Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Anti-business bills threaten state economy

Must read

California’s Democratic-controlled Legislature is pushing a series of measures that are designed to improve the conditions for the state’s private-sector workers, but which will only burden job creators with new regulations and costs. The best way to improve conditions for lower-wage workers is to create a climate of economic growth, something that’s apparently lost on the majority party.

The new slate of bills — deemed “job killers” by the California Chamber of Commerce — is the latest example of how COVID-19 policies continue to influence lawmaking. Supporters of Senate Bill 616, which expands the number of sick days that employers must offer from three to seven and imposes a host of new sick-leave rules, point specifically to the recent pandemic.

“The virus takes, on average, 5-10 days to ‘clear’ those infected, which means that most workers with active COVID-19 would easily transmit the disease to co-workers and members of the public after just three days,” according to the argument in the Assembly analysis. This is a continuing one-way ratchet. The bill’s author, Sen. Lena Gonzalez of Long Beach, points to temporary pandemic-related sick-leave expansions as a model for a permanent law.

The Chamber argues in opposition that small businesses are in “’in survival mode’ as they reel from the financial impacts of COVID-19 and rising inflation.” The influential business group points to the large number of small businesses that have raised prices, cut staff and even shut down following the recent economic disruptions. This is not hyperbole. The New York Times reported that 40,000 California businesses closed their doors following COVID.

CalMatters pointed to another nefarious proposal that’s still alive in the Capitol. Assembly Bill 518 “would expand who can take as long as eight weeks a year in paid family leave to include ‘chosen family’ — loved ones whom people consider family but without a legal or biological relationship.” As the article adds, the bill would also let people “take paid time off to care for an elderly neighbor, cousin or friend.” This expansive definition provides a nearly limitless claim on paid time off.

Other labor-related bills are also troublesome. Senate Bill 627 targets chain businesses that are looking to close their location by requiring them “to provide each covered worker and their exclusive representative, if any, a displacement notice at least 60 days before the expected date of closure of a covered establishment.” Instead of worrying about business closures, it would be nice if lawmakers figured out how to encourage business openings.

Senate Bill 525 would raise the minimum wage to $25 an hour for healthcare workers by 2025 — something that will increase healthcare inflation and obliterate many jobs. Minimum wages do not improve the overall conditions of workers, but rather discourage hiring and reduce opportunities for workers with fewer skills.

Gov. Gavin Newsom recently touted the state’s booming economy during a Fox News interview. But even the Sacramento Bee noted the inconsistencies: “Yes, more than one-fourth of the nation’s new jobs in April were in California. But the state’s unemployment rate remained well above the national average.” In fact, the state continues to brace for more layoffs in the tech industry.

Instead of quashing employment opportunities in the name of helping workers, lawmakers need to reduce the regulatory burden so that job-creating businesses can prosper.

More articles

Latest article