Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tax Breaks, Exemptions, Incentives....Who Should Avail of These?

The CNMI, in its worst economic situation faces many more challenges ahead. Gubernatorial elections coming up as this is yet another year expected to change the face of the CNMI with hopeful slogans, campaigns, platforms and missions to drive the economy back to where we feel stable enough to sustain.

The tax schemes offered to foreign investors are no doubt needed to entice them to come in. No doubt our islands do not offer much and given its remote locale in the Western Pacific, it makes it more difficult for investors to see their profits soar here with the inclement busines environment bestowed on us through global economic change.  However, I ask, who truly deserves these tax scheme incentives? Ok, over the last few years we have had the Qualifying Certificate applied to;

1. Hard Rock cafe
2. Saipan World Resort
3. Kumho Asiana

These are at least the three I can remember, there may be more, but I don't have that information readily available.  Catching these investors on our incentive is fine, I am not one to complain as I too use these benefits to help lure new business.

Now, we have these businesses on the tax scheme incentive, what other companies do you think should avail of these services. Personally,I think corporations that look at protecting our environment. We are now in an era where we must look at our natural resources, our land, our sea, our take for granted environment we abuse everyday.

I think recycling corporations should have some relief. Our newly constructed landfill in Marpi, supposedly a 25 years lifespan, possibly now cut by 10 years...Why? We built a transfer station to segregate the islands trash. Personal dumping by citizens or by refuse companies use to go and use the facility, if this stayed on course, we could see our 25 years landfill, but no, not now,, refuse companies are going directly tot he landfill without the segregation of trash, skip out on the transfer station and dump directly, thus cutting our landfill lifespan by at least 10 years.

The point is, if we allowed refuse corporation to take out recyclable materials and ship it out of our islands to be reused by the world, we are doing everyone here a favor. Our landfill lives its full lifetime, our people become more conscious about their trash, our islands maintain its beauty, hence the flourishing of once our hopeful tourism industry. Of course no one wants another Garapan incident where the landfill burnt up and out of control leaving a pungent stenching smell for our tourist, to me, that was embarrassing and it is a health hazard.

This is a community affair and not an individual, I share my views on this only to see how many more refuse companies would actually take the offer should the government allow them these tax breaks. Recycling education is needed to ensure the success of a recyclable program for the CNMI.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The A.L.L. - V-Day

Another Lesson Learned (A.L.L.) brings to mind the joyous and heartwarming experience of how V-days can actually be less costly, and more memorable. "This is where the true dinner is, whereas, amateurs are out trying to wine and dine their love ones" stated an individual last night...I laughed with glee knowing that those words could actually be so true in some ways.

My A.L.L. are built on sentiments of creativity and togetherness. Simple yet elegantly describe by fellow friends who have not experienced simplicity at it's best. Laughter, smiles, warm kisses, hugs, a nice bottle wine, some finger foods (healthy ones), great company all make the difference in making a memorable V-day. The lesson learned here is that if you place enough time to think about the way you want to spend V-day, then you may just find alternative means that are worth more than the 5-course dinner meal packages ranging at high prices, I do not say these are not good packages, but given the economy, the scarce of jobs and money opportunities, sometimes the simple things in life are valued higher than the conventional V-day activities commonly heard off, purchased and utilized by the majority.

This V-day experience is in my memory bank to ensuring that the month of February is no longer a dull month...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

NO One is above the LAW....

You have probably heard this numerous times before by politicians, enforcement officers, community guidance counselors, your parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends, co-workers and anyone else who understands norms, laws, regulations, rules, etc, say "no one is above the law".

Well, I was driving on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 around 08:22 am enroute to a meeting coming from Saipan's As Terlaje Hill heading down when two police vehicles sped right past me as if they were road racing.  It didn't bother me as I accelerated to maintain speed they were running as I thought, hmmm, if they can do it, I know they will not pull me over, I can save time on the road and get to my destination earlier.  Come to realize they were at speeds far beyond the speed limitation on that street.  Viewing my speedometer, taking the picture, trying to catch up to get that better shot, I realized they were traveling at a speed over 65 mph.  Swerving left to right and right to left with hardly using breaks, road racing, I thought...huh? Cops?

Yet, when they are on their feild day of issuing speeding tickets utilizing the lazer, even 1 mph over the allowable speed, guess what "your ticketed, your tagged, your paying a fine"... Now because they where the badge, are they allowed to do this?  A few years back, one officer was filling his bureau vehicle at a station where I too was filling at the time.  As he got his fill and left to get out on the road, he peeled off rubber intentionally to leave blackened, stenched smell of burning rubber behind him, and carelessly handling the vehicle at a take off speed that could have resulted in an accident if someone or something was ahead of him.  I thought to myself, yeah, young cop, just flexing his muscles....Disgusted and irritated by such actions, I tried not to think of it again.
Aha, I thought on that Tuesday morning, DPS recently had new recruits, new officers on the beat, young officers ready to make a name for themselves as law enforcement officers, but then again, they sped right by me and others causing a scene to be simply, "all other motorist are welcome to do as I do,"...They are the law, but they break it anayways, so why not you, why not me, why not every other civilian?

My images came a little late on the very fact that I was trying to drive safe at a maintained speed of over 65 mph, taking the camera out, taking the shot.  A few shots I have did not come out right, but these did, but by this time approaching the traffic, they started to slow down and I was able to catch up!

Feeling like a Champ!

Superbowl excitement was in the air, my brothers in Seattle and Oregon was at their feet knowing that for many years I supported the STEELERS, rallied on my behalf.  As the Steelers took the AFC and went on to clinch the Superbowl in 2009, they were ecstatic to share the news, calling me the very day expressing congratulatory news as if I was in the game myself.. It was very funny, but they knew my passion for the team as I stuck with them throughout the years.

In return they thought as a gesture they send me a token memoribillia of the official wear of the Steelers,  Now I can truly say I am in the game.. supporting at!

Thanks Ryan and Gerry for this wonderful gift!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Island Resort Turning Ghost Town?

These type of signs not allowed!

Saipan, Tinian and Rota, suffering the demise of being remotely isolated from population is undertaking tremendous hardship.  I say no more of Tinian and Rota who are suffering horridly, while Saipan, continues with its progress of completing the Island chain of Ghosts!!

With recent regulations and enforcement of Zoning advising store owners to remove signs that do not meet standard, I have a question on that.  Although the regulations are useful to streamlining or standardizing look and feel, I question the fact of how to market new products in the store if temp signs, or window advertisements are not allowed.

How about road side vendors? Literally they still use cardboard boxes as signs indicating the products they sell from their truck, what about the Fishermen in San Jose, do they have to remove the fish names that they have available, because you cannot market the product, so you mean to say ,  no more tuna signs and other type of fish signs indicating its available. The island looks bare without advertisements. Businesses cannot market their product, why are we prohibiting this? If anything should be done, it should be enforced to make it better design wise other than the shabby look currently seen in some business establishments.

Take for example the tinted window display or advertisements, these are made from quality material but yet it is banned? These are the Coca-Cola window film and other products.  I don't understand, our island resort to become a dead ghost town should more close out sales be more apparent as business is difficult in the islands.

About Me

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Just a simple man who loves and cares for his family. Personal views with life in general, business and challenges in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Sharing what we have through publications BISON Relations push out for everyone to keep abreast of what's happening in our beloved island home, Saipan.