Press Relase: Fiona Ma Takes Office as Member of the State Board of Equalization
FIONA MA, CPA
STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION
CALIFORNIA’S TAX BOARD
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: John Vigna January 6, 2015 916.212.0357
San Francisco—Former California State Assemblymember and San Francisco Supervisor Fiona Ma (D-Sunset) was inaugurated as the newest member of the California Board of Equalization. Ma, who won more than 68 percent of the vote in the contest for the second district seat in November, 2014, takes office as only the second Certified Public Accountant to serve on California’s Tax Board in its nearly 150 years of existence.
“As a member of the Board of Equalization, I want to be absolutely clear how I will approach every question that comes before me: with an eye to fairness, accountability and justice,” said Board Member Ma in her inaugural remarks.
California is the only state with an elected tax board. The Board of Equalization has jurisdiction over settling tax disputes and governing other aspects of tax policy for the state. The Second District, which Ma represents, is one of four districts in California, and covers 23 coastal and inland counties from the Oregon border to Santa Barbara County.
Ma’s inauguration was attended by a number of prominent leaders in California, including both of California’s constitutional officers charged with managing the state’s finances, Treasurer John Chiang and Controller Betty Yee, as well as Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Mayor Ed Lee and Speaker Emeritus of the Assembly John A. Perez.
“California’s taxpayers can count on her fairness, her impartiality, and her determination to do right by them as a member of the Board of Equalization,” said Speaker Emeritus Perez. “She will be a powerful voice for fairness and efficiency in government, just as she has always been.”
Ma’s fouryear term on the Board of Equalization, which formally began on Monday, marks the first time in more than five decades—and only the second time in California history—that a Certified Public Accountant with professional expertise in tax issues and policy will serve on the Board of Equalization. In her remarks, Ma made clear that she would use that experience to ensure taxpayers are treated with respect by the state.
“I am eager to be an auditor and an advocate, so that taxes are fair, taxpayers are respected, and the taxes that pay for government are spent wisely and efficiently,” said Ma.
Professional organizations added their words of encouragement to the day’s festivities, with Tim Good, Chair of the California Society of CPA’s saying “We are extremely excited to have, not only a CPA, but a CalCPA member serving on the California Board of Equalization. With her background as a practicing CPA and former state legislator, Fiona will bring exceptional knowledge and the unique perspective of a CPA to the Board of Equalization. We are confident that she will tackle the complex challenges facing California and provide practical solutions for continued economic growth.”
The ceremony was held in the San Francisco City Hall, where Ma Served from 2002-2006 as a member of the Board of Supervisors. In 2006, she was elected to the Assembly, where she was ultimately named Speaker Pro Tempore, the second ranking member of the Assembly, after the Speaker. With more than 60 bills signed into law, Ma earned a reputation as one of the most effective and skilled legislators serving in Sacramento.
Ma highlighted a number of issues during her swearing-in, including the need to reach out to immigrant communities whose status has changed in light of President Obama’s Executive Order on immigration. She also called upon the Legislature to create a California version of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which was created by President Bill Clinton to provide tax relief to working families in poverty.
Ma’s swearing-in marks was attended by over 400 people from San Francisco and across California, including community leaders, religious leaders, members of the labor movement and Democratic Party activists. She was sworn into office by California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, with Mayor Ed Lee welcoming attendees of the event.
For high resolution photos, please email John.Vigna@boe.ca.gov