- Associated Press - Monday, June 26, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - An embattled California tax-collecting agency is spending $1.7 million on furniture and equipment for a new Los Angeles County office.

The Sacramento Bee reported Monday (https://bit.ly/2sepps0 ) the Board of Equalization will spend eight times what it originally planned to pay for furniture in a 2014 proposal for the move.

The board is moving 160 employees from an office in Norwalk to a new location in Cerritos. It plans to spend more than $160,000 for office chairs and more than $5,000 for trash cans and clocks, among other expenses for the new office, according to documents obtained by the Bee.

The Board of Equalization collects about a third of California’s revenue from 30 tax and fee programs. It also equalizes property taxes between counties and decides tax disputes.

The agency is losing of most of its power and 4,300 employees after a March audit found it misallocated money and misused employees’ time. A bill Gov. Jerry Brown plans to sign will transfer most of the board’s functions, including its ability to resolve tax disputes, to new state agencies. The Department of Tax and Fee Administration will oversee the new Cerritos office, which is scheduled to open in September.

Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma told the Bee she was alarmed by a June 1 memo that detailed the unexpectedly high furniture costs.

The board declined to say whether moving costs have changed since then and refused to answer questions about the move, according to the Bee.

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Information from: The Sacramento Bee, https://www.sacbee.com

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