At the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in California’s “Day at the Capitol” program on April 18, 2012, executive director John Kabateck told the attendees that two union groups had submitted a written statement to the California State Legislature in opposition to all regulatory reform.
When I heard this, I figured Kabateck’s claim included a bit of hyperbole. I guess I wasn’t cynical enough, because it is true. The March 23, 2012 letter was sent from the California Labor Federation and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California to the Speaker of the Assembly and the Senate Pro Tem. It bluntly states the groups’ “opposition to all legislation to amend the regulatory process in the name of regulatory reform.”
(Note: the unions apparently don’t want to recognize that legislation to amend the regulatory process is usually proposed “in the name of” encouraging economic growth and job creation in a state that is struggling economically and is consistently ranked as the worst state in the country for running a business.)
The jaw-dropping letter seems to be reported and posted on the web in only one place: a blog called Small Business Revolution, which has as a slogan “Ready to revolutionize the political landscape in California?” The CEO of Small Business Revolution is Marty Keller, who was Director of the Office of Small Business Advocate for the State of California during the Schwarzenegger Administration. He also has a political blog called The Recovering Bureaucrat (“Dragging Government Kicking and Screaming into the 21st Century.”) He writes, “After serving as Small Business Advocate for four years, I got tired of business owners being told they are ‘the backbone of the economy’ and then burdened with more fees, regulations, taxes, and incessant nannying.” No kidding. I don’t know him personally, but his political views seem to agree with the Dayton Public Policy Institute.
Mr. Keller analyzes the letter quite well, but I’ll add another comment: unions oppose regulatory reform because they use the state’s complex system of regulations as leverage in organizing campaigns. One California law firm that represents unions even produces a guidebook called Using the California Labor Laws Offensively: Organizing Through Enforcement of State Employment Laws.