Statement from Board Member Fiona Ma on Governor's May Revision Budget Proposal
Sacramento – State Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, CPA released the following statement in reaction to the Governor's 2017-18 Revised Budget Proposal:
"As an experienced CPA, I commend the Governor for his prudent approach to the budget; carefully structuring its rainy day fund to save for the uncertain years coming ahead. While we have $19 billion more than we did eight years ago, the volatile federal climate makes it unwise to spend more at this time. In conjunction with being ready for whatever this federal administration throws at us, I stand with the Attorney General's proactive approach to reserve $6 million of the General Fund to fight for California's rights.
A major component of the Budget is always restructuring, and this year is no different. I have been spearheading the need for transparency and change in the BOE since I was elected as a Board Member in 2014. The letter I sent to Governor Brown in March highlighted the need for real, tangible structural reform; therefore, I was happy to hear the Governor state he will work with the Legislature on a way to implement this change. As a member of the BOE who has valuable insight to offer to the restructuring process, I look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to put forward a pragmatic and transparent reform package to restore accountability and public trust.
With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act looming over us, millions will lose their health care coverage. It's more urgent than ever for California to counteract the cuts to our most vulnerable constituents – elderly, children, and the poor. It's vital we continue to lead the way for the rest of the nation by building up our safety net to protect Californians from the billions we'll lose in federal funding with this deplorable healthcare "reform."
Another way to ensure we get more money and stability to those that need it most is by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The 2015 Budget enacted California's first EITC. Credit usage is estimated to be at $200 million for tax year 2016, and is expected to be the same in 2017-18. While this is a good start, right now the credit only helps families that make $14,000 or less. That is why I am proud to sponsor AB 225, to expand this important tax credit to full-time minimum wage earners to get money back into the pockets of our constituents to further stimulate California's economy through the purchase of taxable goods that are necessary for working class families to thrive.
I look forward to being a part of this legislative process to put the strongest and most pragmatic budget proposal forward, and urge legislators on both sides of the aisle to work together to create the best solution for California's budgetary needs. It's been said in the past, and I believe it rings true here now more than ever: As goes California so goes the Nation."
Board Member Fiona Ma, CPA, was elected to the Board of Equalization in November 2014, to represent the Second Equalization District. She represents 9.5 million residents in many of California's coastal counties, from Del Norte to Santa Barbara, including the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Ms. Ma served in the California State Assembly from 2006 to 2012, serving as the first Asian woman Assembly Speaker pro Tempore since 1850. While in the Assembly, Ms. Ma focused on improving California, authoring legislation to create jobs and grow the state's economy. As an Executive Board Member of the National Conference of State Legislators, she worked to keep California's economy competitive with other states. Ms. Ma has been a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in California since 1992. For more information, visit Board Member Ma's website.
The five-member California State Board of Equalization (BOE) is a publicly elected tax board. The BOE collects $60.5 billion annually in taxes and fees supporting state and local government services. It hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit the California Tax Service Center.
Note: This news release may discuss complex tax laws and concepts. It may not address every situation, and is not considered written advice under Revenue and Taxation Code section 6596. Changes in law or regulations may have occurred since the time this news release was written. If there is a conflict between the text of this news release and the law, decisions will be based upon the law and not this news release. For specific help, please contact the BOE at 1-800-400-7115.