''Job Killer'' Legislation Targeted
California Chamber of Commerce Releases Annual List of ''Bad Bills''
SACRAMENTO - 06/23/04 - The California Chamber of Commerce (CCOC) has released its annual "job killer" legislation?list, highlighting what it charges are the worst anti-business bills "still alive" and currently?moving through the current state legislative session.
"The 23 'job killer' bills highlighted this year will each have an adverse impact on California's economy just as we are starting on the road to recovery," said Allan Zaremberg, president of the Sacramento-based, statewide?business group.?
"As the national economy begins to rebound, and we have a Governor who has put job creation at the top of the agenda, California can attract new jobs and employers to our state. But if these anti-business bills continue to move through the Legislature, we risk providing additional disincentives to employers who are considering expanding in California or bringing their operations here," he said.?
Instead, the top priority should be "to do no more harm to the economy," he said, adding the Chamber "will fight these proposals and ensure that the Legislature is educated on 'job killing' aspects of each bill."
According to the CCOC, the 2004 Job Killers are:
??AB (Assembly Bill) 1032 which "increases costs to the state by chilling business interest in contracting with the state by requiring those businesses to report unrelated legal information, opening the doors to more frivolous litigation against California employers;"
??AB 1839 "which is similar to a ballot measure introduced in retaliation to the business-sponsored November ballot initiative that addresses frivolous litigation in California." The bill, the Chamber said, "severely limits credit sources for the purchase of personal vehicles and bankrupts many car dealers by prohibiting car dealers from receiving any profit on certain types of sales;"
??And AB 1690, "which gives local governments unprecedented authority to enact income tax assessed at local level with a simple majority of voters, adding complexity and uncertainty to California's already complex and uncertain tax structure."
Also making the Chamber's "job killer" list are:
??AB 1723 which "increases the cost of doing business in California by establishing a new affirmative duty on all California employers to ensure that each and every worker takes each and every meal and rest break permitted under law, and adds new private right of action to enforce provision;"
??AB 2042 which, the Chamber said, "increases the costs of goods movement and drives business and jobs from California ports by requiring the City of Los Angeles and the City of Long Beach to prohibit any growth at their respective ports unless that growth can be accomplished with no air pollution increases;"
??And AB 2317 which "negatively distinguishes California from the rest of the nation by exposing every business to excessive litigation and increases the cost of doing business by mandating excessive damage awards for gender pay equity violations."
The Chamber also tagged...
??AB 2832 which, it said, "increases the cost of doing business by increasing the state minimum wage to $7.25 in 2005 and to $7.75 in 2006," a move that would, in effect, give California the highest minimum wage in the nation. "Employer costs," it said, "would rise by at least $2.08 billion annually, raising costs to consumers and driving employers to other states;"
??And AB 2889 which "negatively distinguishes California from the rest of the nation by increasing insurance costs, exposing employers to attorneys' fees, settlements and judgments, raising costs of products and making California employers less competitive by making employers liable for the harassment of a worker by a person over whom the employer has no control, such as customers or clients."?
On the Senate side...
?'sB (Senate Bill) 921, which, the Chamber said,?"creates a government-run health care system funded by new taxes on all Californians and California business;"
?'sB1168 which "drives California manufacturers, importers and distributors to other states by assessing a fee on their in-state operations to fund a bio-monitoring program and could lead to elimination of the use of chemicals detected, but not scientifically proven to be harmful and without taking economic consequences into consideration;"
??And SB 1334 which "increases the cost of housing and other development projects by imposing California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements on oak woodland and timberland conversions;" and SB 1354 which "increases taxes on California employers by reducing the amount of tax credits that a corporation may use to reduce its tax liabilities, making California less competitive for jobs."
??Also, SB 1397 which "increases the cost of goods movement and discourages job creation by imposing a fee on railroad companies that operate in the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino;"
?'sB 1477 which "delays development projects and imposes new costs on agriculture by inappropriately expanding the State Water Board's regulatory authority over wetlands;"
?'sB 1569 which "increases health care costs by allowing health care providers to sue a health plan for alleged violations of the Knox-Keene Act, even if the Department of Managed Health Care finds the plan has done nothing wrong;"???
??And SB 1903 which "raises the cost of doing business in California by forcing California employers to subsidize a strike against their own company by providing unemployment insurance benefits to workers unemployed due to a labor dispute."
Also, the Chamber said, a number of?bills - AB 1829, AB 2715, AB 3021, SB 888, SB 1451, SB 1453, and SB 1492 - act together to "prohibit or restrict the ability of California businesses to conduct a portion of their operations abroad."
The bills "will invite retaliation from our trading partners that will have a negative impact, either directly or indirectly, on California jobs, 25% of which are tied to international trade," it charged.
Two particular "job killer" bills from the 2003 list "have driven jobs out of California," the Chamber said.
The group'specifically named'sB 796 - the so-called "Sue Your Boss" bill -which, it?charged,?"has opened the floodgates to frivolous lawsuits against California employers."
In an initial review by the CCOC, lawsuits against just four California companies sued under SB 796 have opened these companies to liability of more than $274 million. "The only relief for California employers from these lawsuits is full repeal of SB 796," the organization said.
Also tagged was SB 2, the $7 billion dollar health care tax on employers and employees to fund a government-run health care system, that was placed on the November ballot when more than 600,000 California voters signed referendum petitions.
"Even though this costly law is stayed until voters decide in November, this multibillion-dollar tax is still looming over California businesses and is providing a disincentive for employers considering moving to California or expanding their operations here," said the business group, which is co-chairing a state-wide campaign to repeal SB 2 in November.
The defeat of these measures "is just one step,"?Zaremberg said. "We also encourage the Legislature to focus pro-actively on policies and proposals that will bring jobs back to California and stimulate economic growth within our state."
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