Hospitality’s Importance for California Economy Focus of CHLA’S Annual State Legislative Day

SACRAMENTO, CA – California Hotel & Lodging Association members, participating in its annual Legislative Day at the State Capitol on March 18, focused legislators on the important contributions that the hospitality industry makes to California’s economy.

“We’re here to ensure the voices of our members are heard as the legislature considers its work for 2015,” said Lynn S. Mohrfeld, CHLA President and CEO. “We are a core part of the state’s $117 billion tourism industry that provides jobs for more than a million Californians and generates nearly $10 billion in taxes. Any legislation that affects our industry needs to take that into consideration.”

CHLA drew attention to two major issues being considered in Sacramento that are important to the industry and to workers and local communities where they operate.

  • Wage Increases for Tipped Employees: AB669 proposes to change California law to acknowledge employees’ total taxable compensation in minimum wage calculations. AB 669 will preserve the current minimum wage for regularly tipped employees that earn the equivalent of $15 per hour and who are some of the most highly compensated in the lodging industry. This bill is designed to limit the fiscal impact of continued minimum wage increases for highly compensated workers, while allowing employers to use limited wage dollars to benefit other non-tipped employees.
  • Short-Term Rental Fairness: Online platforms that offer short-term rental units, such as Airbnb and VRBO, frequently support residential units in communities where it is illegal, ignoring zoning laws and the desires of neighborhoods and communities. It has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes that all others in the community must pay and that support vital services such as police, fire and hospitals.

“CHLA supports efforts by Sen. Mike McGuire and others to restore fairness to an industry where some competitors seem to believe the rules should not apply to them,” Mohrfeld said. “Simply because a company declares itself part of the ‘sharing economy’ doesn’t mean it can shirk from the law and from transparency.”