The chamber’s hit list

Every year at this time, the California Chamber of Com-merce releases its list of 25 “job killer” bills under consideration in the Legislature. Of course, the chamber’s concern isn’t so much lost jobs as lost profits, but no matter. The list is interesting for what it says about the state’s foremost business interest group.

Readers may remember that last year’s list of “job killers” included AB 32, Governor Schwarzenegger’s landmark global-warming bill that passed anyway and is now the model for the nation. This year’s list includes several bills designed to implement that law and reduce greenhouse gases. They include AB 35, AB 888 and AB 1058 that implement green building guidelines, AB 1065 that implements tight energy-efficiency measures, AB 210 that controls vehicle emissions and SB 140 that fosters alternative fuels. According to the chamber, all would cost jobs and therefore should be defeated.

One has to wonder just how the chamber thinks we should go about ending global warming.

The same is true of health care. The chamber labels as “job killers” all three bills that seek to provide universal health care (and no doubt would oppose the governor’s plan if it were written yet). It doesn’t say how it would solve the problem of millions of Californians with no health insurance.

It also opposes AB 5, which calls for a comprehensive Central Valley flood policy and flood risk management, as well as AB 70, which would hold those responsible for building in flood plains responsible for the damage resulting from flooding. Hello? Can anybody say Hurricane Katrina?

And here’s a question: Which is more important, clean air or jobs? The chamber says jobs and so opposes AB 493, the California Vehicle Incentive Program, and SB 974, which tackles air pollution at the state’s ports. Interestingly, the Teamsters Union isn’t worried about this “job killer"—it supports the bill.

The list goes on: bills that would clean the oceans, recycle plastic, protect nurses’ bargaining rights and help permanently disabled workers are on the list.

And that spinach that might give you a fatal dose of e-coli? SB 201, which would regulate the production of leafy green vegetables—well, that too is a job killer.

If the chamber wants to remain relevant and maintain its credibility, it’s going to have to do better than this.