Board of Equalization (BOE) Members Ted Gaines (1st District), Malia Cohen (2nd District), Antonio Vazquez (3rd district), and Mike Schaefer (4th District) were inaugurated on January 7, 2018, at the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building in Sacramento. Governor Gavin Newsom administered the oath of office to the four statewide constitutional officers, who were elected in November 2018. Member Cohen is the first African American woman and Member Vazquez is the first Latino to be elected to the BOE since its inception.
BOE Members serve concurrent four-year terms as the nation’s only elected tax commission. Four members are elected by district, and the fifth member, the State Controller, is elected at large and serves in an ex officio capacity. Established in 1879, the BOE acts in an oversight capacity to ensure compliance by the 58 County assessors – who are tasked with determining California’s County-assessed property values, which reached $5.7 trillion for the 2017-18 roll year – with property tax laws, rules, regulations, and assessment issues. In addition, the BOE hears appeals on various property tax, alcoholic beverage tax, and insurance tax matters and sets the values of state-assessed properties, which are primarily privately-owned public utilities and railroads.
“As Board Member, my commitment to the people of California is to get things done,” Member Vazquez said. “I believe there is a lot of important work to be done by the Board regarding property tax as it relates to addressing the affordable housing crisis, Proposition 13, and property tax appeals.”
During the inauguration ceremony, State Librarian Greg Lucas presented welcoming remarks and introductions, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon introduced Governor Newsom, and Renel Brooks-Moon, Public Address Announcer for the San Francisco Giants, led the Pledge of Allegiance. The CAL FIRE Local 2881 Honor Guard and Pipes and Drums conducted the presentation of the colors, the Northern California Children’s Chorus performed the National Anthem, and Reverend Evered C. Cohen, pastor of Lutheran Church of Our Savior in San Francisco (and father of Board Member Malia Cohen), offered the invocation.