Do Away with the Board of Equalization?

Dan Walters suggests that the elected Board of Equalization has outlived its usefulness

by Brian Leubitz

It doesn’t take much of a keen eye to see that California needs some pretty substantial structural reform. Dan Walters wants to take the sledgehammer to the elected tax men, the Board of Equalization.

It’s also another bit of evidence that the Board of Equalization, created 132 years ago to ensure that counties applied property taxes fairly, should be abolished.

It’s simply ludicrous that the administration of taxes is dependent on the ideological whims and personal agendas of five politicians. The board’s purview now includes sales taxes and income tax appeals from the Franchise Tax Board.

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It’s a virtual invitation to decide tax policy, and even individual tax cases, on the basis of ideology or political pull, examples of which have popped up frequently.

We should create a Department of Revenue that would include the functions of both boards, plus other tax-collecting agencies, with an administrative appeals process, backed by a tax court and the regular court system.(SacBee)

I think there are decent arguments to both sides of this fight.  If we could really develop a strong revenue department that would fairly administer the tax policies, maybe it is something worth considering.  However, how that is done would make a big difference to me.  If we end up with a revenue department that is too weak, or too aggressive, or just doesn’t pay attention to community concerns, that could be a lot worse than the Board of Equalization.

On the other hand, a responsive tax structure is hardly the worst thing in the world, yet alone the worst in our own government.  I can think of more than a few boards in Sacramento that would rankle more than the BoE. At least it is elected rather than a retirement home for termed our politicians.

If we are going to start making constitutional changes, might as well go big and do away with the Senate too.  

One thought on “Do Away with the Board of Equalization?”

  1. One could also suggest that Dan Walters’ column has outlived its usefulness.

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