Small business thanks Gov. Sandoval for three vetoes |

Small business thanks Gov. Sandoval for three vetoes

CARSON CITY — The state's leading small-business association today praised Gov. Brian Sandoval for vetoing three bills (Senate Bills 106, 196, and 397) that would have put Main Street, mom-and-pop enterprises in harm's way of needlessly additional, solvency threatening costs.

"Governor Sandoval is proving to be a friend of small businesses this session," said Randi Thompson, Nevada state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. "Given the support so many legislators blindly give to sweet-sounding initiatives, such as 'living wage,' 'paid leave,' and 'equal pay,' you could understand any governor's temptation to do the politically advantageous thing and sign them, but Governor Sandoval saw them for what they truly were: Costly, financially threatening, job-killing bills that would have accomplished nothing their titles advertised."

Thompson chafed at the self-righteous regard proponents of all three measures have of themselves. "I've got great news for everybody. The vast majority of employers already offer leave time, discrimination in compensation was outlawed by the Equal Pay Act of 1963, and the minimum wage will always be an entry-level wage, increases to which lift no one out of poverty."

The National Federation of Independent Business, America's voice of small business, with 325,000 dues-paying members, including 1,500 in Nevada, recommended employers and parents take stock of the following:

• NFIB strongly supports equal employment opportunity and appropriate enforcement of the federal Equal Pay Act, which protects all employees, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Federal and state law already prohibit gender discrimination, including workplace compensation and benefits, but so-called “equal pay” legislation, such as Senate Bill 397, was little more than an increase in penalties for behavior that is already against the law. While increasing penalties may enrich a few attorneys who file questionable lawsuits against numerous small-business owners who don’t have the resources to fight frivolous cases in court, they will do little or nothing to improve wages for women.

• The problem with a state mandate on paid leave, according to Thompson, is its imposition of unnecessary limitations. "Unlike the people who run large entities, small-business owners know each of their employees personally, and in coordination with them, are better able to design leave time on a case-by-case basis, providing the employee what he or she needs in a way the business can afford. Mandatory paid leave assumes one size fits all. What works in one company could be detrimental for the next. The rigid nature of these programs often has a negative impact on employee morale." In the hearing on Senate Bill 196, the sponsor responded to criticism that the bill did not go far enough to help workers by saying the 24 hours was just an "incremental step." According to Thompson, "That was our biggest concern, that SB196 was a camel's nose under the tent to get paid leave on the books. Then, in future sessions they would increase the burden on Nevada businesses. There's a good reason why only seven states mandate paid leave: The other 43 know that such requirements are too much of a burden to the private sector."

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• No greater public policy myths exist than the ones attaching themselves to the minimum wage, according to Thompson. The minimum wage is earned by just 2.7 percent of the nation's workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and most of them "tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up about half of those paid the federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers (ages 16 to 19) paid by the hour, about 10 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with about 2 percent of workers age 25 and older.” In short, the minimum wage is an entry level wage earned mostly by teenagers and young adults still living at home. "Increasing the minimum wage has only one effect—the elimination of entry-level jobs," said Thompson. "Despite the evidence to the contrary, proponents of ever-increasing rates wrongly argue that they're needed to lift people out of poverty, even though they have scant to no evidence to back it up. Calling it a 'living wage' is just as misleading. On behalf of the youth of Nevada looking to place their foot on the first rung up the ladder of their working life, we thank Governor Sandoval for doing the right thing by vetoing Senate Bill 106."

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