My priorities at the State Capitol are to:
Promote job creation and the innovation economy
Assembly District 22 runs from Genentech in the north to Oracle in the south. With this biotech/high-tech corridor, San Mateo County is the epicenter of the innovation economy that drives California. We must have a tax code and regulatory framework that nurtures the growth of these industries which create high-wage, high-skill jobs.
Enhance education and workforce development systems
Our Pre-14 public education system and CSU and UC systems must be funded adequately to give all of our children the chance to succeed in the new economy. I will use the knowledge gained over a decade on the San Mateo County Workforce Investment Board to craft new policies that streamline and target precious workforce training dollars to better prepare students and workers that need re-training for jobs in growth industries. This approach can help close the “skills gap” that is hampering both economic prosperity and wage growth.
Encourage environmentally sustainable regional planning
As a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, I am advocating for smart growth, transit-oriented developments to accommodate growth in the Bay Area through the “Plan Bay Area” regional sustainable communities strategy process. The preferred plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% for the region by 2035. I will work in the Legislature to further incentivize in-fill developments across the state, and ensure that transportation resources properly reward smart land-use decisions on the local level. I will also help “rebuild redevelopment” so local governments have new tools to create much needed affordable housing and promote economic development in and around mass transit so California may prosper while protecting our natural resources and open spaces.
Continue to balance the state budget in a fiscally-responsible manner
We need to address the boom-bust revenue cycles experienced in recent decades. The state budgeting process needs procedural and structural reform. I support a two-year budget cycle, performance-based budgeting, and a “pay-as-you-go” approach (so when taxes are cut, or spending increases, the source of funds to offset those changes is identified) to bring more transparency and restore the public trust in California’s budgeting process.
We must institute, when times are good and a surplus is restored, a mandatory rainy-day fund so we may better ride out the bad times (like recent budget cycles).
I will work to ensure that any additional cuts made do not fall upon those most vulnerable in our society. I believe we should close unnecessary or ineffective tax loopholes while reforming the tax code and regulations to incentivize business expansion in the state.
We must eventually reinstitute the majority vote budget in full, for both expenditures AND revenues, so democracy and accountability may be restored in the budgeting process.
Work in a bi-partisan way to reform state goverance
I will continue to reach out across the party aisle to establish bi-partisan working relationships, to restore some consensus building and the policy-making functions of the Legislature. Members are currently allowed to carry up to 40 bills per cycle, but too often these bills take up significant staff time while only superficially dealing with California’s problems. I will advocate for reducing the maximum number of bills allowed, which will force legislators to focus on only the most critical of issues. I support reform of the initiative process and am a voice for reform from inside the Capitol to make sure the efforts of outside groups like the Public Policy Institute of California, California Forward, and the Think Long Committee may have their reform ideas heard and acted upon in the Legislature. I am also an advocate for intergovernmental reforms, including modifying the State-Local Fiscal Relationship by restoring fiscal authority and autonomy to cities, counties, and school districts where the public can more closely monitor and influence governing choices.
Reduce our Debt for Future Generations
I support pension reform that puts the system back on solid footing and restores confidence and trust in this critical retirement system for state employees. I support honoring existing contracts, while making changes so this and future generations aren’t saddled with debt and public employees can have peace of mind that their pensions and the state’s finances are secure. It is in everyone’s interest, state workers and state taxpayers alike, to proactively reform our pension system to avoid a destructive ballot measure on the issue. We must also take a hard look at California’s unsustainable debt structure. Debt service is an increasing portion of California’s annual operating budget, and is crowding out critical funding for education, public safety, and social safety net programs and services. This is not a liberal or conservative issue, but rather one of generational equity and stewardship.