I’m tempted to start with that old saw: “Stop me if you’ve heard this one before,” but I know you would stop me because you have heard this before –California is not friendly to small business. That’s the conclusion of the annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey. The fifth annual survey gives the Golden State the same grade it was tagged with last year, an F.

The website surveys 12,000 U.S. small business owners to grade 35 states on government policies affecting businesses. The business owners cover a range of professions from electricians to wedding planners to music teachers and more.

California scored Fs in 8 of the 10 categories Thumbtack tested: Ease of starting a business; Regulations; Health & Safety; Employment, labor and hiring; Tax code; Licensing; Environmental; and Zoning. Only in the categories of Ease of hiring (C) and Training & networking programs (B-) did the state climb away from the bottom rung.

You can’t get lower than an F but many small businesses may want to demand a lower grade if they fall victim to a growing epidemic of Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) lawsuits.

In essence, PAGA “deputizes” lawyers to bring actions to enforce the state labor code. The problem is that many of those actions deal with minor infractions—such as an end date of the working period left off a check—and the lawyers swoop in to claim millions of dollars. Businesses are often forced to settle the lawsuit. Repercussions from a lawsuit often hurt the employees who are supposedly being protected by the lawsuits. Employers often have to cut positions or eliminate bonuses and payments into retirement funds just to stay in business after paying out exorbitant settlements. Meanwhile, any awards from the settlement are more than likely to enrich the attorneys who brought the lawsuit rather than the employees.

The number of PAGA lawsuits has exploded since the law allowing the private lawsuits was enacted in 2004. There were well over 6000 lawsuits in 2014; the last year numbers were available.

Assemblywoman Shannon Grove introduced a series of bills to ease the burden of small businesses affected by PAGA attacks. Among other items, the bills offered employers an opportunity to cure any inadvertent wrongs, cap penalties and require the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to determine if there is a reasonable basis for civil action. Thanks to the power of the lawyer lobby those bills did not become law.

However, a budget trailer bill, SB 836, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week may offer some help. The governor said the PAGA amendments to the bill were intended to reduce unnecessary lawsuits by involving the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency more on PAGA claims.

Under PAGA, small businesses are feeling the pressure of being run out of business for minor infractions, much like the battle to satisfy the American Disabilities Act when lawsuits were brought for doors that might be off requirements by a quarter-inch subjecting businesses to crushing lawsuits.

All this legal activity lends to the feeling that California is a death trap for small business.

The Thumbtack rating supports this opinion.