No. 26: Amy Costa
As chief deputy director for budget at the Department of Finance, Amy Costa is second in command at the powerful office that writes the governor’s budgets. But with Director Michael Cohen out sick, Costa is now running the show at the agency that holds the purse strings for California’s vast bureaucracy. The Finance Department gives thumbs up or down on agencies’ spending, and Costa is at the center of the action. Costa started her career in former Senate Leader Don Perata’s office in 2001, and served the Bay Area state senator throughout his term as President Pro Tem until he left office in 2008. Now she represents the governor’s office in budget negotiations, often going to bat for Brown when he needs to hammer out any contentious budget issues with the Legislature.