For more than a decade, John Chiang has been making history as the first Asian-American to lead California’s top finance departments – first as state controller and now as state treasurer.
Chiang visited Cal State Fullerton’s Irvine campus on Oct. 26 to discuss his vision for the nation’s largest economy, the last in a series of three lectures by California gubernatorial candidates hosted by Mihaylo College’s office of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and sponsored by the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Supporting Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Recognizing that preparing the state’s 19 million-member workforce for the jobs of the future is a top priority, Chiang proposes forging partnerships with the private sector and supporting entrepreneurship.
“I want to also invest in the next generation of jobs. We have to work together, listening to private sector leadership. A lot of the work we do puts a roadblock in the progress of business: [too many] regulations, too many fees,” he said. “I want to create an Amazon.com function where my staff can touch base with the treasurer’s office. We tell you what programs, incentives that we have to help you and walk you through that program. I want to do that for the entire state. So when we’re competing against Texas, China, we can make it easier for business to understand what the state of California has to offer individual businesses. This is a positive approach where you know you’ll be successful in the state of California.”
“I want incubators and accelerators throughout the state of California,” he said. “You have bright enterprising individuals who we need to make sure we cultivate and develop through mature stages, because when you’re successful the state of California is successful. When you’re successful, you change the trajectory of your family, this community. We are in this together. I want the state to make that commitment going forward.”
Putting the California Dream Within Reach
Chiang, the son of immigrants from Taiwan, knows firsthand that accessible and affordable education has been integral in making California and the United States the envy of the world.
“My family had to leave their culture, their friends to receive a better education. My mom would use flashcards to learn math, ABCs, to teach my sister, who I thought was too young for that, but my mom understood that early cognitive development started at a young age,” he said.
“Early education and health care are needed to assist families; programing around schools for low-income families. It’s important for higher education to find sustainable resources for funding. It’s important for the state to pay fully for childhood education and debt-free community college.”
On the state’s budget, Chiang believes in transparency and empowering California’s citizenry.
“You have to be honest with your budget: transparency, accessibility, accountability for the government’s financial information. The power ought to be in the people’s hands – help make decisions, influence policy makers,” he said. “We have $1.5 trillion of borrowing in the state of California. I would have an official in the office that would make sure that the findings were in fact followed up on.”
Regarding California’s housing affordability crisis, Chiang noted that streamlining regulations for new construction, while recognizing the diversity of the state’s communities, would be critical in improving accessibility.
“For instance, we want a clean environment and water reduction. It doesn’t make sense to have one set of rules [when] our state is so diverse. For instance, if you live in Crystal Cove versus Palm Springs, the energy standards shouldn’t be the same. What may work in Palms Springs may not work in Torrance.”
On health care, Chiang noted that the Affordable Care Act has made significant progress in insuring Californians, but much more needs to be done. “I support a single payer, and we need to further develop what that single payer looks like,” he said. “With the Affordable Care Act, we reduce the number of uninsured in this state by half and get greater cost efficiencies that we can cover. We need to have a discussion on how [many] services we’re going to cover and how we’re going to pay for it.”
SBDC Connects Business and Policymakers
Chiang’s visit is the final in a series of visits by gubernatorial candidates to the Cal State Fullerton campus, part of the SBDC’s commitment to connect businesspeople with policymakers. Please see our earlier blog posts, covering the visits of Antonio Villaraigosa, the former mayor of Los Angeles, and Gavin Newsom, the current lieutenant governor and former mayor of San Francisco.
The SBDC is a critical link between Mihaylo College and the Southern California community. Stop by the SBDC on Cal State Fullerton’s campus in SGMH 4157 or online to connect with their services.