Letters to the Editor

Candidate says it’s time to abolish the job he’s running for

It’s rare for a government program, much less an entire agency, to be disbanded. However, there’s simply no reason for the state Board of Equalization to exist in the 21st century.

Recently, the governor and legislature stripped this anachronistic agency of 90 percent of its functions. That drastic action leaves the board merely to oversee the review and adjustment of property tax assessments which are conducted by its few remaining employees. That is simply not a full-time job for elected officials, and paying them for it is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars which could otherwise be used for schools or roads.

I am the only candidate who has experience serving on a local board of equalization. However, my sole purpose in running for a seat on the state Board of Equalization will be to make the case to eliminate it. I will work to convince the next governor and the Legislature that they should finish the job they started by putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot asking California voters to finally and completely abolish the state Board of Equalization.

The Board of Equalization is the only elected state tax board in the country (most states have a Department of Revenue). The BOE is an accident of history. It was created in 1879 to address a perception that landowners in foothill mining counties had bribed local assessors to give them low assessments, shifting tax burdens to agricultural counties.

That issue was addressed long ago, and there have been numerous calls to eliminate the BOE since 1929. It has been an embarrassment for decades, with nepotism among employees and as a soft-landing for mostly term-limited politicians looking for another government paycheck.

It’s time to once and for all abolish this costly, obsolete layer of bureaucracy which serves no useful purpose. That’s what I’ll work to do.

Tom Hallinan, Ceres, candidate for Board of Equalization District 1