The business lobby in California, and in particular the California Chamber of Commerce, has had quite a lot of success taking down bills that they deem “job killers.” Many of these bills are not at all designed to kill jobs, but rather to improve conditions for employees. To the business lobby, these are the same thing, but these are often the types of bills that the majority of the populace in California would tend to support.
One of the bills the California Chamber of Commerce is targeting is a bill to tax total wealth on individuals with a net worth of $50 million or more. Introduced by Milpitas Democratic Assemblymember Alex Lee, the bill would be the first of its kind if it passes. Obviously, there have been taxes on income, but so far, none on net worth. Lee’s argument is that the stocks and properties owned by the ultra-wealthy allow them to legally borrow and transfer funds in a way that avoids a significant percentage of income taxes. According to the chamber, this would simply convince the ultra-wealthy to leave California, rather than increase tax revenues.
The second bill was proposed by Los Angeles Democratic Senator María Elena Durazo. The bill would increase the minimum wage for health care workers to $25 per hour. According to Durazo, health care workers — especially whose who are women or people of color — frequently take home poverty wages, despite working multiple shifts due to being understaffed. The chamber argues that increased payroll costs for health care facilities would simply be passed onto patients, reducing health care affordability.
The chamber has a similar argument against the proposal to increase the required minimum paid sick days offered per year from three to seven, claiming that either the costs will be passed to consumers or the employers will cut benefits or lay off workers. Long Beach Democratic Senator Lena Gonzalez, who introduced the bill, says that the current sick leave is not adequate and forces employees to either forego pay to stay home or risk infecting coworkers.
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