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Government Waste Terrible for Taxpayers

Friday January 29th, 2016   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 5:26am PST   •  

BOE_200As we noted in 2014, the State Board of Equalization (BOE) headquarters in Sacramento has been dubbed the “Terror Tower,” with good reason. It has been plagued with invasive mold, leaking windows, burst pipes, unreliable elevators, falling glass and traces of toxic substances. Someone was looking the other way when this atrocity was built, and afterward as well. Politicians never held contractors accountable for the defects, and the deadline for legal action passed in 2002. The building has cost taxpayers about $60 million in repairs and in 2014 the outstanding debt on the building was $77 million.

This year governor Jerry Brown announced a $1.5 billion infrastructure plan that would also remodel a portion of the Capitol. The plan includes a new $530 million office building for the Natural Resources Agency and $226 million to replace a vacant state building. The BOE headquarters gets nothing, even though it still needs $30 million in repairs. Now, as Jon Ortiz notes in the Sacramento Bee, the BOE tower is “too small and poorly configured to efficiently process the $60 billion in taxes and fees it collects each year,” according to a state report. Therefore “the building is terrible for business.” The state wants to move the BOE folks into “a campus of low- and mid-rise buildings that better facilitate its work and communication among employees.”

In the meantime, presumably after spending the $30 million on repairs the previous $60 million did not fix, “smaller state tenants” could be moved into the BOE tower. As Mr. Ortiz notes, “the report does not estimate the cost of new facilities.” It’s a virtual lock that the costs will be higher than politicians and bureaucrats estimate. And the facilities could turn out defective and dangerous, just like the BOE building. That would be terrible for taxpayers.

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January 2016