With unemployment still unacceptably high in California, the state must put every available resource into the creation of good jobs that lift up our economy. Every dime of taxpayer money must be spent wisely.
We support Governor Brown’s job-creation proposal, which invests in California’s future by stimulating growth in jobs and industries that sustain our middle class. This proposal is revenue neutral, curbing the over 30% annual growth in today’s Enterprise Zone program. The entire program sunsets, allowing the Legislature to evaluate its performance and make any necessary adjustments.
When large corporations like Walmart dodge their responsibilities to provide health care to their employees, taxpayers are forced to pick up the tab. That’s unfair, and it must change.
AB 880 (Gomez) demands that the state’s largest corporations pay their fair share like the rest of us. It closes the ‘Walmart Loophole” in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that encourages big, profitable companies to cut hours and wages so low that workers end up on taxpayer-funded programs like Medi-Cal. The law would assess a penalty on unscrupulous corporations that are pushing their costs onto taxpayers. And it improves access to affordable medical care for millions of low-income Californians.
In the 2012 election, working families sent a strong message: Let’s start investing in California’s future. No more attacks on workers. No more reckless tax breaks for big corporations that steal our jobs. No more devastating cuts.
We have a vision for a better California. We see a state that will protect the rights of workers to earn fair wages, to work safely, and to join a union for a better life if they choose. We believe that those who have worked hard for our economy should have a path to citizenship. We intend to crack down on the underground economy, create a level playing field for responsible businesses and generate new revenue.
California has climbed out of a deep budget hole, but our economy is still fragile. Every state dollar that is spent should give taxpayers the maximum return on their investment. Corporate tax breaks should be put to the jobs test to make sure that they are creating good jobs that put people to work, create economic growth and increase tax revenue.
Not all of the state’s tax breaks pass the jobs test. One of the biggest failures is the Enterprise Zone program (EZ). EZs were originally intended to create jobs in economically-distressed areas through a package of tax breaks for business.
California and the nation have experienced steady increases in contingent work. Workers are routinely hired through third-party intermediaries, such as
labor contractors, temporary staffing agencies, subcontractors, and professional employer organizations (PEOs). The temporary industry is now the fastest growing sector of our economy, and since 2009, 54 percent of all jobs created have been in temporary staffing services.
All of these contingent arrangements separate the company at the top from the workers at the bottom and serve to shield from liability the company that is calling the shots. That means when workers’ rights are violated, it is harder to get justice. Misclassified workers lose all worker protections, from the minimum wage to the right to organize. They are forced to bear all the risk of being an
independent contractor without any of the freedom of a truly independent business.
California’s initiative process dates back to 1911, when Governor Hiram Johnson proposed a series of constitutional amendments to give Californians the right to recall elected officials, repeal laws by referendum, and enact statewide laws by initiative.
Voters approved the amendments and have since enacted over 130 ballot measures. In recent years, however, Governor Johnson’s vision of empowered
citizens has been hijacked by wealthy individuals and corporations seeking a tool with which to further an extremist agenda, and the need for reform is clear.
Californians are hopeful about the promise of comprehensive immigration reform this year and achieving that goal is a top priority for the Labor Movement. At the same time, here in California, immigrant workers face some of the worst employer abuses and the constant threat of employer retaliation
when they speak out. We must strengthen state and federal laws to protect immigrant workers – and all workers – from unfair retaliation when they exercise protected rights.
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