Kashkari knocks Brown on paid sick leave, Tesla factory

Neel Kashkari
Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari writes a note to Gov. Jerry Brown on one of the bundles of paper bags he delivered to the governor’s mail room Wednesday.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Neel Kashkari, the Republican candidate for governor, said Monday afternoon that he did not support legislation granting three days of paid sick leave for millions of California workers.

Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat running for reelection this year, signed the bill earlier in the day, calling it an example of how “California is putting its workers first.”

Kashkari said the new rules would make it harder for unemployed people to find jobs.

“There’s no question there are a lot of things, like raising the minimum wage, that are good for people who already have jobs,” he said. “But it doesn’t help people who are out of work get jobs. It actually makes the cost of labor higher. And that’s the exact opposite direction we need to move in.”

Kashkari made his comments during a news conference in Sacramento, where he accused Brown of failing to convince Tesla to open a new factory in California.

The Republican pulled up in a Tesla with 6,500 paper bags in the trunk, one for each job at the new factory, which will be built in Nevada. The bags symbolized a bill, which Brown said he would sign, to ban plastic grocery bags statewide and charge customers 10 cents for paper bags.

“While he and the Legislature were negotiating in heated discussions about banning plastic bags and focusing on paper bags, 6,500 good jobs were going to Nevada,” Kashkari said.

Brown rejected Tesla-related criticisms during a debate with Kashkari last week.

“We fought hard for Tesla, but Tesla wanted a massive, cash, up-front payment that I don’t think would be fair to the taxpayers of California.”

Follow @chrismegerian for more updates from Sacramento.