By Miriam Raftery
March 7, 2020 (Sacramento)-- Musicians, artists and nonprofit arts groups are among the hardest hit by AB 5, the new law authored by Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego) requiring that many freelancers be reclassified as employees – a prohibitively costly mandate for many small nonprofits. Now Gonzalez-Fletcher is offering some help, though it amounts to a Bandaid approach to the wounds inflicted on the arts and music industries by the new law.
Last month, Gonzalez-Fletcher along with Assemblymember Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) asked for $20 million to be added to the state budget for the California Arts Council to help small community nonprofit arts groups comply with AB 5, but only in the first year. But there is no guarantee of funding for applicants, nor any help to meet ongoing enormous costs of complying in future years--such as paying unemployment insurance, workman’s compensation and other annual costs for all employees, as well as added payroll deduction and accounting costs.
Moreover, the measure only helps nonprofits able to win grants and show good-faith effort to comply with AB 5. Even then, the measure offers no help to meet ongoing high costs, nor does it offer any assistance to for-profit companies nor to individual artists or musicians losing work due to the new law.