When a Laboratory of Democracy Goes Awry

The San Francisco Chronicle reports, “On Feb. 5, San Francisco will become the first city in the country to require all businesses to provide paid sick leave to their employees — full- and part-time employees, permanent workers and temps.”

Some small-business owners say that the sick leave law by itself isn’t a problem: It’s the combination of sick leave with other city mandates. San Francisco’s minimum wage just rose to $9.14, which is higher than the statewide minimum of $7.50. The city levies a 1.5 percent tax on businesses with payrolls over $166,667. And in July, San Francisco will start phasing in a new requirement that companies with 20 or more workers spend at least $1.11 per hour per employee on health coverage. [Hat tip: Ted Frank at Point of Law]

John Fund of the Wall Street Journal analyzes Gov. Schwarzenegger’s universal health care plan:

Last November, Gov. Schwarzenegger won landslide re-election in part by winning 91% of Republicans with an ironclad pledge not to raise taxes. He pounded Phil Angelides, his Democratic opponent, for wanting to raise taxes by $7 billion to pay for universal health care. But now the estimated cost of the Schwarzenegger plan to cover California’s uninsured, including two million illegal aliens, is $12 billion. State subsidies for people to buy insurance will extend to those earning up to $50,000 a year, more than California’s median income. “He’s creating a welfare state where more than half the people are in the wagon being pulled than outside the wagon pulling,” says one health-care analyst.

As bad as the policy implications are, the governor’s plan may be fatally flawed, politically. He insists it doesn’t raise taxes, despite billions in new charges on doctors, hospitals and employers. He prefers to call the new revenue “in-lieu fees” and “coverage dividends.”

The Empire Center for New York State Policy has issued a new research bulletin, assessing “out-migration” from the states from 2005-2006. The biggest losers in population? Hurricane-ravaged Louisiana. New York (high taxes, etc.)

And, No. 1: California, losing 287,000 residents who moved away from the Golden State.

Or fled a hostile business environment, as the case may be.