Who runs Sacramento? There’s a good argument to be made that, despite Democratic control of the Governor’s seat and both houses of legislature, it’s the California Chamber of Commerce that gets its way. Here’s some material from their press release last week (and their new website) about what they call “job killer” bills:
During the past year, 30 bills identified as “job killers” were introduced in the California Legislature. That’s the bad news.
These “job killers” have something for every business and industry in California to hate – automatic minimum wage increases, increased employer liability, new barriers to economic development, more regulations and higher taxes on business.
Here’s the good news: We’ve stopped 29 of these 30 “job killers” – and you deserve the credit.
Here’s the scoresheet:
2011: 30 “job killer” bills identified, 5 sent to the Governor, 4 vetoed
2010: 43 “job killer” bills identified, 12 sent to Governor, 10 vetoed;
2009: 33 “job killer” bills identified, 6 sent to Governor, 6 vetoed;
2008: 39 “job killer” bills identified, 10 sent to Governor, 9 vetoed;
2007: 30 “job killer” bills identified, 12 sent to Governor, 12 vetoed;
2006: 40 “job killer” bills identified, 11 sent to Governor, 9 vetoed;
2005: 45 “job killer” bills identified, 8 sent to Governor, 7 vetoed;
2004: 23 “job killer” bills identified, 10 sent to Governor, 10 vetoed;
2003: 53 “job killer” bills identified, 13 sent to Governor, 2 vetoed;
2002: 35 “job killer” bills identified, 17 sent to Governor, 5 vetoed
2001: 12 “job killer” bills identified, 5 sent to Governor, 2 vetoed;
2000: No job killers identified. Of 4 bad bills identified at end of session, Governor Davis signs 2 and vetoes 2.
1999: 30 “job killer” bills identified, 9 sent to Governor, 3 vetoed;
1998: 64 “job killer” bills identified, 11 sent to Governor, 11 vetoed.
1997: 57 “job killer” bills identified, 9 sent to Governor, 9 vetoed.
That’s a pretty remarkable record of success. Now maybe some of these bills did deserve to be spiked; I haven’t looked at them all. Either way, what strikes me is their overwhelming record of success over the past 15 years, except for during two years under Gov. Gray Davis, and even then they were spiking 2/3 to 3/4 of their targets. So that makes this announcement pretty significant:
The California Chamber of Commerce today released its annual list of “job killer” bills calling attention to the negative impact that 23 proposed measures would have on California’s competitiveness and job climate if they were to become law. CalChamber also unveiled a new, one-of-a-kind website — CAJobKillers.com — which will highlight California’s job killing proposals, policies, regulations, and legislators.
“This year’s ‘job killer’ list includes 23 bills that threaten to create further hardships and costs for private sector job creators in a time of unprecedented unemployment,” said Allan Zaremberg, President and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses are clamoring for commonsense proposals and a return to reason in California. In a state where we need to do everything possible to improve the economy, it is imperative that legislators stop introducing and passing bills that cost jobs and erode the quality of life for all Californians.”
CalChamber’s new website, www.CAJobKillers.com, will serve as a clearinghouse for all information related to those bills, regulations and policy makers deemed to be a threat to California’s ability to retain and create jobs. Visitors to the site will have ready access to bill information, CalChamber position letters, articles, and CalChamber News video segments.
Legislation included on the “job killer” list released today will change throughout the year as bills are amended or new language is introduced.
The 2012 “job killer” list follows:
Barriers to Economic Recovery
AB 1543 (Alejo; D-Salinas) Unconstitutional Limit on International Trade — Increases the cost of state contracts and reinstates a requirement already struck down by California courts by prohibiting state and local governments from contracting with many businesses that use component parts and materials from other countries in construction projects and to manufacture goods.
AB 1897 (Campos; D-San Jose) Impedes Development — Increases the cost of development and creates project delays by requiring that general plans incorporate concepts related to healthy food access and urban agriculture.
AB 1963 (Huber; D-El Dorado Hills) Targeted Tax on Services — Imposes a new sales-and-use-tax base on numerous services, disadvantaging California businesses that will not benefit by the proposed reduction in other tax rates.
AB 2517 (Eng; D-Monterey Park) Inappropriate Wage Liens — Will basically destroy the real estate market in California by allowing employees to file liens on an employer’s real property or any other person’s real property where work was performed for unproven wage claims, that take precedent over almost any other lien on the property, including mortgages.
AB 2540 (Gatto; D-Los Angeles) Targeted Tax on Services — Imposes a new sales-and-use-tax base on numerous services, disadvantaging small businesses that may not necessarily benefit from the proposed tax exemption for the first $10,000 in business income.
SB 950 (Alquist; D-Santa Clara) Unreasonable and Duplicative Tax Penalties for Employers — Forces taxpayers to overpay their taxes in order to avoid severe penalties.
SB 1470 (Leno; D-San Francisco) Impedes Economic Recovery — Delays the recovery of California’s housing market by allowing all borrowers, including strategic defaulters and investors, to abuse the loan modification process to forestall legitimate foreclosures.
Costly Workplace Mandates
AB 1313 (Allen; D-Santa Rosa) Increased Cost on Agricultural Employers — Drives up the cost of commodities to consumers by removing the existing overtime exemption allowed for agricultural employers.
AB 1439 (Alejo; D-Salinas) Automatic Minimum Wage Increase — Increases the cost of doing business on California employers by annually indexing the minimum wage rate upwards according to the percentage of inflation even during an economic downturn.
AB 1450 (Allen; D-Santa Rosa) Expansion of Discrimination Litigation — Subjects employers to charges of discrimination for legitimately inquiring into an applicant’s employment history.
AB 1808 (Williams; D-Santa Barbara) Improper Characterization of Private Employees to Allow Potential Card Check Unionization — Significantly expands the definition of “public employee” to include employees of any private employer where a public agency “shares” in the employment decisions of those private employees, thereby subjecting private employers to petitions of recognition from public employee unions.
AB 1999 (Brownley; D-Santa Monica) Expansion of Discrimination Litigation — Makes it virtually impossible for employers to manage their employees and exposes them to a higher risk of litigation by expanding the Fair Employment and Housing Act to include a protected classification for any person who is, who will be, or who is perceived as a family caregiver.
AB 2039 (Swanson; D-Alameda) Expansion of Protected Leave Requirements for California Employers — Creates a burdensome, California–only mandated benefit that significantly expands the category of individuals with serious health conditions for whom an employee can take a leave of absence beyond what is currently included under the federal Family Medical Leave Act.
AB 2217 (Pan; D-Sacramento) Targeted Burden on Companies with Call Centers — Discourages businesses from even locating a call center in California by requiring the business to adhere to overreaching mandates.
Expensive, Unnecessary Regulatory Burdens
AB 2424 (Portantino; D-Pasadena) New State Goals for Forestry — Increases costs of timber production by changing the state’s forestry goals to give equal consideration to each public need when reviewing forestry operations, including Timber Harvest Plans.
SB 568 (A. Lowenthal; D-Long Beach) Polystyrene Food Container Ban — Threatens thousands of manufacturing jobs within the state by inappropriately banning all food vendors from using polystyrene foam food service containers, ignoring the numerous environmental benefits associated with polystyrene products.
Fuel Price Increases
AB 1532 (John A. Pérez; D-Los Angeles)/ AB 2404 (Fuentes; D-Los Angeles)/ SB 535 (De León; D-Los Angeles)/ SB 1572 (Pavley; D-Agoura Hills) Illegal Tax Increase — Increases energy costs, including fuel prices, on consumers and businesses by allocating funds from an illegal tax to various programs that are not necessary to cost-effectively implement the market-based trading mechanism under AB 32.
Inflated Liability Costs
AB 1208 (C. Calderon; D-Montebello) Court Inefficiency — Creates uncertainty, inefficiency and unpredictability for litigants, further aggravating California’s reputation as a bad place to do business, by decentralizing control of trial court funds.
AB 2149 (Butler; D-Los Angeles) Discourages Settlement Agreements — Inappropriately interferes in the contractual relationship between two parties by allowing the sharing of certain information contained in settlement agreements.
SB 1528 (Steinberg; D-Sacramento) Inflates Litigation and Insurance Costs — Artificially inflates medical damage awards in personal injury cases by allowing an injured party to recover expenses never actually incurred, ultimately increasing not only legal costs, but also rates for auto, health, workers’ compensation and general liability insurance.
We can talk about whether these are truly “job killers” at all. What strikes me is just how much control over legislation business interests admit that they have, when they’re talking about how government is running roughshod over them.