For the legislative and political week December 13-17
Welcome to the December 13-17 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
Big Ballot News
- So, what do you do when you’ve made a ton of money from online banking and investments? You self-style yourself as an anti-poverty activist. And what vehicle do you choose to fight poverty that has little to do with poverty and everything to do with feeling good about yourself while enjoying a nice, political Teflon coat against opposition and criticism? You call for an increase in the minimum wage.
- On December 3, Los Angeles investor Joe Sanberg filed his Living Wage Act of 2022 with the state attorney general’s office for title and summary. After that, the signature-gathering, which Sanberg plans to pay for out of his own pocket, commences. Should the ballot proposition pass, it would raise California’s minimum wage to $18 an hour by 2026.
- Asked by The Sacramento Bee for a response, a testy John Kabateck, NFIB’s California state director, snapped, “Market, not politicians and bureaucrats, ought to be dictating the financial growth and success of working men and women in California. Let the market dictate this and let’s stop sending the message that mediocrity is a pathway to professional success in California.”
Speaking of the Minimum Wage
- Just who are the people earning a minimum wage? For that answer, we turn to the latest Characteristics of minimum wage workers report put out every year by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Minimum wage workers tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented just under one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up 48 percent of those paid the federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers (ages 16 to 19) paid by the hour, about 5 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with 1 percent of workers age 25 and older.”
- “Within that tiny group,” writes economist Jeffrey Dorfman, “most of these workers are not poor and are not trying to support a family on only their earnings. In fact, according to a recent study, 63 percent of workers who earn less than $9.50 per hour (well over the [federal] minimum wage of $7.25) are the second or third earner in their family and 43 percent of these workers live in households that earn over $50,000 per year. Thus, minimum wage earners are not a uniformly poor and struggling group; many are teenagers from middle class families and many more are sharing the burden of providing for their families, not carrying the load all by themselves.”
- As for reducing poverty, “… evidence simply does not provide a strong case for using minimum wages to reduce poverty. Similarly, recent research does not provide conclusive evidence that a higher minimum reduces government spending on welfare and other programs to support poor families, with the possible exception of food stamps,” wrote David Neumark, a national expert on the minimum wage, in an article for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Michael Saltsman of the Employment Policies Institute contends, “The best case against a higher minimum wage might be its irrelevance. Since the last increase in the federal minimum wage was fully phased-in in 2010, both the number and percentage of people earning it has fallen every year, as employees earn raises through their own initiative.”
State Senate Democrats Release Budget Plan
- Democrats in the State Senate issued their plan for the 2022-23 state budget, but don’t click on the eight-slide PowerPoint presentation in expectation of any details. This nicely graphic, staff-written, vehicle is for public consumption and speaks only in broad themes and outlines. Small businesses get two mentions, however:
- “Build on enacted targeted tax relief programs that benefit California families, such as the CalEITC, Child Tax Credit, and Small Business Relief” under the Key Value #2 slide.
- “Support Getting Back to Work: Childcare, Small Businesses, and Essential Workforce” under the Key Value #3 slide.
Farm Animal Confinement
- Friday, December 17, deadline coming up. In November 2018, voters passed Proposition 12, a hugely complicated issue — which means none of them read it — establishing standards for farm animal confinement. Safe bet it was the title alone that explained its 63% ‘Yes,’ 37% ‘No’ passage.
- For the past three years, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has been adding specificity to the law. Now, “The Department is proposing to modify the original regulation text and add documents to the rulemaking file,” according to this news release issued by the department. “The 15-day comment period for the proposed modified text and documents added begins December 3, 2021 and ends December 17, 2021. Please refer to the 15-day Comment Period Documents posted below for information and materials regarding these modifications.”
- Five percent of NFIB-member businesses are in the agricultural sector.
Latest NFIB California Podcast
- NFIB California thanks member and former Leadership Council Chairman Paul Cramer for providing his insights on supply chain disruptions for the latest NFIB California podcast. Click here to listen to the 22-minute discussion with State Director John Kabateck.
- Next Up: Bakersfield small-business owner and former NFIB California leadership council chairman Darrell Feil discusses how he stayed open and profitable throughout the pandemic.
NFIB California in the News
- In another media hit from last week, Kabateck commented to The Epoch Times on the surge in retail theft in his state. “It’s really frustrating to see this spate of crimes emerge at such a fast pace and volume and with very little attention from our policymakers about what they’re doing to help the entrepreneurs struggling, the small mom and pop small business owners, and those who don’t have the luxury of the multitude of resources that most big box stores are fortunate to have and enjoy.”
Ditch The Assistant
- “Mr. Stoller said he listed an assistant general manager opening in November of 2020 and didn’t receive a single application from a qualified applicant for 10 months, despite raising the annual salary over that time to $70,000 from $55,000. Around two months ago, he gave up and reconfigured the role as a general-manager position. Applications shot up, and the company recently extended an offer to one candidate.” – From Think Your Job’s Rough? Try Being the Assistant Manager, The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4, 2021
A Look Ahead
- December 27, 2021—New legislative and congressional district lines released
- January 3, 2022—The Legislature reconvenes
- January 10—Deadline for governor to release his proposed state budget
- February 18—Bill introduction deadline
- June 7—Primary Election Day
- August 31—Legislature adjourns
- September 30—Deadline for governor to act on bills
- November 8—Election Day
From Washington D.C.
- Last Wednesday, December 8, with bipartisan support, the U.S. Senate passed S.J.Res. 29, disapproving the Biden Administration’s vaccine and testing mandate, 52 to 48. Prior to the vote, NFIB sent a letter to the U.S. Senate informing them that Senate Joint Resolution 29, which NFIB supports, would be considered a Key Vote.
- “America’s small and independent business owners should have the freedom to decide for themselves whether they will or will not impose upon employees in their businesses, as a condition of employment, a requirement to undergo vaccination or testing,” wrote Kevin Kuhlman, NFIB’s vice president for federal government relations, in the letter. “This ETS is an unprecedented intrusion into the employee/employer relationship and will harm small businesses in the tight labor market that they currently are facing.”
- NFIB is also part of a legal challenge to OSHA’s ‘COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard.’
- Read what two small-business owners told a Congressional committee about a proposed 3.8% Small Business Surtax from this NFIB news release.
- In another NFIB news release, Courtney Titus Brooks, NFIB senior manager of Federal Government Relations, commented in support of the introduction of the Employee Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act.
- A Gallup poll released December 2 found that 45% of American households say inflation is causing them financial hardship.
- A Wall Street Journal poll published December 7 found that about 60% of Americans think the economy is poor or not good and headed in the wrong direction.
Next Main Street Minute December 20.