“I’m running for Controller to ensure our government reflects the values of the people of California and increases prosperity, by managing our finances smartly, efficiently and effectively,” he said.
Current state Controller John Chiang will be term-limited out in 2014. Pérez’s decision to seek the seat must’ve been made easier by state Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s announcement in June that he won’t seek it; with $2.2 million already banked for such a campaign, Lockyer – who has won four statewide elections before – would’ve been a presumptive favorite.
But Pérez, D-Los Angeles, joins a crowded Democratic field nonetheless. Those with active campaign committees for this office include former Assemblyman Dario Frommer of La Canada Flintridge, who had $675,000 banked as of June 30; Board of Equalization member Betty Yee of Alameda, who had about $472,000 at midyear; and state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, whose Capitol office was raided by the FBI in June but had about $26,000 in the bank for this race.
Pérez noted that when he first joined the Assembly, California’s budget deficit was more than $60 billion, over half the state budget for the year. “Fiscal restraint has been crucial to putting our finances back in the black, and will remain vital to ensuring a prosperous future for our state,” he said.
“Balancing our books is essential, but this job is about even more,” he said of the controller’s office. “It’s about promoting the financial stability that can offer every Californian the opportunity to succeed and contribute to our state’s prosperity. I will continue to advance smart investment decisions that help businesses, create jobs and unleash California’s full potential.”
Pérez has been Assembly Speaker since 2010, and in announcing his candidacy Wednesday he touted the balanced, on-time budgets passed in the past three years – the first time California has had such a run in 30 years. He also pointed to enactment of his bill to create GoBiz, a program to improve the state’s efforts to attract new businesses and investments in California.
And Pérez said the Assembly under his leadership has boosted the state’s minimum wage to $10 per hour; enacted his bill to create middle-class higher-education scholarships; and expanded access to health care with implementation of the new national health insurance law.