The California Chamber of Commerce has tagged SB 799 (Portantino; D-Burbank) as a job killer bill, citing the proposal’s requirement for employers to subsidize striking workers through additional taxes paid to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) fund.
“By forcing employers to pay unemployment insurance payments to striking workers, SB 799 would raise taxes on employers across California and overturn more than 70 years of precedent,” said CalChamber Policy Advocate Robert Moutrie.
“Being unemployed is fundamentally different than being on strike,” Moutrie said. “SB 799 fundamentally alters the nature of UI by providing unemployment benefits to workers who still have a job and have chosen to temporarily refuse to work as a negotiating tactic. Simply put, going on strike is not the same as being laid off.”
The CalChamber was joined by more than 50 organizations in expressing opposition to the measure.
Chief among the concerns of the CalChamber and members of the opposition coalition is that SB 799 will worsen California’s ongoing UI fund crisis. Currently, California’s UI fund is in historic debt of $18 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic and government mandated shutdowns. To address the insolvency, California employers are already paying increased UI taxes pursuant to federal law and are likely to face ongoing tax increases until approximately 2032.
According to coalition members, SB 799 would worsen California’s UI fund crisis and increase the state’s interest payments.
A copy of the coalition’s letter of opposition can be found here.
The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocate to government in California. Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state. Leveraging our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations, we provide products and services to help businesses comply with both federal and state law. CalChamber, a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, promotes international trade and investment in order to stimulate California’s economy and create jobs. Please visit our website at www.calchamber.com.