January 2022 HRA Executive Director’s Message

Aloha HRA members! First off, I must apologize for the late newsletter, as you may know, this year’s Legislative Session is off to a very busy start. The foodservice industry is grateful to our Government Relations Lead, Victor Lim. The truth is, he often jokes that he works more hours for our industry than he does for his own business. So, our hats are off to you Victor for all the necessary work you do to keep our industry running!

Our Government Relations Committee has been very active and meeting since September with key government officials. The main bills to watch this year include Minimum Wage and Tip Credit​​. We predict that many restaurants throughout Hawaii would retool the way they do business as it will be challenging to hire at these rates. Other bills to watch are, Unemployment Insurance Payback to the state’s UI fund, which would be a massive increase paid for by employers, and finally the newly proposed Sugar Tax, just to name a few.

Although many of these bills have been heard in committee already, it is important to know that the HRA needs you, the Hawaii restaurant industry, to submit written testimony, and attend these hearings to provide live testimony when allowed. It is not too late to get involved. 

I know that every year I sound like a nagging mother, but it is imperative you know that we need your voice. Key government officials need to know our difficulties so they can usher in the change we need. The Hawaii Restaurant Association urges you, the industry, to act. The more voices our government officials hear from our industry the louder our message is received. 

Non-participation on your part by not submitting written testimony or not speaking at hearings, implies you are not part of the solution. Silence equals dire consequences for our industry. Speaking to those who do not have the power to make change, is like speaking to an empty room.

We also need your participation in our surveys. The valuable data that we collect is presented to our government officials.  

And finally, HRA has been a loud voice regarding adding booster shots to our Safe Access Program in the hopes of lessening restrictions caused by the pandemic and ensuring the safety of all Hawaii residents. We are at the forefront of the fight and need more troops to support our efforts. If you are interested in participating on our Government Relations Committee, please email me at: info@hawaiirestaurant.org. We need your kokua and support today. Let’s work together to make the change needed for a win-win for everyone in Hawaii’s restaurant industry.

Mahalo nui loa! 

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