California’s leadership has failed Hispanic businesses. I want to change that.

·3 min read
Lanhee Chen is a candidate for California State Controller.
Lanhee Chen is a candidate for California State Controller.

California has always been a place where people from all over the world have achieved the American Dream. I know that firsthand, growing up in Rowland Heights as the son of immigrants from Taiwan who built a beautiful life here with hard work and determination. Unfortunately, for many hard-working Hispanic business owners today, the California dream has slipped away.

I’m running for state controller because I want to make sure California works equally as hard for your business as you do. Like you, I want to ensure that our children have better opportunities than we had. Here are some things I would focus on to make it easier to achieve the American Dream again:

Be a watchdog, not a lapdog

Did you know that California has paid at least $20 billion in benefits to known criminals? Can any business expect to survive if run this way? It is unacceptable that our state government has taken such an irresponsible approach. Throughout history, whenever we have concentrated power in the hands of a single political party, the system becomes inefficient and oftentimes corrupt. The Los Angeles Times understands this, which is why they endorsed me.

If I am elected controller, I will use my authority to expose any waste and fraud by auditing California’s books, just like you do yours. You can count on me to be a watchdog for taxpayers, not a lapdog for those in power.

Be sincere with you

You work hard for an honest living. You pay your taxes. So you expect and deserve California to work hard and be upfront with you. You should know how much you owe our state’s public pension funds, which rely on rosy projections. You also deserve to know whether school districts are using funds to help get our kids back into classrooms safely. We cannot afford any more learning loss, especially after COVID-19. I will be sincere with you by exposing California’s spending and issuing grades for various programs’ effectiveness. I will not only tell you the truth, but also show you by making full use of California’s technological capabilities to identify how funds are being spent.

Lanhee Chen, left, listens as Ian Weeks speaks during a candidate forum hosted by The Lincoln Club of the Coachella Valley in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on May 9, 2022.
Lanhee Chen, left, listens as Ian Weeks speaks during a candidate forum hosted by The Lincoln Club of the Coachella Valley in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on May 9, 2022.

Help harness your ideas

You know that it is extremely resource-intensive to do business in California. It is hard enough to come up with a good idea, then make that a reality by starting a business. Once you do set up a business entity here, it is even harder to run it because there are so many regulatory burdens. Add to that the state and local taxes, the rising cost of gas and financing, and many other items. Eventually, the burdens dim your entrepreneurial drive. As someone who’s run a small business, I understand that these burdens are unsustainable. I will use the controller’s platform to advocate for fiscal reforms that foster, rather than discourage, good business ideas from honest business owners.

Save you time and money

As controller, I will be a champion for small businesses. I will have a real platform to discuss tax and regulatory reforms that make our state easier to do business in. These reforms should be fair and protect the public, rather than punish small businesses that can’t afford lobbyists and lawyers. Our small businesses should be central to how we think about building a better and more equitable future.

The Hispanic business community has been ignored for far too long by California politicians from Sacramento to Riverside, including those from my party. Business owners have paid too high a price. I reject this type of mentality, and if I am given the opportunity to be your controller, I will expose the government fraud and waste. And as a Sacramento outsider, I am the only candidate in this race who can follow through on this commitment.

Lanhee Chen is a candidate for California State Controller. He was raised in Southern California and is the son of immigrants from Taiwan. After earning four degrees from Harvard University, including a law degree and doctorate in political science, he served in senior roles in both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations. Email him at info@chenforcalifornia.com

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: California’s leadership has failed Hispanic businesses.