Anti-business bills threaten state economy – Orange County Register

California state capital in Sacramento. (file image)

California’s Democratic-controlled Legislature is pushing a series of measures designed to improve conditions for the state’s private sector workers. The best way to improve conditions for low-wage workers is to create an environment of economic growth, which is apparently lost in the majority party.

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

„It takes an average of 5-10 days to 'clear’ those infected with the virus, meaning most workers with active COVID-19 will easily spread the disease to co-workers and the public after three days,” according to the Assembly analysis. It is a continuous one-way trip. The bill’s author, Sen. of Long Beach. Lena Gonzalez points to temporary pandemic-related sick-leave expansions as a precedent for permanent legislation.

The chamber argues in opposition that small businesses are „in 'survival mode'” due to the financial impacts of Covid-19 and rising inflation. The influential business group points to the number of small businesses that have hiked prices, cut staff and closed following the recent economic downturn. This is not an exaggeration. The New York Times reports that 40,000 California businesses have closed their doors following COVID.

Calmatters pointed to another sinister plan still alive in the Capitol. Assembly Bill 518 allows people to take up to eight weeks of paid family leave per year to include „’chosen family’ – loved ones whom people consider family but to whom they are not legally or biologically related.” As the article adds, the bill would allow people to take „paid time off to care for an elderly neighbor, relative or friend”.

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Other labor-related bills are also troubling. Senate Bill 627 targets chain businesses that intend to close their locations by requiring that they „give each covered employee and their designated representative, if any, a relocation notice at least 60 days prior to the expected date of closure of the covered establishment.” Instead of worrying about business closings, lawmakers would do well to figure out how to encourage business openings.

Senate Bill 525 would raise the minimum wage for health care workers to $25 by 2025 — which would fuel health care inflation and destroy many jobs. A minimum wage does not improve the overall situation of workers, but rather discourages hiring and reduces opportunities for low-skilled workers.

Gov. Gavin Newsom recently touted the state’s booming economy during a Fox News interview. But even the Sacramento Bee noted the discrepancies: “Yes, California accounted for a quarter of the nation’s new jobs in April. But the state’s unemployment rate remained higher than the national average. In fact, the state continues to brace for more layoffs in the tech sector.

Instead of eliminating jobs in the name of helping workers, lawmakers should reduce the regulatory burden so that job-creating industries can thrive.

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