California Chamber Targets 23 'Job Killer' Bills
California Chamber of Commerce, Apr. 12, 2012
The newest list was published this week, 23 bills that the chamber and other business groups say will discourage investment and hiring by private employers. And not surprisingly, every one of the targeted measures is carried by a Democrat, including the majority party's two leaders, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.
Pérez's Assembly Bill 1532 is one of four on the list that would tap into revenues from the state's new "cap-and-trade" program of marketing carbon emissions, which the chamber calls an "illegal tax increase."
Steinberg's Senate Bill 1528, meanwhile, is sponsored by personal injury attorneys to overturn a state Supreme Court decision limiting recovery of medical costs in liability lawsuits.
Other measures on the list deal with regulatory costs, fuel price increases and workplace mandates.
Publication of the list, history indicates, is more than a rhetorical exercise. In past years, despite Democrats' control of the Legislature and their close ties to labor unions, environmental groups, attorneys and other sponsors of the bills, few of those labeled as "job killers" have reached the governor's desk and most of those that do are vetoed.
Last year, just five of 30 job-killers reached Gov. Jerry Brown's desk, and he vetoed four of them.
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.
The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocate to government in California. Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state. Leveraging our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations, we provide products and services to help businesses comply with both federal and state law. CalChamber, a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, promotes international trade and investment in order to stimulate California’s economy and create jobs. Please visit our website at www.calchamber.com.