Currently, the focus on California elections is on candidates hoping to finish in the top two in the June primary, but potential policy issues determined at the ballot box have not escaped notice of state business interests. The California Chamber of Commerce released support and opposition endorsements on ballot initiatives that have yet to qualify for the ballot.

CalChamber decided it was important to take a stand early, perhaps discouraging qualification of a number of measures, for of the six items the organization took positions on, it opposed five.

Denise Davis, CalChamber’s Vice-president for Media Relations and External Affairs, said the action occurred even before ballot qualification because, “There is a high level of interest in what’s out there both with board members and members of the (business) community.”

The only measure to receive a positive endorsement was The People’s Initiative to Protect Proposition 13 Savings, an effort from the California Association of Realtors. The Chamber board believes the measure will help ease the housing crisis by allowing seniors to sell their homes without getting a property tax increase for purchasing a new home thus increasing the housing stock.

The housing crunch was also the impetus for opposition to the Affordable Housing Act intended to repeal the law that prevents rent control to be attached to newer apartment units. The Chamber opposition arises from the argument that a change in the law will discourage new housing construction thus limiting the supply of housing units.

Taxes were also on the mind of the CalChamber Board.

The Chamber came out against the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act of 2018, and the California Care Act. The former measure would raise property taxes on commercial and industrial property. The latter initiative would fund health care programs with a 1% surcharge on taxable income over $1 million. The state budget is overly reliant on high-end taxpayers. An economic downturn hits the budget hard. The Chamber argues the initiative adds additional risk “to California’s economic health and budget stability.”

The Chamber also opposes the Fair Pricing for Dialysis Act, which limits charges kidney dialysis clinics charge for patient care. CalChamber sees this as a precedent setting effort to establish government imposed, arbitrary price controls in the health care field.

Finally, the Chamber Board opposed the California Consumer Privacy Act designed to require businesses to provide copies of personal information to consumers and allow consumers to opt out of business sharing personal information. In a release the Chamber stated its opposition: “it poses grave risks to the business community and potentially the state’s economy. It has an impact on businesses across every sector and would be particularly harmful to the data-driven economy that generates a significant portion of the state’s revenue.”