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The California Chamber of Commerce touched off its annual war with environmental, consumer protection, trial lawyer and union groups last month by declaring 28 of their bills as "job killers" that would raise employers' costs and discourage investment.

The list was released as the Legislature churned toward a deadline for initial action on all bills. By the end, 11 of the measures had bitten the dust, leaving 17 -- plus a new addition - for further political jousting.

The most controversial of the survivors is Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's measure (once Senate Bill 653, now reincarnated as a budget "trailer bill," SB X1 23) that would authorize counties, school districts, community college districts and county offices of education to seek voter approval of a wide variety of new local taxes.

The chamber is not only leading the lobbying campaign against the bill, but a chamber-led coalition is vowing to seek its repeal by voters, should it be enacted, via a referendum. Steinberg has indicated that the measure is a bargaining chip in the state budget wrangle, apparently aimed at persuading business groups to pressure Republicans to vote for state tax extensions.

The updated "job killer" list, with notations on those that failed in committee or floor votes, can be found here.


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