What to Know Before You Vote 2018: The California Treasurer Candidates

The California State Treasurer acts as the chief investment officer, banker and financier of the state government. The California State Treasurer’s Office states the office finances different public work programs as well as disperses money per approval of the California State Controller’s office. The elected official sits on various boards and commissions, including the boards of pension funds for individuals employed by the state. One term is four years, and candidates may run for re-election for a second term.

The candidates for the 2018 California State Treasurer include Democrat Fiona Ma and Republican Greg Conlon. Both candidates will be new to the position, as current California State Treasurer John Chiang announced his bid for governor.

In 2017, The Los Angeles Times reported that current State Treasurer Chiang introduced legislation intended to lower costs and aid students with large debt. As of 2014, it was found that 68.4% of Chaffey’s student population received financial assistance.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Fiona Ma currently sits on the California State Board of Equalization, which administers and oversees various tax programs such as property tax and sales tax. With a background in accounting, Ma has served on multiple committees including the Higher Education Committee of the California General Assembly from 2009 to 2010. From 2006 to 2012, she represented District 12 on the California State Assembly as well as serving as California State Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore.

Ma’s campaign has called for investments in affordable healthcare, housing, and education. Endorsers of Ma include California State Treasurer John Chiang and California Democratic Party. On her official campaign website, Ma has a large list of different endorsers such as Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and California School Employees Association.

For students enrolled or in pursuit of higher education, Ma supported the state-administered 529 college savings plan known as ScholarShare. The California Department of Human Resources describes the program as an opportunity for families to use after-tax contributions to save for college, and earnings will be tax-deferred and disbursed.

Greg Conlon also has a background in accounting, and became a partner in an international accounting firm. He has served on the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates California’s utility infrastructure and services like electric gas, water and rail transit. Conlon has also served on the California Transportation Commission, which is responsible for distributing funds for highway construction or transportation improvements. He ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2012 and in 2016.

The California Republican Party and former U.S. Secretary of Treasury George P. Shultz endorsed Conlon, as stated in The California Voter Guide.

Some of Conlon’s primary focuses, if elected State Treasurer, includes pension reform to address the $300 billion unfunded pension liabilities and to eliminate the $800 minimum state income tax to help encourage start-up companies.

On Conlon’s official campaign website, he addresses the underfunding of the University of California and California State University university systems, noting that K-12 and community colleges received increased funding from the state through Prop 98. In an effort to secure sufficient funding, UC and CSU schools admit out-of-state students who pay higher tuition fees than California residents. Conlon intends to increase funding so more California residents are accepted into these schools.

Voting for the 2018 Midterm Elections is Nov. 6th, and polls close at 8 p.m.


California State Treasurer's Office

The Los Angeles Times on Fiona Ma and The Los Angeles Times on Student Debt

California Department of Human Resources

California Voter Guide

Chaffey College Fact Book