Tax Board’s Furniture Bill Skyrockets
According to documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee, the Board of Equalization, which is 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 Board of Equalization voted to approve the move from its current office in Norwalk to Cerritos in September because the state could not renegotiate a lease at the Norwalk site, and because the Board of Equalization had outgrown its original office with 160 employees working in a space designed for 120. Shockingly, the furniture alone is expected to cost $835,000 for the new office. Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma, stated:
I don’t know what they’re spending money on. It’s just furniture.
An early draft of the proposal to move offices written in 2014 by the agency showed that it planned to spend $2.5 million to move furniture and staff. Records show that the agency has already spent money on the following items: $162,180 on office chairs from the Prison Industries Authority; $110,000 on lobby, conference and break-room furniture; $18,498 on bulletin boards and markers; and $5,020 on trash receptacles and clocks. These purchases were made in May after Gov. Brown ordered to put the Board of Equalization under the oversight of the Department of General Services, the branch of state government that manages real estate and bulk purchases. The Legislature voted last month to break up the Board of Equalization to strip it of much of its authority and create a new revenue department to take over much of its work. Hopefully the new revenue department will be more financially responsible and have better oversight than the Board of Equalization did.