Politics & Government

Veteran budget and tax analyst Peter Schaafsma dies

Peter Schaafsma, an analyst of governmental finances for the Legislature, the state treasurer’s office and private clients for nearly 40 years, died Monday night of esophageal cancer, his family said. He was 62.

Schaafsma was a fixture in the Capitol for 12 years as the chief budget adviser to Assembly Republicans, taking that position in 1999 after four years in the state treasurer’s office and 20 years in the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the last 16 as director of state and local finance analysis.

In the latter position, Schaafsma was responsible, among other duties, for writing ballot pamphlet analyses of all ballot measures dealing with taxes and government finance, including Proposition 13 in 1978.

After leaving the Legislature’s staff in 2011, Schaafsma joined former colleagues from the Department of Finance and LAO as a managing partner of Capitol Matrix Consulting. With partners Mike Genest and Brad Williams, Schaafsma provided advice on fiscal matters to governmental and private clients.

In all of his positions, Schaafsma was a widely cited authority for reporters on state fiscal affairs, and was a major source for Joe Mathews’ and Mark Paul’s book “California Crackup,” which explored the ramifications of Proposition 13 and other ballot measures on California’s governance.

Schaafsma joined the LAO in 1976 after receiving his MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and his bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley. He and his wife, Sandy, had two children, Willem and Sarah. Willem Schaafsma followed his father into the Capitol and works for the Department of Finance.

Private services are pending.

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