By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Legislation to relocate the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) from its troubled headquarters building at 450 N Street in Sacramento has passed off the Assembly floor with ample bipartisan support.
During Assemblymember Roger Dickinson’s floor speech, the author of Assembly Bill 1656 used a corroded waste-water pipe from the building to highlight why this BOE-sponsored legislation is critically needed. The bill provides the necessary authorization to relocate and consolidate Sacramento-area staff to one campus.
“I would like to thank Assemblymember Dickinson for championing this legislation for the health and welfare of our employees and for helping the taxpayers of California who are on the hook financially for a building in need of constant mitigation,” said BOE Chairman Jerome E. Horton. “This is one of the only high-rise buildings in America with permanent scaffolding surrounding it to protect employees and the pedestrian public.”
“Why should the state’s taxpayers continue shouldering the burden of paying for constant repairs on this building?” asked Board Vice Chair Michelle Steel. “It makes no sense to keep paying for this.”
The BOE has already spent roughly $60 million taxpayer dollars on building repairs and remediation. Total costs related to repairs and relocation during construction are estimated at approximately $115 million, which does not include lost employee productivity.
“This measure is an important step to address the needs of our employees charged with collecting a good portion of the state’s revenue, who should not have to endure working in their current environment,” said Board Member Betty T. Yee.
“Let’s end this craziness and get out of this money pit,” said BOE Board Member George Runner. “Assemblymember Dickinson’s legislation has bipartisan support and makes good sense for the health of our employees and the fiscal health of our state.”
About 1,900 employees are working in the N Street headquarters building. There are approximately 750 other capital-based employees who work in satellite offices throughout the Sacramento area. This legislation would seek to consolidate all of these employees on one campus, increasing efficiency and productivity.
Other BOE-sponsored bills that passed their respective houses of origin include Senate Bill 1113 (disabled veterans’ property tax exemption); SB 1464 (update of property tax law); AB 2681 (sales and use tax on counterfeit-goods transactions); AB 2031 (excludes retailers with sales less than $25,000 a year from lumber products assessment collection); AB 2009 (expands the BOE’s managed audit program) and AB 2262 (bases private rail car tax on mileage traveled instead of days spent in California).
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Elected in 2010, Chairman Jerome E. Horton is the Fourth District Member of the California State Board of Equalization, representing more than 8.5 million residents in Los Angeles County. He is also the Board of Equalization’s Legislative Committee Chairman. He is the first to serve on the Board of Equalization with over 21 years of experience at the BOE. Horton previously served as an Assembly Member of the California State Assembly from 2000-2006.
Elected to the Board of Equalization in 2006 and re-elected in 2010, Michelle Steel serves as Southern California’s elected taxpayer advocate. In December 2007, Steel discovered the Board of Equalization had delayed the return of millions of dollars in security deposits owed to California businesses. Procedures were changed due to Steel’s decisive leadership. Following her investigation, the tax agency refunded tax security deposits to over 5,500 small businesses. To date, over $100 million in security deposits have been returned to taxpayers.
Board Member Betty T. Yee was elected to her post in November 2006. Her district includes many of California’s coastal counties, from Del Norte to Santa Barbara, and includes the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Ms. Yee previously served as Chief Deputy Director for Budget at the California Department of Finance, covering a wide array of state and local finance policy matters.
Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents the State Board of Equalization’s Second District. He is a leading advocate for California taxpayers. Runner has worked to improve California’s tax policies and practices and to create and retain more private sector jobs in our state. Prior to his election to the Board, Runner served twelve years in the State Legislature, authoring the well-known California Amber Alert and California’s Blue Alert. As a thoughtful conservative, his legislative priorities included improving the economy, business growth, education excellence, and public safety for all Californians. As a member of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee, Runner consistently led the fight against tax increases and supported tax relief for families and businesses.
The five-member California State Board of Equalization (BOE) is a publicly elected tax board. The BOE collects $56 billion annually in taxes and fees supporting state and local government services. It hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit www.taxes.ca.gov.