FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Denise Davis Monday, March 12, 2012

CalChamber Announces Positions on Proposed Initiatives
SACRAMENTO, CA — The California Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has announced its positions on the following proposed initiatives:

Tax Initiatives
The CalChamber Board of Directors has voted to oppose both the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) and Molly Munger tax initiatives. The CalChamber is opposing these measures because each would heavily impact small businesses, which are the source of most new jobs, by imposing steep, new taxes. Targeting taxes on job creators will hinder job growth in California at a time when unemployment in the state is 10.9%. The CFT proposal would amount to a permanent 48% tax increase on the people who currently pay 40% of the income taxes collected in the state. The Munger initiative is a virtually permanent tax increase that would make California’s top marginal income tax rate the highest in the country. These proposals would further hurt California’s competitiveness and discourage capital formation and business growth. “These two measures create huge personal income tax increases on California businesses and job creators that will result in harm to our economy and increased volatility in a tax structure already too dependent on personal income taxes,” said Allan Zaremberg, President and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce. “There is little doubt that if passed, either of these measures would result in some people deciding to move their residency out of California resulting in lower tax collections.”

Health Care Initiatives
The CalChamber Board of Directors has voted to oppose two SEIU-sponsored health care initiatives. One would force non-union, nonprofit hospitals to provide charity care services equal to at least 5 percent of the hospital’s patient revenue. Most uncompensated care provided by hospitals would not count toward the 5 percent requirement under this measure, making it impossible for the targeted hospitals to comply. The other initiative would impose arbitrary price caps on targeted non-union hospitals; but the exempted, unionized, hospitals could still charge whatever they want. “These measures are misleading and will do nothing to address the underlying reasons for rising health care costs,” said Zaremberg. “The result of both arbitrary price caps and charity care requirements could result in fiscal troubles for many hospitals in our state.” The CalChamber Board also voted to oppose a third health care measure, sponsored by Consumer Watchdog. This measure proposes to regulate health insurance rates similar to the way that auto insurance and home insurance rates are regulated after passage of Proposition

103. This measure calls for special interest reforms of a large and complicated health system without the input of patients, doctors, or hospitals. It fails to take into account the major causes of rising medical care costs. “Instead of solving the problem of the rising costs of health care, this measure would create another state bureaucracy at a time when we can least afford it,” said Zaremberg. “Ultimately, it will be paid for with higher health insurance premiums.”

Genetically Engineered Food Initiatives
The CalChamber Board voted to oppose two versions of a proposal that would require mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. CalChamber has a long-standing policy of supporting uniform national labeling laws. The proposed initiatives would impose state-only labeling requirements which present a myriad of problems for agriculture, food processors, food manufacturers and retailers. "These measures are based on bad science and would place California at a competitive disadvantage to other states,” said Zaremberg. “If passed, either of these measures would impose specific state-only labeling requirements which confuse and unnecessarily worry consumers. Based on the breadth of the definitions in the initiatives, almost every aspect of the food chain would be impacted requiring needless labeling and sharply increasing the cost of food to consumers at a time when they can least afford it.”

The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocate to government in California. Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state. Leveraging our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations, we provide products and services to help businesses comply with both federal and state law. CalChamber, a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, promotes international trade and investment in order to stimulate California's economy and create jobs. Please visit our website at www.calchamber.com. #####

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