November 8, 2007

California Chamber finally gets called on it’s “Job Killer” label

The Sacramento Bee has reported how the California Chamber of Commerce has used the “job killer” label they coined to kill any legislation they don’t like, and how the label virtually ensures a Schwarzenegger veto. The Chamber broke a tradition of non-partisanship dating back more than 100 years when it endorsed Schwarzenegger in the 2003 recall election, and has been a reliably Republican institution ever since. The article also describes how this slogan has been used to advance the career of Allan Zaremberg, who has now hung out as Chamber President for more than a decade. It is good that the media finally reporting on this, as the Schwarzenegger administration has been in virtual lock step with the California Chamber and has never understood that being “pro-corporation” and being “pro-business” are vastly different things. What this simplistic bumper sticker slogan had really killed is serious debate on business development in California.

Today, calling a bill a “job killer” is the kiss of death for legislation the chamber deems unfriendly. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed all but three of the chamber’s 41 job-killer bills on his watch. The chamber’s job-killer list, a compendium of a dozen or so Democratic bills that would rein in businesses, has become the unofficial score card that industry and trade groups use to measure their success in beating back unfriendly legislation. The chamber issues laudatory press releases – “From day one in office, Gov. Schwarzenegger has demonstrated his commitment to protecting California’s economy and encouraging job creation,” reads one dated Oct. 12 – and the governor takes a bow. “Since I took office, California’s business climate has dramatically improved,” the Republican governor said after vetoing all 12 of this year’s job-killer bills.

But critics charge the chamber simplistically tags as job killers all legislation that would improve environmental protections and consumer protection, including tort reform, insurance reform and landlord/tenant law. “I think it’s part of the whole movement by the free marketeers, extreme right-wing of the (Republican) party that has identified this as an effective phrase,” said former Democratic Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson. “Unfortunately, it resonates with people in way that takes the focus off the real legislation.”

Filed under Business Associations, California Politics, Opinion by

Leave a Comment

Fields marked by an asterisk (*) are required.

Made with an easy to customize WordPress theme • Blues skin by TechieCoach