When Duke Aiona introduced his policy agenda for jobs and the economy on Aug. 18, the Republican candidate for governor said, “Small business is really big business in Hawaii. It accounts for about 99 percent of Hawaii’s businesses, 68 percent of private jobs and 63 percent of the total labor payments in the state.”

An Aiona campaign spokesman said they got their information from the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, citing 2008 figures.

Civil Beat couldn’t find Aiona’s exact numbers in the 2008 State of Hawaii Data Book, so we checked with DBEDT.

Turns out the lieutenant governor knew his stuff.

“In 2008, Hawaii had a total of 184,689 small businesses, of which 152,569 were proprietor firms,” said Eugene Tian, acting administrator for DBEDT’s Research and Economic Analysis Division. “Small businesses accounted for 99.6 percent of Hawaii total businesses. These small businesses had 475,248 jobs, accounted for 68.2 percent of state total jobs. Total small business payroll and proprietors income totaled $13.8 million, accounted for 62.9 percent of state total payment for labor.”

Civil Beat gives Aiona credit for only rounding up the labor payment numbers — a true fiscal conservative.

The U.S. Small Business Administration says the federal government defines small businesses as having fewer than 500 employees.

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