And the Democratic spending continues

Cameron Smyth Commentary, Right Here Right Now

Recently, the Legislature completed the traditional “House of Origin” deadline, during which literally hundreds of bills are voted on over a five-day period.

It amazes me that in a time when our focus should be on solving California’s budget mess, and with a deficit of some $24 billion and climbing, the Assembly passed nearly 200 bills that increase state spending.

While some of the approved bills were needed, and I was willing to support them, several stood out as especially unnecessary. I have compiled my version of a “Top Ten” – or perhaps “Bottom Ten” would be more exact – list highlighting the worst of the worst.

10. SB 95 doubles the amount of bond a used-car dealer must hold in order to do business in California. I believe this is especially wrong at a time when auto dealers have been decimated by the economic downturn and these increased costs will be passed along to consumers.

9. AB 231 increases costs and discourages job growth by granting the California Air Resources Board broad authority to implement unlimited fees and taxes with little or no oversight. The bill provides no guidance, no limits and no controls over the amount the board could raise – a frightening proposition for employers trying to sustain themselves and create jobs in California.

8. AB 226 grants authority to the California Coastal Commission to impose penalties up to $50,000. It sets a very troubling precedent to allow an oversight body to levy monetary penalties without going through the judicial system.

7. SB 484 makes it a crime to obtain Sudafed without a prescription. In the ongoing effort to crack down on meth operations, some of my colleagues want to require Californians to get a prescription before receiving certain over-the-counter medications.

6. AB 1000 requires businesses to provide paid sick leave for employees and specifies the rate of accrual, along with when leave may be taken. When California employers are eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs, should we be imposing new mandates that will severely reduce hiring flexibility and increase administrative costs?

5. AB 925 increases costs on businesses by requiring manufacturers to redesign bottle caps so that they are affixed to the bottle.

Apparently, the author doesn’t believe Californians are responsible enough to manage our plastic bottle tops.

4. AB 1198 allows individuals convicted of any felony drug charges to qualify for food stamps. Besides the obvious expansion of an already costly program, this bill completely undermines the core principles of welfare reform by allowing state benefits to flow through the illicit drug trade.

3. AB 650 requires the state to give the city of Half Moon Bay an interest-free $10 million loan to cover part of the $18 million the city owes to a developer whose property rights were violated.

2. AB 1421 requires employers to pay employees for time spent on employer-provided shuttles to off-site parking lots. This mandates that employees are paid when they are not even at work.

1. Finally … AB 790 mandates pay raises of up to 17 percent for state scientists. No other bill further demonstrates how out of touch Assembly Democrats truly are with the rest of California.

As you can see by this list, the Democrats simply do not seem to understand the crisis we are in. Bills like this do nothing but drive hard-working Californians out of the state and validate the public’s opinion that the Legislature is not tackling the most pressing job at hand, which is restoring California back to the Golden State we once knew.