Elected in November 2010 and re-elected in 2014, taxpayer advocate George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the California State Board of Equalization.
During his time on the Board, Runner has worked to improve California’s tax policies and practices and to create and retain more private sector jobs in our state.
As a BOE Member, Runner helped end a burdensome requirement that imposed security deposits on new businesses trying to do business California. As a result, the state is returning tens of millions of dollars back to their rightful owners instead of keeping those funds tied up in a government account.
Runner led a successful effort to reform an ineffective use tax collection program targeting small businesses. He also successfully clarified that farmers who purchase solar equipment are eligible for the same tax exemptions as those who purchase diesel generators.
Together with other taxpayer advocates, Runner is leading the fight against the unfair and illegal fire tax targeting homeowners and senior citizens across California. His goal is to help win that fight in court and return millions of dollars back to taxpayers.
Prior to his election to the Board, Runner served twelve years in the State Legislature. As a thoughtful conservative, his legislative priorities included improving the economy, business growth, education excellence, and public safety for all Californians. As a member of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee, Runner consistently led the fight against tax increases and supported tax relief for families and businesses.
Runner and his late wife, Senator Sharon Runner, were the authors of California’s Jessica’s Law and honorary co-chairs of Proposition 83-Jessica’s Law, which was passed by more than 70 percent of California voters in November 2006. It created some of the toughest and most comprehensive sex offender management and control laws in the nation.
He also authored the well-known California Amber Alert, which has aided in more than 200 successful reunions of children with their parents, as well as California’s Blue Alert, which uses Amber Alert technology when a peace officer has been killed, seriously wounded or assaulted with a deadly weapon and the suspect has fled the scene.
In recognition of his efforts, Runner was named Legislator of the Year by the:
- California State Sheriffs’ Association
- Crime Victims United
- California Sexual Assault Investigators Association
- Coalition of Chief Probation Officers
- California Coalition of Directors of Environmental Health
- California Community College Trustees
- California Building Industry Association
- State Coalition of Probation Organizations of California
He also received the Pursuit of Justice Award from the Association of Deputy District Attorneys – Los Angeles County.
Some of his other successful legislative measures in the State Legislature include authoring:
- Joint Strike Fighter tax credit which was designed to make California competitive with other states by allowing $250 million in tax credits for wages and equipment used in the production of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)
- Proposition 11 in 1998, to allow flexibility for local governments to enter into sales tax revenue sharing agreements;
- Military families law that provides a permanent exemption from non-resident tuition at all California public universities for active military personnel and their families;
- Landmark food safety legislation that improves and updates California’s food safety code and is based on the best available food safety science. This law was crafted to ensure that consumers are protected when they eat at retail food facilities; and
- The HOV Lane law, that allows High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on State Route 14 available to single-occupancy drivers during non-commuter hours.
Prior to his election to the State Senate in 2004, Runner served in the State Assembly for three terms, from 1996 to 2002. During this time of service, Runner was involved in developing and implementing real solutions to the challenges Californians face and served as Vice Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee.
Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Runner served on the Lancaster City Council, including two years as mayor. In 1976 the Runners founded Desert Christian Schools, which is now one of the largest private schools in the State of California.
George and Sharon Runner were the first husband and wife in California history to serve concurrently in the Legislature. Their children are son Micah, daughter-in-law Sandy, daughter Rebekah, son-in-law James, and four grandchildren.