By Randy Gordon
President/CEO, Long Beach Chamber of Commerce
Today (Tuesday, June 18), a broad group of Long Beach and South Bay business leaders came together to encourage legislators to oppose Assembly Bill 880 (Gomez). AB 880 will harm the region’s economic recovery in addition to nearly every industry in California, including manufacturing, construction, tourism, restaurants and more. Specifically, AB 880 will mandate a new costly government program on top of the federal Affordable Care Act forcing new severe financial penalties on employers who employ part-time workers– including seasonal– who work eight hours a week or more at a time. This legislation will have far-reaching consequences and limit job growth, and further harm local recovering economies.
Long Beach and South Bay business leaders participating in the press conference at Long Beach Chamber of Commerce to oppose AB 880 included: Weston LaBar of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce, Brian Rosario of the Torrance Chamber of Commerce, Tracy Rafter of the Los Angeles County Business Federation, the Latin Business Association and the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce.
At a time when our local economies are slowly recovering, we do not need legislation that is a double tax to employers that will send more people to welfare than to work. Assembly Bill 880 would severely cripple our local economy and harm our core businesses. This legislation will provide no additional healthcare coverage to our residents but it will add unnecessary and severe penalties discouraging job growth and investment in this region.
“AB 880 will hurt working families, as it will penalize California employers that offer part-time or seasonal jobs to people in need,” said Brian Rosario, Government Affairs Coordinator with the Torrance Chamber of Commerce. “This legislation will discourage employers who hire many individuals who have little job training and experience. And what’s even worse is that AB 880 unfairly punishes employers who offer health care coverage but whose employees still elect to use Medi-Cal.”
Even UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education Ken Jacobs said in KQED on The California Report last week, “Cutting to part-time would entail much greater costs than the penalty on employers,” said Jacobs. “They’ve got greater hiring costs, more turnover, more supervision costs, more unemployment insurance costs. It’s not worth it.”
The coalition opposing AB 880 agrees– AB 880 is not worth it.
AB 880 will force larger employers to pay an estimated additional penalty between $6,000 and $15,000 to the state for any employee who works eight hours or more a week including seasonal or temporary employees– and chooses to use Medi-Cal. The additional penalty is on top of another penalty that the federal healthcare program already requires. Other key components include:
• Penalizes companies, nonprofits, and other organizations that have employee(s) including part-time, temporary, or seasonal employees enrolled in Medi-Cal. The penalty is 110 percent of the average cost of health care including both the employer and employee share of the premium.
• No penalty exemptions for the use of temporary or seasonal employees, which is common in industries such as trucking, agriculture, manufacturing and construction and many other vital industries.
• Penalizes employers who offer healthcare insurance to employees even if an employee refuses the benefit and opts to use Medi-Cal.
Organizations opposed to AB 880 represent nearly every industry in the state including: California Farm Bureau, California Attractions and Parks Association, Hispanic 100, Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, California Restaurant Association, California Retailers Association, Western Growers, Nisei Farmers League, Latin Business Association, UniteAg, California Chamber of Commerce, California Trucking Association, California Travel Association, California Grocers Association, California Manufacturers and Technology Association, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California Business Properties Association, California Lodging Industry Association, and many more.