On Our Side for Quality Public Education
Betty is the proud product of public schools and succeeded thanks to the quality of her teachers. She knows cuts to education funding and financial aid as well as tuition increases push the American Dream further out of reach for families. As Controller, Betty believes we must ensure all California students are prepared to thrive in an ever-changing 21st century economy. That means fully funding our public schools and making sure vocational education, early education, after school programs, and special needs instruction are top priorities in our state budget; and working to ensure that college is affordable and that anyone who wants to attend college is not saddled with mounds of debt upon completion. Betty serves on the California Educational Facilities Authority, California’s State Teacher Retirement System, and Higher Education Facilities Finance Committee where she fights every day for California’s education system and its teachers.
On Our Side for Growing California’s Economy
California is the world’s 5th largest economy. Creating good paying jobs and opportunities for all is Job #1 for California. As Controller, Betty is doing her part to build a working economy that is based on equity, sustainability, and security. She knows we must foster an economy that supports entrepreneurship and small businesses. Betty understands the strength of California’s economy lies in its diversity – the diversity of its people, industries, and geography. As the state’s CFO, she is leading the charge to ensure our public education system including our community colleges and four-year universities meet the future demands of employers. Betty will invest in apprenticeship-modeled programs that will train and retrain Californians for good-paying jobs in the new and growing industries of our 21st-century economy.
On Our Side for Delivering Economic Equality
Increasing inequality of opportunity and income is dividing California between the haves and the have-nots. This is unjust and unacceptable in one of the wealthiest states in the nation and one of the largest economies in the world. As Controller, Betty has scrutinized executive compensation and other corporate policies of the companies in which our public pension funds invest to ensure they are not at risk of lowering returns that in turn could create higher burdens on lower-wage workers. Betty is working to make sure all Californians have access to opportunities for work, affordable housing, and a high-quality education, including the availability of broadband, so they can move forward and have a shot at achieving financial security.
On Our Side for A More Fair Tax Structure
To ensure the security and stability of California’s budget through good times and economic downturns, Betty recognizes that we must rethink our outdated and inefficient tax structure. Betty knows that comprehensive tax reform is critical and must be a thoughtful initiative that recognizes that every Californian is a stakeholder in reform. As Controller, Betty is working to develop a fairer tax structure that supports job creation through economic development and sustains economic growth, and at the same time, facilitates sound fiscal management. Within her first four months of taking office, Betty created a Council of Economic Advisors from a variety of backgrounds in academics, labor, business, economics, and government to examine myriad ideas for comprehensive tax reform in California and the potential impacts of various tax reform proposals. In an economy where automation, artificial intelligence, and robotics are becoming increasingly common, Betty believes California’s tax system must continue to support — now and in the future — the development of our human capital.
On Our Side for Retirement Security
California is no exception when it comes to facing a crisis in retirement security, as more of the population depends on Social Security as their sole source of retirement income. With shifting demographics as baby boomers age, Betty is focused on addressing the mounting costs of health care and long-term care for families as well as the state. On the boards of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), Betty is focused on keeping the pension funds on sound footing so they continue to deliver the promised retirement and health benefits for members who have contributed their hard-earned dollars to these funds. On the CalSavers board, she is working on designing a retirement savings plan for the approximately 7 million private-sector workers who lack employer-sponsored retirement plans. Betty understands that guaranteeing retirement security goes beyond pension security alone, and that it also must address the ever-rising costs of housing, health care, long-term care, utilities, and other needs for living in retirement.
On Our Side for Housing Affordability
For decades, the financial security of Californians relied on the value of their homes; but more and more homeownership in the state has moved farther out of reach for too many California families. Affordable housing in California– a state where demand consistently outpaces supply — now not only includes meeting the demands of low-income Californians, but also workforce housing needs and a growing number of homeless in California. As Controller, Betty is advocating for increasing affordable housing tax credits that leverage other sources of financing for affordable housing, examine ways to reduce the costs of building affordable housing while at the same time ensuring the sustainability of these units, and seek ways to make the finite financial resources work smarter to meet California’s affordable housing needs. Betty serves on several important boards that oversee bond issuance and tax credit allocation to finance major infrastructure improvements in California, including housing, health and educational facilities, and major transportation projects. Foreseeing that there will be insufficient funds to build adequate housing to meet the demand, Betty is dedicated to creating incentives that will increase the number of affordable housing units, support the rehabilitation of existing units, drive down the cost of housing, and foster more integrated communities.
On Our Side for Accountability to Taxpayers
Under Betty’s leadership, the Controller’s audit team reviews claims for payment from state agencies and departments. The team also audits the internal controls of state agencies and local governments, which under Betty’s leadership, has uncovered over $4 billion in misuse of taxpayer funds. The Controller’s financial reporting team prepares the annual financial statements for the State of California that have earned numerous awards for their accuracy and integrity. And to help Californians learn more about the spending and accounting of taxpayer dollars at the state and local level, Betty’s team introduced three easy-to-use databases, including the Government Compensation in California (GCC) database. The CC database includes pay information for public employee positions in cities, counties, special districts, state agencies, Superior Courts, First 5 Commissions, Fairs and Expositions, K-12 education providers, University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, legislators, and state elected officials.
On Our Side for Full Participation by Women in Our Economy
Betty strongly advocates for policies that foster full participation of women in our economy — from the availability, accessibility, and affordability of quality family planning and reproductive health services, child care, elder care, family leave policies, and safe workplaces free of harassment to supporting more women in decision-making leadership roles in elected office and in the corporate boardroom. Women significantly shape our national economy, making up 47% of the nation’s workers and contributing $7.6 trillion annually to the national gross domestic product. Investing in women’s employment and gender pay parity has a multiplier effect because women reinvest a greater share of their earnings in their families and communities than do men. Betty sponsored legislation recently signed into law the requirement that employers with 5 or more employees provide sexual harassment training to all employees: what constitutes sexual harassment, how to report it, and resources available to assist employees. Moreover, her office has compiled resources to help women and families become financially fit with their personal finances: from opening a first bank account, entering or re-entering the workforce, or planning for a long-term savings goal to help women in California be prepared to succeed financially.
On Our Side for Access to Affordable Health Care
While it is the Controller’s job is to safeguard and plan for the state’s fiscal health, Betty is also laser-focused on the financial security of all Californians. As rising health care costs have eaten away at a greater percentage of household budgets, Californians have felt the sting of both the costs and lack of accessibility to quality health care. Furthermore, as the job market continues to shift away from long-term, full-time positions, toward short-term, part-time positions, contract work, and self-employment, fewer workers will be able to get the health care they need through employers. Betty believes that California and the nation must eventually move to a single-payer/Medicare for All health care system that reduces costs and ensures quality care. As Controller, Betty is a member of the California Health Facilities Financing Authority, which helps nonprofit and public health facilities cut their costs and promote increased health access and cost containment with tax-exempt bond, low-cost loan, and direct grant programs.
On Our Side for Protecting California’s Environment and Fighting Climate Change
As chair and a member of the State Lands Commission, Betty acted to decommission California’s only-remaining nuclear power plant and led the dismantling of the state’s last oil platform in the Santa Barbara Channel. She is fighting to protect public access to public beaches and waterways. She works closely with ports to improve the air quality of surrounding communities and has strengthened requirements for marine terminal operators who use state waterways to transport their crude oil to market. On the Commission, Betty led the way to unanimously outlaw any new drilling off the California coast. Betty will never stop speaking out as one of California’s strongest voices in the fight to combat climate change. She’s actively working to accelerate the transition to renewable energy through low-carbon investments, corporate engagement, and policy advocacy related to climate change. Betty has served as California’s representative at global investor summits around the world, as well as the One Planet Summit at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron.
On Our Side for Immigrant Rights
Betty supports a clear path to citizenship so immigrants have a fair shot at achieving their goals like her family did, through hard work and determination. Her late father, an immigrant from China, was a World War II veteran who served with honor in the U. S. Army. Undocumented immigrant labor contributes more than $180 billion dollars a year to our economy, in industries such as agriculture, restaurants, hotels, construction, and caregiving. These workers pay taxes as consumers. California has created pathways to support opportunities for undocumented workers by allowing them to apply for drivers’ licenses; undocumented students by allowing them to pay in-state, resident tuition at our public colleges and universities; and children of undocumented parents to receive health care. Betty supports these students and regards them as our future scientists, innovators, and leaders. Betty believes every Californian, regardless of legal status, deserves to be treated with respect everywhere, including workplaces, schools, and in our communities.