Board of Equalization FAQ
Q & A for Fiona Ma, CPA - Candidate for State Board of Equalization (SBOE)
Over the past year I have been meeting with taxpayers and voters and, based on our conversations, decided to put together a list of questions and answers. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at Fiona@FionaMa.com.
What is the California State Board of Equalization? The California State Board of Equalization (SBOE) is the only elected tax board in America. The 5,000 person tax agency affects every taxpayer in California and has broad regulatory and adjudicatory powers.
How may Board Members are there? A SBOE member is classified as a State Constitutional Officer accountable to all Californians. There are only four SBOE members elected by close to 10 million voters each. The Chairperson of the SBOE serves on the three-member Franchise Tax Board. The fifth voting member is the elected State Controller.
When was the SBOE created? The SBOE was initially created by a Constitutional Amendment in 1879 to "equalize" the assessment, collection, and remittance of property taxes by the 58 elected tax Assessors in California.
What does the SBOE do? The SBOE annually collects $52.5 billion in taxes and fees to support state and local government services. This represents about 35-45% of the California's total revenues. The SBOE also hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes.
Who is Fiona Ma? I first became interested in politics as a small business owner in 1994 and a Certified Public Accountant advocating on behalf of small businesses. I served as a Commissioner on the San Francisco Assessment Appeals Board and heard property tax appeal cases, got elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and then the California State Assembly where I sponsored many tax related bills that helped small businesses thrive and kept California businesses competitive with other states. I hold a B.S. in Accounting, an M.S. in Taxation, and an MBA and have been licensed in California as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) since 1992.
Why is Fiona qualified to be our next SBOE member? Each year California fails to collect eight billion dollars from the underground economy. This lack of revenue hurts hard-working Californians by shortchanging vital public service programs and hurting our economic recovery. I will put to use my years auditing companies and my understanding of how to read and interpret financial statements to cull out fraud and abuse that costs California millions.
Why should I vote for her? I am qualified, hardworking, proven and practical and will use my professional, public/private, and legislative experience to make state government more responsive, easier to access and protective of California taxpayer’s money. My goal is to help working families thrive in our golden state by helping California make smart choices with your tax dollars.
How can Fiona Ma help me? SBOE members are like your "Personal California Accountant" who you can call to help cut through the red tape and give you advice on all state tax and related matters. I will be available to help when you call.
What are Fiona Ma’s campaign platforms? The 3 "F's: "Friendlier" tax agency that treats taxpayers who call in or get audited with respect and dignity; "Fairness" - aggressively go after the underground economy which is not paying its fair share of about $8 billion in taxes; and "Fix" problems administratively or legislatively to make it easier for individuals and companies to do business in California.
What district is she running for? I am running in District 2 to represent nearly 10 million people in 23 (mostly) coastal counties stretching from the Oregon border to Santa Barbara - including the entire Bay Area.
When is the election? My Primary election is on June 3, 2014. And since we now have "Open Primaries" the top two highest vote getters must run against each other on November 4, 2014.
How long is the term? Each term is 4 years with a maximum term limit of 8 years.
Where are former SBOE members today? Former SBOE members have gone on to get elected State Senator, Controller, Treasurer, Governor and US Congress.
What's the best way to stay informed about Fiona Ma's campaign? Please go to my website and “Join My Campaign” at www.FionaMa.com when you first log onto my website; "Like" me on my Fiona Ma Facebook Fan Page, "Follow" me on twitter; and/or keep in touch with me directly via email at Fiona@FionaMa.com.
How can I help elect Fiona Ma? Invite me to meet your friends and family; speak at organizational events; feature me in your newsletters; “follow" me and "share" my posts on Facebook and Twitter; officially endorse me on my website at www.FionaMa.com; and if you're able, please donate to my campaign online at www.FionaMa.com or send a check payable to "Fiona Ma for SBOE 2014" to the address listed below.
What's the best way to reach Fiona Ma? Emailing me is the best way so I can keep a paper trail at Fiona@FionaMa.com or secondarily by phone at 415-845-5450. Please send correspondence to me at: 1032 Irving Street, #908, San Francisco, CA 94122.
What is the SBOE's website? http://www.boe.ca.gov/
Other: I would be honored to have your vote and support! Thank you.