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In light of the ongoing drought, Californians are grateful for the storms that have been pounding the Golden State. It’s a slightly different story, however, down at the Sacramento headquarters of the state Board of Equalization. As Jon Ortiz notes in the Sacramento Bee the “24-story money pit” sprung two leaks during recent heavy rains. Floors 10 and 22 both had a history of leaks and other troubles, but these were apparently unaddressed, as Mr. Ortiz explains, despite “23 reports or actions to fix or monitor concerns.” These leaks are hardly the first problems with the state government building.
As we noted, in more than two decades bureaucrats spent some $60 million to fix defects including leaky windows, mold, burst pipes, falling glass and traces of toxic substances. In 2014 the cost to fix everything was another $30 million, excluding the cost of moving employees during repairs. In 2014 the debt on the building was $77 million and will not be paid off until 2021. Assemblyman Roger Dickinson wanted a new facility that would cost an estimated $500 million, plus the cost of paying off the debt on the BOE building. Some observers have raised the issue of a lawsuit for defective construction, but as the vigilant Mr. Ortiz pointed out, the statute of limitations ran out in 2002. So no luck there.
Embattled taxpayers might want to run an inventory. The initial construction on the BOE building was shoddy, so the state’s oversight was a failure. Legislators missed the deadline on legal action and kept plowing money into the defective building. Well into 2016, the 24-story money pit is still leaking water. It stands as a monument to waste, fraud and abuse in state government.