Five ‘Job Killer’ bills to watch

Posted: August 20, 2012 in California Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

By Sen. Bob Huff

Legislators have now returned for the final month of legislative session, which should come as a bit of bad news to California’s business community.

Our job creators are once again under assault from a state Legislature that doesn’t have any intention of improving upon its “worst state ever” ranking from business leaders.

The California Chamber of Commerce regularly stakes out the worst of the worst bills, which routinely earn the none-too-friendly nickname of “Job Killer.” You would think that any legislator who carries legislation that earns this tag would work with business leaders to make the bill more palatable to business interests.

Think again. Welcome to California. There’s a reason why CEO Magazine rates California as the worst state for business. In their words, “California government is difficult to work with and very bureaucratic. Taxes and regulation are high and unruly.” I couldn’t agree more.

Democrats who control the Legislature aren’t helping to improve this ranking. Instead, they’re working to make it permanent. Here are five of the worst bills to watch out for:

SB 568 – Styrofoam container ban: This measure would ban the purchase of polystyrene (Styrofoam) foam food containers under the guise of “protecting state waterways from litter.” What it really does is cost jobs. Styrofoam food container plants in Lodi, Fresno, Bakersfield, Corona, San Bernardino and elsewhere could be forced to shut down, throwing 8,000 people out of work. Plants in La Mirada and Industry have already been forced to close thanks to local bans on polystyrene packaging. Isn’t a state unemployment rate of close to 11 percent high enough? The bill also hurts schools, universities, hospitals and others who will be forced to serve food in more expensive containers, or cut food service programs in response to higher costs.

SB 1234 – Pensions for everybody: The Legislature is attempting to create a new state-run private pension program. California’s public sector pensions are already underfunded to the tune of $100-$500 billion, and this short-sighted legislation only compounds the pension migraine headache. It allows big government to dip even further into your hard earned paycheck, similar to the Social Security Administration payroll deductions. Government should not be involved in providing financial services that are already offered in the private sector.

SB 1528 – Higher insurance rates: Higher medical damage awards will be the final product from this legislation, which allows people who are injured to recover costs that were never incurred to begin with. This means higher legal costs and higher insurance rates. Guess who gets stuck with the higher insurance rate bill? You do.

AB 1313 – New agriculture mandates: California farmers lose and lose big under this measure which seeks to lift the state exemption they currently enjoy from eight-hour workday labor rules. It will force growers to pay overtime costs for the eighth and ninth hours of work in any workday or forty hours of work in a workweek. Since growers can’t pass these additional costs to you, the consumer, it means a lot of fresh peaches on the ground and other produce that won’t make it to market.

AB 1450 – Interfering in hiring decisions: Ask the wrong question? Go directly to jail. Last year the Legislature passed a measure preventing employers from using credit reports in determining an applicant’s qualifications. This new bill would essentially prevent employers from inquiring about the employment status of prospective employees, or why a previous job may or may not have ended well. We’re asking our job creators to tippy-toe through a minefield. A lawsuit is the reward for asking the wrong question.

Job growth in the private sector, for all industries, is the key to helping our stagnant economy recover. Saddling these industries with new and costly burdens or outright bans on the production of some products only serves to hamper California’s economic growth. All of these measures will only serve to make California’s unemployment rate worse.

Watch your Legislature closely, California. It is up to no good.

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