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Letters: California’s poor policies continue to harm small businesses

Across California, small businesses have struggled with one of the worst business climates in the 50 states.

In 2024, a total of 11 new labor laws were approved. These laws will have a direct impact on small businesses, which could affect their profitability and potentially hinder their growth and expansion of services.

Moreover, businesses are worried about frivolous lawsuits, which add to their existing stress and concerns.

As a business owner in the life sciences industry in North County, I have witnessed firsthand how the state’s poor policy decisions have negatively impacted small businesses. The California Legislature’s careless decisions have created an unfavorable business climate, allowing trial attorneys to exploit hard-working business owners through frivolous lawsuits.

Three state laws, the American Disabilities Act, the Private Attorney Generals Act, and Assembly Bill 5 (California’s Gig-Worker Law), have made it challenging for small businesses to thrive.

While the ADA was well-intentioned, it has now become a way for bad actors to file numerous lawsuits over minor breaches in the guidelines solely for monetary gain. PAGA enables profit-seeking attorneys to sue employers over insignificant labor code compliance issues, such as a minor mistake in the date on a paycheck or a rounding error.

Lastly, AB 5 has created chaos for local businesses like mine by making it nearly impossible to hire independent contractors due to the risk of litigation over their employee status.

This law restricts individual progress, from independent contractors to business owners. As someone who started as an independent contractor and eventually became a business owner, I know firsthand the importance of supporting small businesses.

Our legislators must act with prudence and avoid any negative effects on small businesses.

To maintain a thriving small business community in North County and across California, state lawmakers must introduce legislation to address these pressing issues and support local businesses.

David Vincent

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