Capitol Alert

California's most powerful business group plans to kill these 21 bills

The Sacramento Bee

The California Chamber of Commerce's "job killer" list is back, highlighting 21 bills the state's most powerful business coalition plans to slay in the Legislature this year.

The chamber handpicks legislative proposals that it says will reduce jobs, drive companies out of the state or open up businesses to more legal liability.

Liberal foes criticize the lobbying tactic as a marketing effort on behalf of the chamber's most generous financial donors, but can't argue that it's ineffective. By the chamber's tally, Gov. Jerry Brown signed only 10 of the 135 bills dubbed "job killers" over the last five years.

The chamber spent more than $2.7 million on lobbying last year, which doesn't include the money its member companies spent in attempt to sway officials.

The 2018 list includes eight bills that stalled last year, some of which appear to have limited chances of success. Take Sen. Ricardo Lara's Senate Bill 562, for example. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon refuses to let the single-payer health care bill move forward.

Some new measures, such as Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson's Senate Bill 1284, may be nuisances to big companies. The measure requires employers with 100 or more workers to submit annual pay data to the state broken down by sex, race, ethnicity and job category. The chamber says the bill would create "a false impression of wage discrimination or unequal pay where none exists" and subject employers to "significant litigation costs to defend against merit-less claims."

The chamber may have an easier time fighting Assemblyman Phil Ting's Assembly Bill 1745, which prohibits the registration of anything but zero-emission vehicles in the state after 2040. The idea, although approved in other countries, has major implications for the auto industry and consumers, unless prices and battery ranges improve.

Assembly Bill 2351, introduced by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman of Stockton raises the personal income tax by 1 percent on earnings over $1 million. The chamber says it could push some wealthy Californians to look for homes elsewhere, therefore reducing the state's tax revenue.

Jackson and Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and Al Muratsuchi share the honor (or challenge) of having the most bills on the list, with two apiece.

Let the lobbying continue and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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