California’s Anti-Gig-Worker Law Is Also a State Money Grab

California Assembly Bill 5, written by San Diego Democrat Lorena Gonzalez, limits freelance writers to 35 submissions per publication, per year, a direct attack on the writers’ ability to make a living and an infringement of their right to free association and free speech. The measure also restricts the independence of those who drive for ridesharing companies and musicians who thrive in the “gig economy.” On top of all that, the measure also shapes up as a money grab. 

Some California music stores rent out rooms to independent music teachers who get paid directly by their students. According to one music store owner, AB 5 ignores this reality and seeks to treat the teachers as employees of the store. This will be enforced retroactively and fines could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Music stores are competing with online vendors, and AB 5 will surely put many out of business. One music store owner told this writer AB was the worst bill ever to emerge from the California legislature, and he has a strong case.

Assemblywoman Gonzalez, an attorney, is not qualified to judge the way people choose to earn a living. Her AB 5 is a frontal assault on the free market and voluntary exchange. The measure harms the ability of writers, photographers, and musicians to earn a living. On top of that, AB 5 is a money grab, in a state that already imposes the nation’s highest income and sales taxes. AB 5 is evidence that government greed is never satisfied.

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at The Daily Caller.
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