What a difference a decade has made for the once thriving California marketplace. Just 10 short years ago, California was the destination for aspiring entrepreneurs and staple industry names. But misguided politics and burdensome regulations have tarnished the Golden State for businesses hoping to start or expand here.
Legislation passed over the last 10 years has culminated in California being the worst state in which to conduct business. Despite every economic indicator and numerous analyses warning California of where this plotted course leads, liberal Democrats who control state government refuse to acknowledge the effects of their job-killing policies.
What follows is some of the most recent legislation produced by the California Legislature that has or will result in more lost jobs and an even more hostile business environment. Here's hoping that Gov. Jerry Brown will use his veto pen.
•AB 22 — This bill prohibits an employer or prospective employer, with the exception of certain financial institutions (and other specified job descriptions), from obtaining a consumer credit report, as defined, for employment purposes. This takes away from an employer's ability to utilize employee credit reports to assist in the overall evaluation of an applicant. Employers should have the right to thoroughly screen potential employees.
•AB 1155 — AB 155 undermines the apportionment protection in the workers' compensation system by erasing provisions that protect an employer from paying for disability that did not arise from work. Put differently, it allows an attorney to game the system if he or she can somehow link a person's pre-existing condition, not connected with performing the job, to that person's age, race, gender, national origin or sexual orientation.
•SB 432 — This bill requires the use of fitted sheets on hotel beds and the use of long-handled tools when cleaning hotel bathrooms. This mandate will cost the lodging industry an estimated $30 million to $50 million at a time when revenue is in short supply and business is slowing.
•AB 183 — AB 183 is a favor to grocery unions, pure and simple. It prohibits licensed alcoholic beverage retailers from allowing a customer to purchase alcoholic beverages using a self-service checkout system located on the licensee's physical premises. This bill was created under the guise of defending against underage drinking, but in actuality this bill will do nothing more than decrease productivity and revenues of grocery stores.
This list doesn't include some of the worst anti-business legislation that didn't make it out of the Legislature, such as AB 350, which would have mandated that any service company that wins a contract to provide service at a building must hire all the previous company's employees for a period of 60 days, or SB 562, which would have prohibited a food vendor (think: Chinese takeout or coffee cups) from dispensing prepared food to a consumer in a disposable polystyrene food container.
As evidenced by the bills listed above, the Democrat-controlled Legislature continues to produce laws that discourage job growth and plunge the state further into economic ruin. At this point, it has gone beyond a partisan bickering match — the producers of jobs and creators of revenue cite California's continually declining business climate as a major reason for departure. Companies like DIRECTV, US Airways, Yelp, Apple Inc., Facebook, Google Inc., Hewlett-Packard, Coca-Cola North America, and Intel Corp. have simply left California or chosen to expand elsewhere.
California has the second highest unemployment rate in the U.S. (12.1%). Looking at the anti-business bills that are continually passed by the Legislature, is there any wonder why?
JIM SILVA is an assemblyman covering the 67th District, which includes Huntington Beach.