California has created a new tax and fee collection agency from scratch – in just about two weeks. The new agency sprang to life after lawmakers approved an overhaul of the state’s embattled Board of Equalization.
It all started with several controversies involving the board’s elected members – from questionable spending practices to what one state report termed a “fear of retaliation” among staff.
So just three days before the Legislature’s June 15 constitutional budget deadline, Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic lawmakers unveiled a sweeping plan to gut the BOE and transfer nearly all its functions to the executive branch.
That brings us to the brand-new California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Creation date: July 1. It’s responsible for dozens of different collection programs that bring in a combined tens of billions of dollars a year. They range from the ones we’ve all heard of, like sales and gas taxes, taxes on tobacco and now cannabis products, and esoteric programs like the Covered Electronic Waste Recycling Fee and Marine Invasive Species Fee.
The Board of Equalization remains in existence, but its duties have been sharply curtailed, limited to a handful of duties as written in the California Constitution.