writing, the fate of this bill is unknown. As of Friday afternoon, the legislative conference committee was still working on the bill.
It is important to be informed. But, more importantly, I hope you were part of the effort to share your concerns in advance to try and stop it. Business matters and we need people to stand up and shout if from the roof tops so that we stop wasting time on measures such as this.
* Pamela Tumpap is president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce.