The California Chamber of Commerce last week released its annual list of what it refers to as “job killer” bills being pushed by Sacramento lawmakers. The pro-business group identified 20 proposed measures it says would have a negative impact on California’s job climate and economic recovery if they were to become law.
All 20 bills are proposed by Democrats in the state assembly or senate. Nine of the 20 bills are tax increase proposals, including one by State Sen. Ricardo Lara, who represents Long Beach and Signal Hill, that impacts the inheritance of a family business. Lara also is pushing a bill to create a single-payer, government-run health care system in the state, but has not identified a funding source, according to the chamber.
While these proposed bills would hurt the business community, two are especially important to watch as they would lower the threshold to 55% for voters to approve parcel taxes.
If you wish to track the current status of specific job killer bills that would impact your business or industry, visit www.cajobkillers.com.
“Economic growth and job creation are the keys to making California a great place to live, work and do business,” said Allan Zaremberg, president and CEO of the California Chamber, in a press statement. “The 23 bills on this year’s job killer list are a threat to our state’s future prosperity and our quality of life. The goal of the job killer list is to remind California policymakers to keep their focus on the paramount issue affecting their constituents – job creation and prosperity for all.”
The 2017 list of job killer bills are:
Affordable Housing Barriers
• SB 224 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Barrier to Housing and Economic Development – Creates a significant hurdle to brownfield and urban redevelopment, infill housing, and economic development by requiring all projects to mitigate not only the impacts of the project itself, but also the impacts of other historical activities for which the applicant has no legal liability and over which it had no control.
• SB 33 (Dodd; D-Napa) Discrimination Against Arbitration Agreements – Unfairly discriminates against arbitration agreements contained in consumer contracts for goods or services with a financial institution, as broadly defined, which is likely preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act and will lead to confusion and unnecessary litigation.
• SB 538 (Monning; D-Carmel) Arbitration Discrimination – Unfairly discriminates against arbitration agreements by prohibiting arbitration between a hospital and a health care plan or contracting agent, leading to confusion and litigation over preemption by the Federal Arbitration Act. Senate Health Committee hearing April 26.
Economic Development Barriers
• AB 421 (Santiago; D-Los Angeles) Extends Superfund Liability to Emissions into the Air – Imposes statutory liability on businesses and individuals for clean-up recovery costs associated with deposits or redeposits of certain substances that were emitted into the air under a statutory scheme that places the burden of proof on the defendant.
• AB 1645 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance) Gas Price Increase – Jeopardizes the production of California-based fuel by banning the use of hydrogen fluoride and hydrofluoric acid at refineries that use more than 250 gallons and are located within two miles of a residence, notwithstanding the fact that there are significant safety regulations in place at the local, state and federal levels. Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee hearing April 25.
Increased Labor Costs
• AB 5 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego and Kalra; D-San Jose) Unfair Scheduling Mandate – Burdens small and large employers with a scheduling mandate that requires employers to offer additional hours of work to employees before hiring a new employee or contractor and exposes employers to multiple threats of costly litigation for technical violations that do not cause an employee any harm.
• SB 562 (Lara; D-Bell Gardens) Government-Run Health Care – Creates a new single-payer government-run, multibillion-dollar health care system financed by an unspecified and undeveloped “revenue plan” which will penalize responsible employers and individuals and result in significant new taxes on all Californians and California businesses. Senate Health Committee hearing April 26.
• AB 1209 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego) Public Shaming of California Employers – Imposes a mandate on California employers to collect data on the mean and median salaries paid to men and women under the same job title or description without also considering any bona fide reason for differences in compensation, to publicly shame California employers and expose them to costly litigation for alleged wage disparity where no violation of the equal pay law exists.
• SB 63 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Imposes New Maternity and Paternity Leave Mandate – Unduly burdens and increases costs of small employers with as few as 20 employees by requiring 12 weeks of protected employee leave for child bonding and exposes them to the threat of costly litigation.
Increased Unnecessary Litigation Costs
• SB 49 (de León; D-Los Angeles) Creates Uncertainty and Increases Potential Litigation Regarding Environmental Standards — Creates uncertainty for businesses with respect to the federal environmental standards proposed to be incorporated into California law if backsliding occurs at the federal level in the future, and increases the potential for costly litigation by creating private rights of action under California law when certain events occur. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing April 25.
• SB 300 (Monning; D-Carmel) Lawsuit Exposure – Increases frivolous liability claims and exposes beverage manufacturers and food retailers to fines and penalties by mandating state-only labeling requirements for sugar-sweetened drinks.
• AB 43 (Thurmond; D-Richmond) Targeted Tax on Contractors — Unfairly targets one category of taxpayers to fund a benefit for all of the state by imposing a tax on contractors for the privilege of doing business with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and requires the contractor to absorb the cost while maintaining a price of lowest responsible bidder. Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee hearing April 24.
• AB 479 (Gonzalez Fletcher: D-San Diego and C. Garcia; D-Bell Gardens) Targeted Tax on Alcohol – Unfairly imposes an additional targeted excise tax on manufacturers, importers and wholesalers of distilled spirits and a floor tax, that will increase their costs and force them to reduce in other areas, including labor.
• AB 1003 (Bloom; D-Santa Monica) Targeted Tax on Sweetened Beverages – Unfairly imposes a targeted excise tax on distributors of sweetened beverages to fund health related programs for all, which will force distributors to reduce costs through higher prices to consumers or limiting their workforce.
• AB 1356 (Eggman; D-Stockton) Targeted Tax on High Earners – Unfairly increases the personal income tax rate to 14.3%, the highest in the country, on one category of taxpayers (including sole proprietors), who already pay over half of the income tax revenue to the general fund, forcing them to mitigate costs through means including reducing workforce, in order to fund higher education that will benefit all of California. Assembly Higher Education Committee hearing April 25.
• AB 1512 (McCarty; D-Sacramento) Targeted Tax on Opioids – Unfairly imposes an excise tax on opioid distributors in California, which will increase their costs and force them to adopt measures that include reducing workforce and increasing drug prices for ill patients who need these medications the most, in order to fund drug prevention and rehabilitation programs that will benefit all of California.
• ACA 4 (Aguiar-Curry; D-Winters) Lowers Vote Requirement for New Tax Increases – Adds complexity and uncertainty to the current tax structure and pressure to increase taxes on real property by giving local governments new authority to enact special taxes, including parcel taxes, to fund construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or replacement of public infrastructure or affordable housing, or the acquisition or lease of real property for public infrastructure or affordable housing, and lowering the vote threshold to impose such new taxes from two-thirds to 55%.
• ACA 11 (Caballero; D-Salinas) Targeted Retail Industry Tax Increase – Exposes the retail industry to increased taxes by imposing a quarter-cent sales tax increase to fund affordable housing and homeless shelters, without creating greatly needed market rate housing.
• SB 567 (Lara; D-Bell Gardens) Multiple Tax Increases on California Employers – Proposes multiple tax increases on California employers, including eliminating the water’s edge election and requiring payment of capital gains on the inheritance of a family business, when California already has the highest personal income tax and sales tax rates in the country, as well as one of the highest corporate tax rates, which will discourage job growth in California.
• SCA 6 (Wiener; D-San Francisco) Lowers Vote Requirement for Tax Increases – Adds complexity and uncertainty to the current tax structure and pressure to increase taxes on commercial, industrial and residential property owners by giving local governments new authority to enact special taxes, including parcel taxes, by lowering the vote threshold from two-thirds to 55%.