Elected to the Board of Equalization in 2006, Michelle Steel serves as California's senior-ranking Republican constitutional officer. A successful businesswoman and renowned taxpayer advocate, Steel represents more than eight million people in the Third District, which includes the counties of Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and portions of Los Angeles and San Bernardino.
Michelle Steel has distinguished herself as the state's leading tax fighter. Her hallmark first-term achievement was the discovery, that the Board of Equalization had delayed the return of millions of dollars in security deposits owed to California businesses. Following her investigation, the agency refunded tax security deposits worth upwards of $50,000 each to over 5,500 small businesses, and procedures were changed due to Steel’s decisive leadership. To date, over $100 million in security deposits have been returned to taxpayers.
As Southern California’s elected taxpayer advocate, Steel is on the frontlines of California’s perennial battle against higher taxes. In 2008, she successfully led the fight against a new iTax, a $500 million tax on digital downloads.
Steel's commitment to taxpayers began three decades ago when she watched her mother fight an unwarranted Board of Equalization tax bill. As an immigrant small business owner, Michelle's mother lacked the resources to successfully fight a massive state agency and reluctantly acceded to the Board's demands.
One of California's fiscal officers, Steel promises to protect taxpayers from the overbearing government that her family encountered. A signatory of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Michelle Steel will oppose all new taxes and tax increases. When adjudicating tax appeals, she will always presume that a taxpayer is innocent until proven guilty.
Over the past decade, Michelle Steel has served on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, California World Trade Commission, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, and Los Angeles Airport and Fire Commissions.
Recognizing her extensive public policy experience, President George W. Bush appointed Michelle Steel to the White House Conference on Aging, her second presidential appointment.
Michelle Steel has spent her life actively involved in her community, beginning as a Radio Seoul Commentator- a position she held from 1993 to 2008. She was an instrumental volunteer for several youth organizations, including Options House, a local emergency shelter helping runaway children, and the Coalition of Brothers and Sisters Unlimited, an African-American after-school program.
Educated in Korea, Japan, and the United States, Michelle holds a degree in Business from Pepperdine University, an Executive MBA from the University of Southern California, and is fluent in Korean and Japanese.
Michelle and her husband, Shawn, have been married since 1981. They live in Surfside, California.