Board of Equalization District 4
The State of California is looking for citizens to serve on the only publicly elected tax commission in the United States!
…or, on what’s left of it, anyway.
New applicants are encouraged to review recent changes to state policy. While previous Board of Equalization members oversaw the collection of over $60 billion in taxes and managed a staff that numbered in the thousands, those responsibilities have since been pared down. Some might characterize these changes as a wholesale gutting of the board, an organization that many saw as redundant and chronically mismanaged. But applicants are encouraged to think of this as a “pivot to the board’s core strengths.” Yes, let’s go with that.
We will be filling four positions, one from each of the state’s Board of Equalization districts.
Job duties include:
- Ensuring that local property taxes are levied and collected in a legal and consistent way across the state (not all that complicated after voters passed Prop 13 in 1978)
- Setting rates for gasoline taxes and pipeline fees in accordance with state law
- Helping constituents navigate the tax bureaucracy
- Managing a staff of roughly 400
Perks include a competitive salary and benefits. Perks do not include the commandeering of nonpartisan technical staff for “parking lot duty” at sponsored political events.
Public Interest Advocate
Incumbent Party: Republican (Open Seat)
Democratic vs Republican Voter Registration: 4% D
Trump vs Clinton Margin, 2016: 13.7% Clinton
Margin of Victory in Last Election: 22.8%
Republican state Sen. Joel Anderson of Alpine got into the race relatively late in the game and has since mounted a fairly low-energy campaign for the seat. No matter, as a well-known face in southern California political circles and on the Republican in the running, he is the clear favorite. He also makes a fitting successor, ideologically speaking, to current board member Diane Harkey, who is running for Congress. But Anderson got himself into a bit of trouble in August when he allegedly threatened to slap a woman, the lobbyist for the California Nurses Association, at a Sacramento bar. Anderson called the event a “misunderstanding.”
And then there’s Anderson’s opponent. Mike Schaefer has run for city council, district attorney, and mayor in San Diego. He’s run for attorney general of California and for a seat in Congress. He’s run for other offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles. He hasn’t won yet, but at 80 years old, that hasn’t discouraged him from trying again.