5. Mac Taylor
Want to know what’s really in the budget? Look no further. The nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Analyst, headed by Mac Taylor, is the go-to place for anyone looking to understand the nitty-gritty of California’s budget, the fiscal impact of ballot initiatives and an array of budget-related topics. He’s hired by the Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, but Taylor is respected on both sides of the aisle, and when it comes to advising lawmakers on how to spend money, the LAO swings a lot of weight. Taylor rose through the ranks at the LAO – he’s been there nearly four decades – and he’s a familiar figure in the Capitol, which is just across the street from his perch at 10th and L. Taylor also serves on the Statewide Leadership Council of the Public Policy Institute of California, an organization dedicated to informing and improving public policy in the state. A classmate of his from UC Riverside once tagged him as “dispassionate” – not so good if you’re a Flamenco dancer, but perfect if you analyze public spending amid the hyperbole of the Capitol’s political world.
Updated Aug. 29, 2017