California’s next legislative analyst will be a public finance expert who will come to the Capitol from a top financial credit rating agency.
Gabriel Petek of S&P Global Ratings was named on Wednesday as the state’s next legislative analyst, succeeding longtime analyst Mac Taylor.
Petek will oversee a department responsible for providing an independent review of budgets and policy proposals coming out of Sacramento.
The Harvard graduate and former Boston budget analyst is a registered Democrat who prides himself on objectivity. He will take over at the LAO on Feb. 4.
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As a Capitol outsider, Petek said he was surprised when he learned on Wednesday that he’d just been hired.
“I’m still a little bit in shock here but am very excited about it,” Petek said. “I think they hope someone will take a fresh look at the work and the way they operate, and at the same time, have a lot of respect for the work they’ve done to date.”
Petek is the primary credit analyst covering California for Standard & Poors. He has covered the state since 2008. State Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, led the search process for Taylor’s replacement. The two lawmakers spoke highly of Petek.
“One of my key priorities throughout this bipartisan process was to identify a new Legislative Analyst who will help the legislature achieve its policy and oversight goals by providing thoughtful analysis and support,” Ting said in a statement. “Gabriel Petek brings strong credentials and experience to the job. I look forward to engaging him in the budget process, so we can make the smartest fiscal decisions for California.”
Taylor, who worked for the analyst’s office for 40 years, long cautioned lawmakers and governors against overspending. Petek, too, has publicly warned about the possibility of a recession due to trade and stock market uncertainty.
“The recent increase in volatility is a concern for the state’s revenue performance,” Petek said.