A Path Forward for California Women and Families
Here in California, two hard years of pandemic life have come on the heels of historic
inequity for women, families and people of color and an increasingly unaffordable,
untenable cost of living for working people.
We have the fifth largest economy in the world, and yet people are suffering at increasingly
alarming rates. As the state’s Chief Fiscal Officer, our next Controller has the opportunity
to level the playing field for people in this state.
As I’ve traveled the state over the last year, whether by plane or through zoom, I have been
asked by voters what the Controller does and why they should care about the position. The
answer is that the Controller has been described as the second most important statewide
constitutional officer after the Governor. She oversees the spending of every penny you,
your neighbors, your employer pay in state taxes. She should be financially experienced, a
vigilant watchdog over the public finances and should share your beliefs — because the way
our state spends its money reflects what we as a state value.
In my role as Chair of California’s State Board of Equalization, I serve as a watchdog for over
$80 billion in California taxes that directly fund our schools and local governments. I’ve cut
wasteful spending and launched a modernization initiative to ensure the administration of
our taxes is fair and effective.
As your Controller, I’m ready to rethink the details and align our budget priorities with our
values. California has always been the nation’s land of possibility. I’m ready to bring the
possibilities off the spreadsheet and into the homes of California’s families.
Delivering Fairness and Equity
California’s Commission on the Status of Women and Girls (CCSWG) points to a recent
study that shows that nearly 50% of Black and Latinx families are struggling to pay for basic
expenses like food, clothing and rent. Something in this state isn’t working for growing
numbers of Californians – and I’m ready to get to work to solve this systemic inequity.
As your next Controller, I’ll put my office’s weight behind the CCSWG’s Pay Equity Task
Force, helping Californians understand their rights and elevating the Task Force’s CA Pay
Equity Pledge, sponsoring business roundtables and holding them accountable for action.
As our office conducts its audits of state government agencies, I’ll ensure that the state is
meeting its promises and complying fully with the California Fair Pay Act – starting with a
review of the Controller’s office
Holding Corporations Accountable for the Promises They Make
A May 2020 study by the California Budget & Policy Center showed that California
corporations pay less than half of what they paid in taxes just a generation ago. Tax
breaks and credits are decided by legislators – but as Controller, I’m committed to
making sure that Californians are getting what we pay for.
California has long been the center of progress and ingenuity, in part because of one of
California’s biggest tax breaks: the Research and Development (R&D) tax credit, which
incentivizes companies to innovate and to do it here. As Controller, and a member of
the Franchise Tax Board, I’ll use the audit function to ensure that companies claiming
this credit are doing the work – and creating the quality jobs as part of the promised
California also spends millions of dollars in grant programs and training for corporations
to ensure that workers in California have the tools they need to succeed in today’s
economy. Programs like the Employment Training Panel offer California companies
tremendous resources – we need to make sure that the “good-paying, long-term jobs”
stay right here in California. I’ll make sure that the dollars invested go toward California
jobs and California companies.
Ensuring that Affordable Housing Programs Deliver
California’s Controller has the unique position of overseeing bond issuance and tax
credit allocation to infrastructure and housing opportunities in the state. I firmly believe
that our state government must act swiftly to help house those in need of a safe, secure
place to call home, and create new affordable housing solutions and wraparound
services that will help solve this problem in the long term.
There are a lot of good programs being implemented as part of the state’s Housing
Accelerator Program. New investments by Governor Newsom promise new funds to
break ground and deliver 2,300 new affordable housing units. That’s a good start. As
your Controller, I’ll make sure those funds deliver what they promised: housing solutions
to those who need them most.
Protecting Our Reproductive Freedom
For my entire adult life, I’ve been told that reproductive health care was at risk – Roe
v. Wade was on the verge of being overturned. It’s never been more true than today.
Across the nation, state legislatures are testing the waters, seeing just how far they can
go to make sure that reproductive freedom is restricted for Americans. Not here.
On the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco, I authored the Pregnancy Information
and Protection Ordinance, which prohibits health clinics in San Francisco from making
false or misleading statements about protected health care services. As your Controller,
I’ll use my constitutionally protected authority to audit government spending at
the state and local levels to ensure that every penny we spend upholds our state’s
commitment to reproductive freedom.
This year, the U.S. Supreme Court will be reviewing a direct challenge to the long-
standing legal protections of abortion under Roe v. Wade. Should the Court overturn
Roe, people in over half of the states in the country will lose access to abortion care.
California must be a leader to protect our fundamental freedoms.
I will go to the courts if necessary to make it clear to state agencies and local
governments that reproductive health care is protected in the state of California.
Women and pregnant people in the state of California have access to full reproductive
health care – from birth control to prenatal care to abortion services. I will do the same
with school districts and regional governments, ensuring that AB 329, which ensures
that our schools teach comprehensive sex ed – is implemented in our public school
curriculums, and that the information is medically accurate, in accordance with the
California Healthy Youth Act.
Taking Climate Action
California’s Controller occupies a critical role in building a climate action agenda for
our state. As a permanent member of the State Lands Commission and Chair in even-
numbered years, our Controller helps oversee our land, our water and the rights to the
natural resources of our state.
Overseeing land management, offshore drilling and mineral rights, the State Lands
Commission has a tremendous opportunity to set the strongest possible standards of
conservation. As Controller, I’m committed to working toward using our public landsfor renewable energy, ending our dependance on oil and gas. I will work hand-in-
hand to hold current lease holders to the highest possible standards of environmental
stewardship and seek opportunities to transition away from extraction policy.
The Controller’s audit function and role as a member of the California Public
Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and California State Teachers’ Retirement
System (CalSTRS) Boards grant additional opportunities to write a greener future for
our state. I will use the audit function to ensure that grant programs and spending
through programs, like those awarded through the California Energy Commission, meet
their end goal of advancing “the state’s transition to clean energy and transportation
through innovation, efficiency, and the development and deployment of advanced
technologies.” And, while California has led in leveraging our combined $570 billion
public pension portfolios (the two largest pension systems in the nation) for the
greater good, I’ll work to push the net-zero emissions target for the Climate Action 100
companies to 2040 – because our future can’t wait.
Raising the Standards for Affordable, Quality Health Care
The past two years have taught us just how critically important it is to have a strong,
accessible, affordable health care system. Raising the standards for health care and
mental health care while enforcing equitable access and increasing transparency in
costs is essential for improving the wellbeing of women and families in this state. As
your next Controller, I’m ready to leverage the strength of the office to do just that.
Membership on the CalPERS Board means the Controller has oversight of one of
the largest health benefits purchasers in the nation, covering California’s 1.4 million
current and retired state employees. I will leverage that purchasing power to increase
transparency and lower costs for Californians.
As a member of the California Health Facilities Financing Authority, I’ll work to increase
access to bond dollars and grant programs for nonprofit and public health facilities
providing critical care to Californians in need. In the midst of a crippling mental health
care crisis, I will create incentive programs to help these facilities access mental health
providers and staff to treat those in need. And I’ll make sure that the doctors, nursing
professionals and staff in these facilities have fair wages and transparent scheduling.