The Board of Equalization: A racketeering enterprise that needs to be eliminated

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Along with revelations that the board misused its staff and powers for political purposes and mishandled tens of millions of dollars, the nepotism allegations led the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown to enact legislation reforming the tax board in June.

Most of its staff and duties, which included collecting more than $60 billion in annual revenue from various taxes, were turned over to the newly created state Department of Tax and Fee Administration, answerable to the governor. The Board of Equalization was left with fewer than 200 employees and a few constitutionally assigned duties, including reviewing and adjusting property tax assessments and setting levies on insurers and alcohol.

While the overhaul made overdue progress, it dodged the need for consolidation, instead creating agencies out of one and adding them to the existing Franchise Tax Board.

As a result of the latest investigation, the Board of Equalization was ordered to dismiss three improperly hired employees, including the daughter of a state legislator. The board and the new tax department must also rewrite their nepotism policies and relinquish the authority to hire employees and take other personnel actions for a year.

The Board is, and always has been, a criminal enterprise profiting off of taxpayers. Those in charge should be punished, and the Board should be eliminated.

San Francisco Chronicle



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