Following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s tweet that “SCIENCE — not politics — must be California’s guide” in its economic recovery, more than 150 California economists and professors sent the Governor an open letter calling on him to suspend AB 5.
However, at his recent press conference, Gov. Newsom said he has developed six indicators to help guide how and when we re-open our economy. Only the six indicators are not unique to Gov. Newsom or California, and appear to be borrowed from the World Health Organization, which also outlined the six things that need to be in place before any country can re-open for business, as explained by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recently in this video:
Suspending AB 5
The Independent Institute posted the list of economists and economics professors, along with the letter, including the institute’s own Economist and Senior Fellow, Lawrence McQuillan.
“By prohibiting the use of independent contractor drivers, health care professionals, and workers in other critical areas, AB-5 is doing substantial, and avoidable, harm to the very people who now have the fewest resources and the worst alternatives available to them,” the letter says.
“Employment decisions hinge on the costs of distributing risk. While employers are not hiring, gig workers could shoulder myriad tasks that are needed to flatten out the effects of the temporary emergency. It doesn’t really matter how great the pay is, how predictable are the hours, nor how generous the benefits may be, if the law prevents a job from existing in the first place.”
Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) has introduced legislation to suspend AB 5 and has urged the Governor to use his emergency powers to do so. “If Governor Newsom believes in putting science before politics, he should listen to our state’s leading economists rather than special interests and political allies,” Kiley said. “Keeping AB 5 in place while Californians remain at home defies expert opinion, common sense, and basic decency.”
The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that AB 5 has already affected more than 1 million independent contractor and freelance working Californians. Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) has been compiling a book of AB 5 stories of independent contractors who have lost their jobs because of the poorly crafted bill.
“Blocking work that is needed and impoverishing workers laid-off from other jobs are not the intentions of AB-5, but the law is having these unintended consequences and needs to be suspended,” the Economists wrote. “We propose that the California State Legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom suspend AB-5.”