This article needs to be updated.April 2014)(
The State Board of Equalization (BOE) is a public agency charged with tax administration and fee collection in the state of California in the United States. The authorities of the Board fall into four broad areas: sales and use taxes, property taxes, special taxes, and acting as an appellate body for franchise and income tax appeals (which are collected by the Franchise Tax Board). The BOE is the only publicly elected tax commission in the United States. The board is made up of four directly elected members, each representing a district for four-year terms, along with the State Controller, who is elected on a statewide basis, serving as the fifth member. In June 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation stripping the Board of many of its powers, returning the agency to its original core responsibilities (originating in the State Constitution in 1879).
The State Board of Equalization was created in 1879 by the ratification of the second Constitution of California. Its original mandate was to ensure that property tax assessments were uniform and equal across all counties in the state.
Prior to the creation of the state income tax, sales tax, and fuel taxes in the 1930s, California's state government was almost completely supported by property taxes, which were and still are assessed at the county level by elected tax assessors. Assessors were tempted to boost their popularity with county voters by undervaluing voters' property (and thereby lowering their taxes). This presented the risk of counties with honest assessors paying more than their fair share of the burden of operating the state government, so the Board of Equalization was created to equalize the burden.
The California Franchise Tax Board and the Employment Development Department are separately also responsible for collecting taxes. Some have criticized this as inefficient. Efforts to reform the Board were made in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1990s, and 2000s.
In 1994, Governor Pete Wilson vetoed a plan by the legislature to abolish the Franchise Tax Board and give its responsibilities to the Board of Equalization, explaining in his veto message that the state should have done the opposite. In 2004, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger released a 2,500-page report seeking to merge the Board with other agencies and then promoted a bill by Assemblywomen Lois Wolk to do just that. The effort failed. In 2008, the agency employed approximately 3,950 people throughout the state.
By 2017, the Board had expanded to collecting $60 billion a year. It collected sales and use taxes, hazardous waste fees, jet fuel taxes, marijuana taxes, and over 30 additional taxes. That year, the Board had 4,700 employees and a $617 million annual budget. Board members are paid a $137,000 annual salary and are each allowed to hire a 12 member staff. Each year, the Board spends at least $3 million on education events where elected members appear before their constituents.
In March 2017, an audit by the California Department of Finance revealed missing funds and signs of nepotism, leading to calls for the governor to put the Board under a public trustee. In June 2017, the California Department of Justice began a criminal investigation into the members of the Board.
On June 27, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation stripping the Board of many of its powers. The legislation created two new departments controlled by the governor responsible for the Board's statutory duties, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and the California Office of Tax Appeals.
The Board still has its constitutional powers to review property tax assessments, insurer tax assessment, alcohol excise tax, and pipeline taxes. The Board will retain 400 employees, with the rest of its 4,800 workers being shifted to the new departments.
For the purposes of tax administration, the BOE divides the state into four Equalization districts, each with its own elected board member. District boundaries are redrawn following the decennial census. The latest boundaries were drawn following the 2010 census and have been in effect since January 1, 2015.
The first Equalization District is made up of the following counties: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yuba, a portion of Los Angeles, and a portion of San Bernardino. From 2003 until 2015 most of this area was the second district.
The second Equalization District is made up of the following counties: Alameda, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, and Santa Barbara. From 2003 until 2015 most of this area was the first district.
The third Equalization District is made up of Ventura County and a portion of Los Angeles County, including the cities of Agoura Hills, Alhambra, Arcadia, Artesia, Avalon, Baldwin Park, Bell, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Calabasas, Carson, Cerritos, City of Industry, Commerce, Compton, Covina, Cudahy, Culver City, Diamond Bar, Downey, El Monte, El Segundo, Gardena, Glendale, Glendora, Hawaiian Gardens, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Hidden Hills, Huntington Park, Inglewood, La Cañada Flintridge, La Habra Heights, La Mirada, La Puente, Lakewood, Lawndale, Lomita, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Lynwood, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Maywood, Monrovia, Montebello, Monterey Park, Norwalk, Paramount, Pasadena, Pico Rivera, Redondo Beach, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, Santa Fe Springs, Santa Monica, Sierra Madre, Signal Hill, South El Monte, South Gate, South Pasadena, Temple City, Torrance, Vernon, Walnut, West Covina, West Hollywood, Westlake Village, and Whittier. From 2003 until 2015 most of this area was the fourth district.
The fourth Equalization District is made up of the following counties: Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, a portion of Los Angeles, and a portion of San Bernardino. From 2003 until 2015 most of this area was the third district.
The current board members are:
Ted Gaines (R)
Malia Cohen (D)
Tony Vasquez (D)
Mike Schaefer (D)
The terms of all five members, including the State Controller, began on January 5, 2015.
|Year||1st District||2nd District||3rd District||4th District||State Controller|
|1879||James L. King||Moses M. Drew||Warren Dutton||Tyler D. Heiskel||Daniel M. Kenfield|
|1883||Charles Gildea||L. C. Morehouse||C. E. Wilcoxon||John Markley||John P. Dunn|
|1887||Gordon E. Sloss||John T. Gaffey|
|1891||J. S. Swan||Richard H. Beamer||James R. Hebbron||Edward P. Colgan|
|1895||A. Chesebrough||George L. Arnold|
|1899||J. G. Edwards||Alexander Brown||Thomas O. Toland|
|1903||William H. Alford||Frank Mattison|
|1906||A. B. Nye|
|1907||Joseph H. Scott||Richard E. Collins||Jeff McElvaine|
|1911||Edward M. Rolkin||John Mitchell|
|1913||John S. Chambers|
|1915||John C. Corbett|
|1919||Phillip D. Wilson|
|1921||Ray L. Riley|
|1923||Harvey G. Cattell|
|1927||John C. Corbett||Fred E. Stewart|
|1935||Orfa Jean Shontz|
|1937||Harry B. Riley|
|1939||George R. Reilly||Eric Mont|
|1943||James H. Quinn|
|1947||Jerrold L. Seawell|
|1953||Robert C. Kirkwood|
|1954||Paul R. Leake|
|1955||Robert E. McDavid|
|1959||John W. Lynch||Richard Nevins||Alan Cranston|
|1967||Houston I. Flournoy|
|1971||William M. Bennett|
|1976||Iris G. Sankey|
|1979||Ernest J. Dronenburg Jr.|
|1983||Conway H. Collis|
|1987||William M. Bennett||Conway H. Collis||Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr.||Paul B. Carpenter||Gray Davis|
|1991||Brad Sherman||Matt Fong|
|1995||Johan Klehs||Dean Andal||Brad Sherman||Kathleen Connell|
|2003||Carole Migden||Bill Leonard||Steve Westly|
|2007||Michelle Park Steel||Judy Chu||John Chiang|
|2010||Barbara Alby / Sean Wallentine||Steve Shea / Jerome Horton|
|2011||George Runner||Jerome Horton|
|2015||George Runner||Fiona Ma||Jerome Horton||Diane Harkey||Betty Yee|
|2019||Ted Gaines||Malia Cohen||Tony Vazquez||Mike Schaefer|