As a small business owner in California, I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to understand how state laws and regulations help and hurt my construction business.

I have to say that most of the time, I find the regulatory burden costly and time consuming. I mean – who has time to follow the legislative sausage-making?

Don’t get me wrong – lots of regulations are in place that are necessary for the safety of the population as a whole. But other things cause an unnecessary tax burden on companies that reduces what we can pay our workers and deflates our bottom line as business owners.

One thing I am grateful for is the decision the people made in the 16th Assembly District in 2014 to send a new legislator to Sacramento. Her name is Assemblywoman Catharine Baker and I’ve known her for many years.

Though Catharine Baker is in her first term, she’s already made a measurable difference.

Recently, I had the chance to speak with Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association, and an expert who studies the issues impacting California taxpayers.

I asked him if my assumptions were correct on Assemblywoman Baker – specifically how much of a friend has Catharine Baker been to California taxpayers?

“Catharine Baker has been a very solid and reliable vote for taxpayers. She has consistently scored well on the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association scorecard. She is in a very tough race against a tax and spend liberal in a seat that fiscal conservatives cannot afford to lose,” said Mr. Coupal.

I am a registered Democrat, but I do consider myself fiscally conservative. In fact, I think all of us should be watching how our legislators vote see whose votes are consistent and whose aren’t.

But does one legislator or one vote matter? I addressed this question to Mr. Coupal, who explained it this way:

“The reason Assemblywoman Baker’s vote has been so critical is that the California Constitution requires a 2/3 vote of each house of the legislature to raise taxes. The Republicans are dangerously close to losing the ability to stop runaway tax increases ramrodded through the legislature by the majority party.”

In Assembly District 16, residents vote for individuals that they believe will be good stewards of the public’s trust. We are less tied to politics or party. Some of us own small businesses like I do. Others may work in the financial industry in Walnut Creek, as a teacher in the San Ramon Valley, or as a physicist at one of our amazing national laboratories in Livermore.

But no matter what sector of the economy you’re in, you still pay taxes. Whether you’re an employer or a worker, Catharine Baker’s vote matters to you.