NFIB California Main Street Minute
For the legislative and political week April 18-22
Welcome to the April 18-22 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your NFIB small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.
The Legislature returns from its spring break this morning, April 18, and will shift into a higher gear before the April 29 deadline for policy committees to hear and report to fiscal committees all the fiscal bills introduced in their house.
It was another big week for coalition letters NFIB is part of. Letters are a key part of the lobbying strategy, putting small business on record, which the office meeting or phone call do not.
Last week’s Letter of Support
Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund
- In a letter of support for Assembly Bill 2570 sent to members of the Assembly Insurance Committee, NFIB and its coalition partners reminded lawmakers that, “In the space of two years, the UI Fund has fallen deeper into debt than it has ever been before – peaking at just under $20 billion in debt. Because the UI Fund is funded by taxes paid by California employers, this debt is about to fall at the feet of California’s business community in the form of accelerating tax increases. These tax increases will begin in January 2023 and will ratchet upward steadily until the fund returns to solvency … Thankfully, AB 2570 takes a strong step to address this unfairness by providing $7.25 billion for California’s UI Fund … Notably, this payment will help both businesses (by reducing their future taxes) and the state (by reducing interest payments on the UI debt).”
Last week’s Letters of Opposition
- So, if the typical NFIB member employs 10 people and reports gross sales of about $500,000 a year, what possible interest does NFIB have in Assembly Bill 2289 and Assembly Constitutional Amendment 8, which would impose a tax of 1.5 percent on taxpayers with a worldwide net worth of more than $1 billion?
- “A wealth tax in California would encourage a select group of Californians to relocate to any of the 49 states that do not tax savings, household furnishings, personal effects, and other assets, and could lead to a significant reduction in personal income tax revenue from these individuals,” according to a letter of opposition to AB 2289/ACA 8 that NFIB co-signed and sent to members of the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee.
- “The top 1 percent of high-income taxpayers accounted for 45 percent of the PIT [Personal Income Tax] revenue received by the state in the 2019 tax year–or approximately 30 percent of California’s General Fund revenue. If any high-income taxpayer relocates out of state, California will see an erosion of its tax base.”
- And how would California make up for these lost revenues if these two horrendous measures ever became law? It would have to reach deeper into the pockets of small-business owners. There are many, many more problems with AB 2289/ACA 8, which the letter of opposition details.
- “AB 2183 is the latest incarnation of the card check legislation sought and sponsored by the United Farm Workers (UFW) for the sole purpose of thwarting the secret ballot election process that has been the core protection for employees’ right to a free and un-coerced choice for or against union representation under the Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) since its inception,” so stated a coalition letter of opposition to Assembly Bill 2183 sent to Assembly Member Ash Kalra, chairman of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee. NFIB is part of the coalition.
- In seeking to increase workers’ compensation “disability benefits by the percentage of disparity in earnings between genders,” Senate Bill 1458 may have stirred up a hornet’s nest of state and federal constitutionality, as this letter of opposition to members of the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement argues. NFIB is part of the coalition opposed to SB 1458.
Four-Day Work Week
- The vise grip the progressive/liberal bloc has on the State Capitol will not ease its hold. Just this year, in addition to wanting to make California:
- first in the nation to have universal health care
- first in the nation with mandatory vaccinations
- first in the nation to impose a wealth tax
- it now wants us first in the nation with a four-day work week.
- And employees will not have to take a cut in pay. Assembly Bill 2932 “would require the compensation rate of pay at 32 hours to reflect the previous compensation rate of pay at 40 hours and would prohibit an employer from reducing an employee’s regular rate of pay as a result of this reduced hourly workweek requirement.”
- AB 2932 will initially target businesses with 500 or more employees, but that is not expected to last. NFIB and its coalition partners are planning to circle the wagons. An official letter of opposition is expected shortly.
In Other News
Gas Tax Relief
- Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan for helping alleviate soaring fuel costs is expected to be included in a budget trailer bill, but legislators are up against some pressing deadlines, according to Politico. If they manage to rally, the following will take effect in July:
- $400 tax refunds for vehicle owners
- free statewide public transit for three months
- canceling the sales tax on diesel fuel for a year
- pausing the gas tax’s inflation adjustment scheduled for July 1.
Speaking of Vehicles …
- From a Los Angeles Times editorial. “California air quality officials on Tuesday [April 12] released a groundbreaking proposal to require all new cars sold to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035, a rule that would make it the first state to mandate the phaseout of gas-powered vehicles …
- “… The state Air Resources Board plan follows through on a 2020 executive order by Gov. Gavin Newsom and is expected to be voted on this summer. It would require automakers to sell increasing percentages of zero-emission vehicles starting with 35% of new car sales in 2026, reaching 68% in 2030 and 100% by 2035.”
- Learn more about a campaign opposing the Air Resources Board proposal on Twitter at #CostofACCII.
Just for Fun
- In what state will you find the:
- Office of Saving People Money on Health Care
- Office of Future Work
- Office of New Americans
- Office of Public Guardianship
- Office of Just Transition?
- This was asked on a conference call with NFIB state directors and staff in some Rocky Mountain states. Almost unanimously, the knee-jerk response was “California.” When told it was Colorado, someone blurted out, “Same state!” Jeez.
- Funding and staffing these lovely sounding agencies have proved a bit problematic, reports Colorado Politics. “Just 12 days after his inauguration, [Gov. Jared] Polis issued an executive order creating the Office of Saving People Money on Health Care and assigned Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera to run it. The Democratic-controlled General Assembly, in turn, authorized a bump in her salary. Almost four years later, that office has yet to show up as a line item in the governor’s budget.”
- By the way, the Office of Just Transition has nothing to do with finding a different job or transitioning into the afterlife. No, it “aims to help communities reliant on coal mining for their economy to find ways to diversify those economies … The office is scheduled to present a self-directed review in January next year, which would determine whether it should continue.”
- The good news is Congress was out last week and will be again this week for “District Work Periods,” which used to be called, in a less politically correct era, Easter Break.
- The NFIB Small Business Legal Center is expected to file an amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court today, April 18, in the case of Sackett v. EPA. According to the U.S. Supreme Court’s blog story about the case, at issue is “Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit set forth the proper test for determining whether wetlands are ‘waters of the United States’ under the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1362(7).”
- WOTUS is no small matter. U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington state called it the “biggest issue facing rural America” in this 36-minute exclusive conference call with NFIB Washington state members last September. Although Newhouse discussed Congressional efforts, not legal challenges, to rein in WOTUS, there is some valuable background information for anyone interested in knowing more about the whole issue.
- Mitch Relfe, NFIB’s manager of government relations and host of the conference call, said, “The basic jurisdictional question, what are navigable waters covered by the Clean Water Act, is absolutely critical. In nearly 50 years, we still don’t have a stable answer as to what are the jurisdictional waters of the Clean Water Act.”
Next Main Street Minute April 25.