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AAHOA Statement in Response to the State of the Union Address

publication date: Jan 29, 2014
author/source: HospitalityEducators.com Resources

AAHOA Statement in Response to the State of the Union Address

Wednesday, January 29, 2014





ATLANTA, GA -Mehul Patel, National Chairman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) issued the following statement in response to President Obama's State of the Union Address:


Tonight, President Obama spoke optimistically about the outlook for America's future and emphasized his desire to be decisive on issues facing the nation.  He encouraged, "let's make this a year of action.  That's what most Americans want - for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations."  The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) welcomes the President's focus on our nation's economic recovery, particularly as small business owners continue to face serious challenges in growing their businesses and creating jobs. 


President Obama communicated his aspirations for a proactive approach to fiscal and economic concerns and emphasized his desire to engage in a bipartisan dialogue seeking solutions.  As we witnessed earlier this year with the budget resolution that passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support, cooperation between Congress and the Administration can lead to significant progress. 


In a few weeks, President Obama will release his budget proposal for 2015, which will outline specific initiatives to foster economic growth.  The President is expected to again call for a reauthorization of the Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 refinancing program.  We are hopeful leaders in Washington will join in a bipartisan effort to pass this important provision. During the time in which the (SBA) 504 refinance program was authorized, it provided a lifeline to thousands of small business owners with no cost to taxpayers. Unfortunately the program came to an arbitrary end in September of 2012. A reauthorization of the (SBA) 504 refinance program will undoubtedly again help spur job creation and business development. 


As job creators, hoteliers are consistently concerned with issues affecting opportunities both at the national and local levels.  It is for that reason, AAHOA is troubled by the President's endorsement of a federal mandate to dramatically increase the minimum wage.  Hoteliers are at the forefront of providing jobs to working-class Americans and take particular pride in offering entry-level opportunities to young workers.  For small businesses, the ability to maintain and acquire employees is a delicate proposition.  A drastic increase to the cost of labor will necessarily result in a reduction in the demand for such labor. In some cases, employers may be driven to reduce the size of their workforces, delay hiring new employees, or in the case of companies with high labor costs, be forced to close their businesses.  AAHOA encourages the President to work with Congress to find solutions that will stimulate economic growth and create a climate that cultivates job creation in the private sector.   


Ultimately, hoteliers and other small business owners rely on certainty in economic conditions and labor relations.  It is for this reason, AAHOA urges the President to reflect on his signature legislation and adopt bipartisan proposals in Congress to create certainty in healthcare reform.  As employer shared responsibility rules under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) go into effect next year, the law continues to include a change in the definition of full-time status, from the traditional understanding of 40 hours per week, to 30 hours.  This modification has been recognized by Democrats and Republicans as confusing and detrimental to the employee-employer relationship.  Consequently, AAHOA urges adoption of legislation that reinstates forty hours as full time status under the ACA. 


AAHOA recognizes the hard work that the President and Congressional leaders have undertaken to bring America out of the recession.  We share the President's optimism for the year ahead and we echo his sentiment that, "the America we want for our kids - a rising America where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us."  AAHOA looks forward to working with the President, his Administration, Congressional leaders in both parties and our coalition partners across the hospitality industry to promote prosperity and job creation throughout the United States. 


Founded in 1989, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), is the largest hotel owners association in the world, with more than 12,000 small business owner-members. AAHOA members own more than 20,000 properties amounting to more than 40% of all hotels in the United States and employ nearly 600,000 workers accounting for over $9.4 billion in payroll annually.

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