Skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon
Visit the Midday Edition homepage

State Treasurer John Chiang Discusses His Run For California Governor

February 22, 2018 1:48 p.m.

State Treasurer John Chiang Discusses His Run For California Governor


John Chiang, California State Treasurer

Related Story: State Treasurer John Chiang Discusses His Run For California Governor


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

>>> I am Maureen Cavanaugh it is Thursday, February 22. Our top story on Trenton, the state Democratic convention this weekend in San Diego will be packed with candidates for the midterm elections including all the Democrats who are running for governor. Lieutenant Governor Gavin using a former LA mayor Antonio Rivera Rigo so our league to be the front runners in the race. Another well-known candidate will make his case this weekend. California state treasurer John Chung who recently released a tongue and cheek add at narrated by San Diego assembly member Loretta Gonzalez Fletcher.
>> His credit rating is mad respect. He is John Chung. The most accomplished man in California. I don't always endorse. But when I do, I endorse John Chung for governor.

>>> Junk Chung joins me now. Welcome to the program. What kind of reaction have you gotten to that ad?
>> Very enthused, and often times people see me and my financial position. I'm the only person who served in all three financial offices and they see me with top numbers up and lead in California making sure we pay down our cash deficit and our budget deficit. I also have a cute funny site. Often people don't see that when you're sending out numbers and talking about building affordable housing or building education.

>>> As you say your money Manned and a state treasurer and state comptroller and on the board of equalization. What does that that's what expertise add to your qualification.
>> It separates me from the others. You had others who left -- lead cities and less cities with financial deficit. I challenged Governor Swarts and [NULL] and said court balancing the budget on the backs of public servants. I put Californians first. When they passed proposition 25 that we want balanced budgets we are sick of getting IOUs and sick of having to delay tax refunds, we want the legislator to put us first and making sure that we have schools that can keep their doors open, teachers not getting pink slips trying to keep parks open, they went to me to say hey John let's set desk listed out the finances of California.

>>> What are your priorities of governor?
>> Education. Every child deserves a first-class education. The world is competitive. You have to be resilient. An education gives you the best letter of economic and social opportunity and inclusion. Number two, what I've done differently is building more affordable housing. We know that one in every five Californians live in poverty adjusted for transportation and housing costs. We cannot let that process. Part of our fundamental values has to be making sure that people can pursue the American dream and that they can have a place they call home. I am very proud that as a state treasurer, I perform a lot of the roles and regulations. In my second year of office I increased the building of new and rehabilitative housing by 83%. That is an important consideration. Great -- create jobs and making sure healthcare is affordable. We do not want to impact too many Californians by the fact that healthcare has broken the big for too many families. My family when my dad suffered with a few strokes and bypasses, they experience the financial hardship. I want to make sure we protect California families.

>>> Governor Brown has a reputation of being fiscally prudent when it comes to the states budget. I'm wondering what you think. Should the state be using more of its rainy day funds?
>> We set in place that rainy day fund. There are restrictions on the use of it. We actually have to rainy day funds. I think it is very important the governors Department of finance what they put out. If we have a -- in the state we could see a decline in state revenues by $55 million. The fund that the governor proposes a little over 130 million. It is good to put it aside. Seeing you support the governors high-speed rail plan in some critics think it's a waste of money. Why do you support it?
>> I think it's important we develop alternative -- alternate modes of transportation. A lot of people are dependent on the airlines, but when you think about LAX, San Francisco, San Diego, how much room do you have to expand ? as the state continues to bring in more millions of new Californians whether they are born here or they choose to immigrate to the state, the land-use patterns, you will not be able to have unfettered opportunity to continue to provide that access. We need other modes of transportation.

>>> You along with other Democratic candidates for Governor support a single-payer health care system for the state. The big stumbling block is how do we pay for it. Speaking that is the big question. I and the person as you pointed out that has worked with the state taxes. I understand the state tax system. When I was a controller was the most successful auditor in California history. I identified $9.5 billion of waste fraud government inefficiencies.

>>> Do you think you can find the money and that it is already there somehow in Sacramento for single-payer health care system?
>> Not the system they are talking about covering everything. I support universal healthcare coverage. We want to cover everyone. We want to see how much money we will have from state receipts and federal government receipts and get greater clarity from Washington DC during the Trump administration. I say let's build what we can with the money we have. And as we have additional revenues, we can add more services.

>>> California has become part of the resistance against many Trump administration initiatives the border wall, increased immigration etc. Would you continue that as governor or would you take a more conciliatory per -- approach.
>> I will work with the administration when he is acting in the interest of California. I will put up fears resistance when he is acting contrary to California's interest. I was down here in San Diego holding a press conference leading an effort with builders and labor and others pushing against the house tax plan that would have eliminated the tax exemption for private privity bonds. When you talk about building airports, hospitals, affordable housing, the federal government was going to pull back support. We are the leading economy in the United States of America. If president donald trump once great America and a drop thriving economy, California has to be successful.

>>> John Chiang his another money question. John DeLeon has a bill that will allow taxpayers to donate taxes to a state not run prophet a way of getting around the new federal limit on the state tax deductions. Do you support that measure?
>> I think we should explore it. We should pay close attention to at this first year. The franchise tax Board of representatives went to the legislator and talk about the possible consequences. What is uncertain is how California taxpayers will react to the fact that the new tax plan will benefit some and hurt many and will they stay in California or will they change their practices or will they leave California. We need to make sure we build a strong foundation. We are working with the Department of treasury to us -- understand what they will and will not allow it proceed from there. Like many states we may have to go to federal court and challenge and protect some of the provisions California wants to do to protect California's best interest.

>>> If the polls are right, you have a lot of ground to make up to catch up in this race. How will you do that?
>> We are in the mix. If you look at Gavin's pole I'm tied with Antonio for second. If you look at the USMC poll I am two points behind for second. If you look at one of the important factors, who has raised the most amount of money, I am second in fundraising. We are running a strong exciting race to make sure we become the top two for the primary election.

>>> I had been speaking with the California state treasurer John Chiang. Thank you very much.
>> My honor.