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Tom Scott

Small Business Braces for Legislative Supermajority Agenda

tom scottWhile there is certainly extensive discussion and speculation as to the public policy consequences in Washington, DC about the outcome of the Presidential Election, we here in California know that our Legislature’s policy agenda does not wait for the federal government. In fact, in many ways, we have seen the California Legislature reach far beyond federal laws on important small business issues such as minimum wage, labor mandates, and environmental regulations.

This is why the small business community is paying close attention to what the California Legislature does next and how Sacramento may affect their ability to own, operate, and expand their business in this state.

Although it will take another couple of weeks to certify the results of the California General Election, we know that Democrats will regain the 2/3 supermajority in the Assembly—and we are closely watching the returns for Senate District 29 to see if they manage to also gain 2/3 in the State Senate.

Our 22,000 small business members know that a Supermajority one-party rule raises concerns for public policy in this state, and it is our sincere hope that we do not see California’s largest employer—small businesses—ignored by a 2/3 supermajority party in either house of the legislature. NFIB knows we have important public policy discussions ahead in the 2017-18 legislative session on issues ranging from tax reform, labor mandates, and environmental regulations. These discussions deserve thorough, thoughtful dialogue from both sides of the aisle.

It will be the goal of NFIB to work collaboratively with the next class of legislators to find relief for small businesses across California. Unfortunately we recognize in recent years this state has consistently been ranked dead last for our business climate, but we look forward to offering solutions and the perspective of our small business members as we seek to improve that business climate in the next legislative session.

With regard to state ballot initiatives, NFIB California officially endorsed Proposition 54 and opposed Proposition 55.

We are thrilled with the resounding approval of Proposition 54, which will bring much needed transparency to the California Legislature. Our members know that sweeping public policy deals cut behind closed doors between powerful special interests can have devastating consequences on their small business. For example, Senate Bill 3, the $15 state minimum wage, was introduced over Easter Weekend, passed and signed by the Governor all in less than a week with zero public input. NFIB is proud to see the voters of California agree we need to bring an end to this kind of politics in Sacramento.

With regard to the passage of Proposition 55 we foresee not only painful consequences for our small businesses, but also a continuation of unsustainable fiscal policies which relies far too-heavily on income taxes to fund the state budget. We got into this recession by relying too heavily on income to fund state programs—Prop. 55 puts us right back on the path of fiscal uncertainty as soon as the next economic downturn occurs. We also believe many voted for Prop. 55 with the belief that it only applied to ‘super wealthy’ taxpayers—but this is just not the case. Since over 85% of small businesses in California file as sole proprietors, Prop. 55 will be a direct tax on small businesses, which will lead to lower wages, lost jobs, and higher costs for consumers.

Tom Scott is the State Executive Director for NFIB California, which represents 22,000 dues-paying small business members across the state.