CalChamber won’t say how many jobs on its Job Killer list would be eliminated by proposed environmental and workplace protection bills — or even how such legislation would eliminate them.
California’s Chamber of Commerce is best known for its Job Killers list, which the king of business lobbies uses to scare off state legislators from passing laws that might, among other things, protect workers from wage theft or force oil companies to pay extraction taxes. (In reality, the Job Killers list is more of a bill-killers list.) But the CalChamber isn’t all about killing. Last week it revealed its kinder, if not gentler, side in the form of a Job Creators list. (Who knew?) The lawmaking season is still young, but already the CalChamber has begun identifying bills that it claims will allow more Californians to enter the workforce.
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It’s not entirely clear what jobs, if any, would be created by Corporate Democrat Adam Gray’s bill,
It happens every spring: The start of baseball season and the Chamber of Commerce’s assault on legislation designed to improve the lives of Californians – many of them our most vulnerable residents. The CalChamber lobbies against legislation year-round, of course, but brings out its biggest bat in the form of its Job Killer list – a lineup of bills that are demonized as wasteful, overreaching, unfair, etc. The list is a remarkably effective tool and accounts for the chamber’s astronomically high batting average – last year it went 25 for 27 in its efforts to stop “job-killing” legislation. Many a bill that seemed a shoo-in to become law has suddenly found itself permanently stuck in some committee, or vetoed whenever the Chamber persuades the governor to play the role of Mr. September for corporate interests.
Last week the CalChamber released its “preliminary” list of Job Killers.
The California Chamber of Commerce represents more than 13,000 businesses, from companies such as Microsoft and Walt Disney, to local companies with small numbers of employees. From its K Street headquarters in Sacramento, the “Cal Chamber,” as it’s colloquially known, analyzes some 3,000 pieces of legislation every year. In the past 10 years, 341 of 353 — nearly 97 percent — of the bills opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce failed to become law. The vast majority of these were never passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor. Instead, they were killed in committee or voted down by the Legislature or amended to take out provisions opposed by the chamber.
The chamber’s weapon of choice is its highly publicized “Job Killers List,” a roll call of bills the chamber claims threaten the interests of business, though its press releases tend to stress the bills’ menace to California’s economy and its workers’ jobs.
1. “Buy American” Law. AB 1543, introduced by Luis A. Alejo (D-Salinas), would have created a billion-dollar market for goods manufactured in California by requiring that, starting in 2014, at least 70 percent of state and local agency procurement be spent on manufactured goods made in the United States. Failed 04/27/12 deadline to move to fiscal committee.
2. Minimum Wage COLA Law. AB 10, introduced by Luis A. Alejo (D-Watsonville), would have automatically indexed state minimum wage increases to inflation. Held in Assembly Appropriations 5/27/11; failed deadline. (Subsequently, AB 10, raising minimum wage to $10 by 2016, was signed by Governor Jerry Brown earlier this year.)
3. Wage Theft Lien Law. AB 2517, or the California Wage Lien Bill, introduced by Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park), would have expanded the Mechanics Lien Law to allow workers from all industries to file a lien without an attorney for unpaid labor against the property where the work was done.