NFIB California Main Street Minute, February 12-16

From your small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento

Welcome to the February 12-16 edition of the NFIB California Main Street Minute from your small-business-advocacy team in Sacramento.

More Retail Theft

  • NFIB California looks forward to the day it can get back to solely concentrating on the issues that matter to all of our members, which gives NFIB our uniqueness in that we’re not an industry-specific association but one fighting for or against the issues common to all businesses.
  • But in California, retail theft has been so overwhelming, a great deal of NFIB’s energies have had to be expended on it, first as one of the loudest drumbeaters early on that it was a real and big problem. We’re happy to report that after last week’s dizzying display of official action, something might finally get done about the crisis.
  • Significantly, Gov. Gavin Newsom last week announced he will pull 120 California Highway Patrol officers from their normal duties to assist crime-infested Oakland with making its streets habitable again and, whether progressive Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price like it or not, will yank attorneys from the state Dept. of Justice and the National Guard to help prosecute those caught.
  • His actions, we speculate, might have been aided by national news coverage of the closure, due to rampant crime, of the city’s only In-N-Out hamburger franchise and a Denny’s, both along Hegenberger Road, Oakland’s main artery connecting its airport to the rest of the town.
  • Puzzlingly, Newsom remains adamant that Prop. 47 is not a contributing cause to the retail theft epidemic, a view most definitely not shared by his fellow Democrats, London Breed, mayor of San Francisco, and Matt Mahan, mayor of San Jose, who last Thursday held a news conference announcing their support for a ballot initiative that would take direct aim at Prop. 47. “They’re among a wave of Democrats this year who are backing efforts to overhaul or reform Proposition 47, a 2014 law approved by voters that reduced punishments for drug possession and theft of property worth less than $950,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. “Breed said she initially supported Prop. 47. But she said she’s seeing some of the unintended consequences of the measure as she tries to crack down on illegal drugs and thefts in San Francisco. ‘Our goal is not to keep people locked up,” she said. ‘But when there are no real consequences for crimes that are committed in this city, that’s a real problem.’”
  • Also last week, the Senate finally got around to anointing its leader. New President Pro Tem Mike McGuire, of Sonoma County, has acknowledged – just acknowledged, nothing more – retail theft as a problem in commenting on the governor’s budget.
  • NFIB California encourages the new Senate President to follow the lead of his counterpart in the Assembly, Speaker Robert Rivas, who is serious about the issue and established a Select Committee on Retail Theft, which held its second meeting last Friday.
  • As we mentioned at the beginning, retail theft has recently consumed a lot of NFIB’s energies. At 18% of the membership, retailers are the biggest group, followed closely by construction (17%) and services (14%), but we took a NATO Article 5 view of the matter that an attack on one was an attack on all and charged forward.

And, What About Those Other Issues Important to All Small Businesses?

  • Glad you asked. We’re happy to present the first bill list of 2024, measures that NFIB is tracking in the Legislature. The list will be edited, altered, and refined as they progress.
  • Keep in mind that no bill is ever really dead until the last day of the legislative session (August 31). Under a process known as gut-and-amend or gut-and-replace, a bill that is happily leaping its legislative hurdlers can be carjacked, stripped of its content and replaced with language unrelated to its original intent. We saw this last year when Senate Bill 799, a measure dealing with prison visitations, was held up at gun point, robbed of all its purpose and replaced with language extending unemployment benefits to striking workers. This was done, shamelessly, to score points with striking entertainment industry workers. Fortunately, Governor Newsom vetoed SB 799.
  • Another way of getting around rules and deadlines is to make something part of the state budget by making it a trailer bill. We’ll see more of this soon, because a new state budget must be passed by midnight, June 15.
  • And, for the moment, we’ll leave aside that deadly and efficient mob hit called the ‘suspense file,’ where a bill can die without leaving any fingerprints, because there’s no recorded vote.

Raining Red Ink

From CalMatters’ Dan Walters

  • “Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a 2024-25 state budget less than a month ago, but its structural deficiencies – overly optimistic revenue projections and a reliance on short-term fixes that don’t address a long-term problem – are already surfacing.
  • “Most ominously, the budget’s revenue assumptions for the 2023-24 fiscal year, which still has nearly five months to run, are falling billions of dollars short …
  • “… Newsom’s relatively expansive assumptions about revenues and its reliance on short-term maneuvers, if adopted by the Legislature, could backfire badly by increasing deficits in the years following 2024-25. [Legislative Analyst Gabe] Petek has warned the Legislature that the state could see annual deficits in the $30 billion neighborhood for the remainder of Newsom’s governorship, which will end in 2027.”

Tip #4—No Public Displays of Affection

  • In preparation for Valentine’s Day, February 14, Elizabeth Milito, senior executive counsel for the NFIB Small Business Legal Center, offers five tips for navigating workplace romances.


  • February 16, deadline to introduce bills in the Legislature
  • February 20, last day to register for the March Primary Election
  • March 5, Primary Election Day
  • May 24 deadline for bills to pass their house of origin (Assembly, Senate)
  • June 27 deadline for ballot measure to qualify for November
  • August 31 deadline for bills to have passed Legislature and sent to governor
  • September 30 deadline for governor to sign bills into law
  • November 5, General Election Day


Highlights from NFIB Legislative Program Manager Caitlin Lanzara’s weekly report

  • On February 9, NFIB sent a letter in support of H.R. 906, the REPAIR Act. This legislation will require auto manufacturers to provide all relevant repair data to independent auto repair shops. There is currently an “agreement” in place between manufacturers and independent repair shops, but manufacturers face no repercussions if they stonewall or refuse to allow data access to the independent repair shops. Passing this bill will allow independent auto repair shops to have the peace of mind that they will always have access to the necessary repair data needed to fix America’s passenger vehicles. Small business owners can take action to ask their representative to support the REPAIR Act here.
  • On February 8, NFIB released Episode 28 of “The Small Business Rundown” podcast, featuring Small Business Legal Center Executive Director Elizabeth Milito and Vice President of Federal Government Relations Jeff Brabant discussing the new Beneficial Ownership Information reporting law that went into effect on Jan. 1.
  • On February 7, NFIB hosted a webinar titled, “Ask the CPA” – Special guest Micah Fraim, CPA, returns with his popular talk that answers the most frequently asked small business tax-related questions. Watch it here.

This Main Street Minute can also be read on the NFIB California webpage here. Next Main Street Minute February 19.


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