CAPITOL BUSINESS BEAT
By Marc Lifsher
September 22, 2013, 8:08 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — The California Chamber of Commerce may have the Capitol’s deadliest aim when it comes to shooting down bills that its members don’t like.

The giant lobbying group, which represents 13,500 large and small employers, posted a near-perfect score in efforts this year to defeat legislation it labeled “job killers.”

This year, the chamber went gunning for 38 such bills. Only one made it through both the Democratic Party-dominated Legislature and landed on the governor’s desk.

The one significant survivor was a 25% hike in the state’s minimum wage by 2016 — a proposal that business groups had successfully fought for years. But it became a lost cause for the chamber when Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown announced he would sign the measure.

Organized labor figures its success with the minimum-wage increase far outweighs the chamber’s efforts to kill bills.

It’s easier to win battles by playing defense, argued Steve Smith, a spokesman for the California Labor Federation, an AFL-CIO umbrella group.

“We feel very good about what this Legislature delivered for workers,” he said.

Business victories included the death of an anti-pollution bill by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles). The chamber said it would discourage investment in some low-income areas by doubling fines and penalties for air pollution and toxic substances discharges. The bill stalled on the Senate floor.

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