The position of California state controller is up for election and is being sought after by candidates Betty Yee and Konstantinos Roditis.
The state controller is the chief financial officer for the state of California, responsible for the accountability and disbursement of the state’s financial resources. The controller also independently audits government agencies that spend state funds, and administers the payroll system for state government employees and California State University employees, according to the state controller website.
Incumbent Yee is running for re-election, campaigning on her commitment to addressing economic changes that she expects Californians to face in the coming years. Yee has centered her platform on four points: developing a fair tax structure, ensuring retirement security, combating climate change and providing affordable housing.
“One thing that keeps me up at night is that we won’t have enough money to pay our bills one day,” Yee said. “We will experience economic disrupters that will create pressures and present challenges to us.”
Roditis’ campaign platform consists of three issues, which Roditis names on his website: “Defund the High-Speed Rail,” “Stop the Controller’s $120 billion tax” and “Yes on 6: Repeal the Gas Tax Hike.”
“We advise the governor and other officials to help the people who live in California,” Roditis said. “Because the high-speed rail is violating Proposition 1A, I could hold funding until the project comes back on track or until they come up with something else, which I am in favor of.”
According to Yee, she has been in public service for 35 years and she says the work she has done so far as controller makes her “imminently qualified” for re-election.
Yee said, if re-elected, she will address the state’s fiscal resources while aiding its transition to clean, renewable energy.
“I’ve been able to get all the bills paid without external borrowing,” Yee said. “And through independent audit, I’ve found $4 billion of unauthorized money and wasted dollars.”
Roditis’ experience consists of being the president and CEO of multiple businesses, a city commissioner for Anaheim, and both treasurer and member of the board of directors for the Anaheim Performing Arts Center Foundation.
Roditis also said he opposes the gas tax because it is a “regressive” tax, and added that the California government needs to use its money wisely before imposing such a tax. He also opposes Yee’s “sales tax on labor” that will generate $120 billion, according to the report on the plan.
“That includes health care and child care and going to see a movie and getting your hair cut,” Roditis said. “When is enough enough? This will crush the poor and working class if it gets implemented. We need someone in office who is actually going to make life actually affordable for Californians.”
Yee’s platform on improving tax structures advocates for a “thoughtful initiative that recognizes that every Californian is stakeholder in reform,” according to her website.
Yee is endorsed by the California Democratic Party and Gov. Jerry Brown, among other public officials and organizations that can be found on her campaign website.
Roditis is endorsed by the California Republican Party and the California Taxpayers Union. A full list of endorsements can be found on his campaign website.
Though Roditis and Yee say they will take different approaches to handling California’s finances if they are elected — with Roditis focusing on opposing specific legislation and Yee focusing on responding to broader changes and patterns in California’s economy — both candidates emphasize their commitment to fulfilling the role as controller as effectively as possible.