Prop

Prop 22 Asks: Should App-Based Drivers Be Classified as Contractors Instead of Employees? (Transcript)

Sam Harnett [00:05:17] So that means if you’re driving for Uber and let’s say you don’t get a ride for an hour, well, you don’t get paid for that hour of driving around even though you were working. So that’s like a really important kind of distinction. And I guess, the thing with Proposition 22 is, it’s all – it all gets very complicated in the details, but basically, if you look at the package, it’s going to guarantee a slight improvement to the benefits and protections for the contractors, but it’s far short of what you’d get in employee status.

Olivia Allen-Price [00:05:42] Could other industries be impacted if this passes.

Sam Harnett [00:05:45] It creates this sort of third category that you can bet that corporations are going to go for because they can see a way to make money. And if you remember, Uber and Lyft, you know, started the gig app trend, but Instacart, PostMates, DoorDash, all these companies followed Uber and Lyft by creating apps to create more jobs that were contractor and not employee. So, you can bet that a lot of other industries, if they can figure out a way, you know, if trucking can get on an app, you know, maybe there’s a way to have warehouse workers work through an app. This opens the door for more companies to try to find ways to fit this model because contractors are way cheaper than employees.

Olivia Allen-Price [00:06:24] Now, what are these companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, DoorDash, etc., what are their arguments for why people should vote for 22?

Sam Harnett [00:06:32] I’d say their primary argument is: This will allow us to keep operating as we were operating. It’s basically a pitch to consumers saying, hey, you know, you liked

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Prop. 22 would create new kind of independent contractor

Proposition 22, a hotly contested ballot measure, would create a new profession under California law consisting of app-based rideshare and delivery drivers with its own set of labor rules. Much of the campaign rhetoric has focused on competing claims about what most drivers want. Supporters and opponents also have argued over the value of protections the measure would provide to customers of these services.

This column focuses on the new independent contractor framework the measure would create and on the compensation and benefits app-based drivers would receive.

Current law

Under AB 2257, the successor to AB 5, a worker is presumed to be an employee unless the hiring entity can show the worker is: (A) relatively free of the hiring entity’s control; (B) performing work outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business, and (C) customarily and regularly doing work, in an established trade, occupation, or business, of the same kind being performed for the hiring entity.

AB 2257 excludes from the ABC test certain professional and business relationships, generally subjecting those relationships to the more flexible Borello test which preceded the California Supreme Court’s 2018 Dynamex ruling and enactment of AB 5 the following year. The Borello test focuses mainly on the degree of control the hiring entity has over how the work is performed. It also uses such additional factors as whether the worker uses his own tools in the work to determine whether the worker is a bona fide independent contractor.

What Prop. 22 would do

Prop. 22 would not insert app-based drivers as an additional exception to the ABC test in AB 2257. Instead, “[n]otwithstanding any other provision of law,” the proposal would classify any such driver as an independent contractor “with respect to his or her relationship with a network company” if the network

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California Farm Bureau Fears Improvements Like Barns, and Even Trees, Will Be Taxed Under Prop. 15

The most contentious issue California voters face on Nov. 3 is not the Presidential election—polls show voters are firmly decided. Rather, it is a tax measure, Proposition 15, which has heavy hitters for it and against it.

Proposition 15 would amend the California constitution to change the way commercial and industrial real estate is taxed, basing it on current market value. Presently, all property, residential and commercial, is taxed based on its last purchase price.

The measure, sometimes called the “split-roll initiative,” excludes commercial agricultural land and commercial properties worth less than $3 million from being reassessed at current market value. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s office estimates that Proposition 15 could bring between $6.5 billion to $11.5 billion per year when it is fully implemented in 2025.

Sixty percent of the revenues from Proposition 15 (after it pays the state and local tax assessors for the costs of implementing the measure) would go to cities, counties and special districts, 40 percent to schools and community colleges. The total for each would depend on the amount of new taxes paid by commercial properties in each community.

Supporters include the Democratic Party; Green Party; Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, (who are ahead of President Trump by about 30 points in the California polls); Gov. Gavin Newsom; the California Teachers Association (a major donor) and most labor unions. 

Opponents include the California Farm Bureau Federation; the California Republican Party; the California Chamber of Commerce (also the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Black Chamber of Commerce, American Indian Chamber of Commerce and Asian-Pacific Chamber of Commerce); the California Small Business Association; the California State Conference of the NAACP and several veterans’ organizations.

Lenny Goldberg, long-time executive director of the California Tax Reform Association and Proposition 15’s main architect,

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