During this legislative session, a resolution was proposed that will help us become sustainable. The resolution, SCR134 (adopted), requests the convening of a working group to investigate the creation of a locally focused, Hawai‘i-based stock exchange.
Sen. Roz Baker and a group of enterprising Maui businessmen—David Fisher (previous director of the Maui Small Business Development Center in Kïhei’s Maui Research & Technology Center), John Kevan and Virendra Nath drafted this resolution. Local stock exchanges are different than large exchanges such as Wall Street in that the focus is on local investors investing in local ventures. One of the advantages of a local exchange is that it will be able to facilitate direct public offerings. So far, most of the capital raised for small ventures has been through private investors. By following a model proposed by Michael Shuman (author of Smallmart), a public offering would cost around $20,000 to $30,000, instead of the $1 million-plus an IPO costs on Wall Street (HILocalExchange.org). Funding for small businesses would encourage inventiveness.
Shuman was also keynote speaker at the 2009 Hawai‘i Congress of Planning Professionals conference at the Grand Wailea, in which he spoke about the importance of, “ ...unleashing the creativity of entrepreneurs.”
Speaking of creativity, another piece of legislation that would help Maui’s economy is SB 318—film studio tax credits (waiting for 2012 session). Relativity Media, which has already successfully utilized tax credits to boost the film industry in Montreal, would like to build a studio on Maui.
A film studio would provide many jobs in construction without using a lot of land. Workers would build a set—only to demolish it and start over. The studio would be certified at Platinum LEEDS standard. It would also provide jobs for extras and business to local eateries and hotels, etc. This would be a win-win for all, with no downside. In addition to movies, many television series would jump at the opportunity to bring their cast to Maui to film an episode.