A feckless state tax agency under budget sanctions by Gov. Jerry Brown is spending $1.7 million to buy furniture and other equipment for a new office in Los Angeles County.
The furniture alone is expected to cost $835,000 for the new Board of Equalization office.
That’s about eight times the sum that the tax-collecting agency planned to spend on furniture in 2014 when it developed a proposal to move 160 workers and their equipment from Norwalk to a new site in Cerritos.
“I don’t know what they’re spending money on. It’s just furniture,” said Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma.
Yeah, right. Alarmed…got it.
She was “alarmed” by a June 1 memo from the agency’s executive director, David Gau, disclosing the probable equipment and furniture costs for the move.
However Ma and her colleagues unanimously voted to approve the move in September.
It is not clear whether the total cost of the move has changed because the agency refused to answer questions about its relocation of Southern California staff.
Officials from the Department of Finance and the Department of General Services, which also reviewed the moving plan at different times, could not say how the proposal had changed from one that reused existing equipment to one that relied on new materials.
The Legislature placed a provision in the 2016 budget that required the Board of Equalization to gain the consent of the Department of Finance and the Legislature’s joint Budget Committee before signing new leases for offices.
Last year, The Sacramento Bee exposed board member Jerome Horton for spending $130,000 to decorate his office.
Source: The Sacramento Bee