From your farmer, the president.
My fish pond is suffering, the taro is wilting and tangerines are not getting picked. It has been a busy, but very fast first two months. My term officially started Jan. 1 and I actually got 4 days off before we had our first executive board meeting. Since then, I have traveled to Hilo, Lihue, Palm Springs, Washington DC, and to Honolulu 8 times. Additional, I opened a new real estate office on Maui as BIC. In my spare time, my son Jeremy and I closed 6 escrows and took 8 new listings. Now you know why my chickens donâ€™t get fed unless my wife Laura or my daughters Chloe and Brianna do it.
We have had tremendous success in committee building this year. Almost every committee is off and running at full speed. Education has been totally transformed by chair Beth Holiday. She has 18 members and every one of them is excited about their participation. They all have jobs and are accountable to each other to get them done. The state convention committee is new and is planning our convention for fall 2011 on Oahu. We still need a few volunteers for this committee. GAC chair Rowena Hong and her committee have their hands full trying to push our bills to extend continuing education to 20 hours per biennium, keep GET taxes from increasing, holding on to the hurricane fund with a tight grip, at the same time watching hundreds of bill that affect our business. Finance chair Felix Osorno and Standard Forms chair Colin Dunlop are on steady courses making sure we budget and balance as well as have the correct forms to do our business.
Get ready to do battle. As we get closer to the close of the state legislature, we expect big tax increase proposals. We are ready. The GAC committee has requested $100,000 from Issues Mobilization for opposition to a GET tax increase. We will involve all local boards and NAR in our fight. The dire effects of a tax increase on unemployed workers, increased costs to home builders and buyers, crushing blows to business and the huge multiplier effect of layered GET which according to Lowell Kalapa from the tax foundation makes the GET higher than an equivalent 10% sales tax make this a very important fight. How many REALTORS Â® would be happy with just a 20% pay cut from their 2007 earnings right now? We have cut staff, closed offices, turned off air conditioners, drive very used cars, and shop at Ross. We know what cuts mean.
President Elect Berton Hamamoto and 1st Vice President Stephany Doughty are headed for the second Leadership Academy in April along with 12 lucky associates who will be chosen to attend in the next couple of weeks. Beth Holiday will again be the instructor and course developer. All of the 2009 graduates are now in leadership positions around the state. I wish that I could attend again, the skills that I learned have really helped my business, my personal life, and my leadership ability.
The best is for last. We get to elect a new congressperson! Our RPAC trustees will be meeting shortly to pick a candidate to support in the upcoming special election to be held May 22 for the seat vacated by Neil Ambercrombie, now running for the Governors seat. Look for calls to support our choice of candidate. We donâ€™t all get to vote in this race as it is for the 1st congressional seat on Oahu. Remember however, this person represents Hawaii in Washington and we only have 2 Representative and 2 Senators. This is a very important race and we will support the REALTOR Â® Party candidate.
If you are a broker, expect a call over the next month to sign up for the NAR Broker Involvement Program. We need your agentâ€™s voices on our NAR calls to action. Look what happened last fall; we managed to get the home buyers tax credit extended because over 200,000 of our members used our call to action. We need 400,000 next times! E-mail me and I will send you the details: email@example.com