CalChamber Opposes Drug Price, Minimum Wage Initiatives

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The California Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors is reportedly opposed to three ballot measures that deal with drug prices and minimum wage.

In a statement, CalChamber announced that they are opposed to the California Drug Price Relief Act, which, if approved by voters, will prohibit the state government, as well as all of its programs, from paying more for prescription drugs than the lowest price paid for by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to the statement, the CalChamber board opposed the measure, because the board believes the initiative will increase health care premiums and out-of-pocket health care costs, by shifting the cost of prescription drugs from government purchasers to private payers, including employers.

According to the statement, the board believes the initiative ignores why the Department of Veterans Affairs is able to negotiate lower drug prices, and used the discounts enjoyed by the VA to set an artificial market cap.

According to the statement, CalChamber’s board also opposes the Raise California’s Wage and Paid Sick Days Act, and the The Fair Wage Act.

According to documents, the Raise California’s Wage and Paid Sick Days Act would set minimum wage, based on the size of the company. If approved by voters, companies with 26 or more employees will have to pay the following minimum wage:

  • $12 per hour, from July 1, 2017
  • $13.25 per hour, from July 1, 2018
  • $14.25 per hour, from July 1, 2019
  • $15 per hour, from July 1, 2020

According to documents, under this referendum, companies with 25 or less workers will have to pay for the following minimum wage:

  • $10.50 per hour, from July 1, 2017
  • $12 per hour, from July 1, 2018
  • $13.25 per hour, from July 1, 2019
  • $14.25 per hour, from July 1, 2020
  • $15 per hour, from July 1, 2021

Under the initiative, the minimum wage will then be adjusted to account for inflation, beginning July 1, 2022.

According to documents, The Fair Wage Act is similar to the Raise California’s Wage and Paid Sick Days Act, but will uniformly raise minimum wage by $1 per year, until it reaches $15 per hour in 2021, with subsequent adjustment to account for inflation. The initiative reportedly does not take into account the size of a company.

According to CalChamber’s statement, instituting automatic minimum wage adjustment by tying it to inflation creates a significant risk of raising the minimum wage, even when the economy is in a recession. In addition, the statement states that a $15 per hour minimum wage could result in major costs to the state, and return the state’s budget to annual deficits, citing Governor Jerry Brown’s budget for 2016-2017.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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