NFIB California Main Street Minute

Date: October 18, 2021

For the legislative and political week October 18-22

Welcome to the October 18-22 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.

2021: The Year in Legislation

  • Out of the 2,800 pieces of legislation introduced in 2021 (a list of them is provided by LegiScan “Bringing People to the Process”), 836 bills reached Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. He signed 770 of them (92%) and vetoed 66 (7.9%), which NFIB California’s chief legislative advocate Kevin Pedrotti points out is “a slightly lower veto rate than his previous two years in office.”

  • The fate of 35 bills of importance to small business that either did or did not reach the governor’s desk (some are still alive for 2022) can be read here.

  • In his final bill-signing news release, the governor declared that his John Hancock scribbled on bills included “the most robust small business relief package in the country.”

  • Four notable new laws that were not part of NFIB California’s lobbying agenda but which we think some of our members would be interested to know are:
    • Assembly Bill 1084 requires large department stores that sell children’s products to maintain a gender-neutral section of toys and childcare items.

    • Senate Bill 331 bans employers from using secret settlements to prevent workers from speaking out about illegal harassment or discrimination, with some limited exceptions.

    • Senate Bill 343 restricts what kinds of plastic packaging can use the triangular symbol known as ‘chasing arrows’ under the state’s truth-in-advertising law. Under the bill, CalRecycle will decide what’s deemed ‘recyclable.’

    • Assembly Bill 1346 requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to set emissions requirements for small off-road engines (leaf blowers and lawnmowers) to zero by 2024 or whenever CARB determines is feasible.

Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Solvency Sought

  • NFIB California has added its name to a draft, joint letter being circulated among the business community asking Governor Newsom to head off the looming insolvency facing the state’s UI trust fund.

  • The state’s UI trust fund is currently in hock to the federal government for $20 billion.

  • “Though we represent a diverse range of employers, we are united by our concern for the scheduled payroll tax increases we will face as a result of the insolvency of the state’s UI Fund,” said the draft letter.

  • “Generally, the contribution rate for an employer is 0.6% of wages, up to $7,000 of wages per employee/per year, which is $42, assuming the state is in compliance with unemployment insurance laws and the state’s fund is solvent. However, if a state’s UI fund is insolvent for more than two years, that tax rate increases by 0.3% each year or $21, until the fund becomes solvent, creating a steadily growing tax increase on the state’s employers. If the fund remains insolvent for 18 years, the maximum rate is $420/employee/year.”

  • The full letter with all its signatories will be forthcoming in a future Main Street Minute.

NFIB Officials Lobby Central Valley Congressman

  • As they did at the end of last month with the top aide to Orange County Congressman Lou Correa, NFIB officials from its state leadership council and Washington D.C. team, on Thursday, October 14, met with Central Valley Congressman Josh Harder (Manteca, Modesto, Turlock) to press the case for not harming small business in budget reconciliation negotiations.

A Second Bite of That Press Release Apple

  • Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik took another bite of an NFIB news release apple in writing about the UI benefit cutoff. “The cutoff was accompanied by some intemperate commentary from the business community. John Kabateck, a spokesman for the National Federation of Independent Business, a small-business lobbying group, depicted recalcitrant workers as ‘remaining on the couch watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island.’”

California 100

  • Where do you see California in 100 years? We suspected this was a top-of-the-mind issue with you. You no longer have to worry about it or go it alone. California 100 is working on a “vision and strategy for the next century,” and announced its 26-member commission last week.

  • Tech, of course, has a seat at this Oxford High Table of Golden State grandees. Small business? You knew better than to ask. Most interesting it will be to see is what vision the two panelists for the ‘Economic Mobility, Inequality, and Workforce’ component cook up. One panelist is the former mayor of Stockton who is a lead proponent of Universal Basic Income.

  • Would you like to serve on it? Terms are for two years, and quite honestly, nothing much will be expected from you. The mission of the commission reminds us of the tart response a public relations agent gave to his client when asked to produce a plan on where he sees the client in two-years’ time. “Where do I see you in two-years’ time? I haven’t decided where I’m having breakfast tomorrow.”

Nibble on This

  • Among other things, today is National Chocolate Cupcake Day and National No Beard Day. Tomorrow is Evaluate Your Life Day. The website nationaltoday.com has all the days from important to silly, if any of them might be of use in promoting your goods or services. Heads up, pharmacists. Thursday is National Check Your Meds Day.

Federal

  • For this Wednesday’s NFIB webinar, October 20, Beth and Holly welcome Veronica Pugin, senior policy advisor at the SBA, for a discussion on Resources and Relief for Your Small Business, Enhanced EIDL and ERTC Updates. More information and the registration link can be found here.

  • Last Thursday, October 14, NFIB sent a letter to Congress vehemently protesting “the Biden Administration’s proposal to require annual reporting to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of gross inflows and outflows from all business and personal customers’ accounts above a de minimis threshold.

  • “This proposal would sacrifice the privacy of law-abiding small business owners and expose them to costly and burdensome audits. If this or a substantially similar provision is added to “pay for” spending provisions of the Build Back Better Act, it would only serve to increase the heavy burden of taxes and mandates small business owners are facing in that legislation.”

Next Main Street Minute October 25.

Photo courtesy of California State Assembly Sergeant at Arms webpage

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