Publication 216, The First 100 Years



One hundred years before the passage of Proposition 13, Californians focused their attention on a subject which relates somewhat to this initiative. On June 19, 1878, the voters elected delegates for the formation of a new State Constitution—a Constitution which would, through the creation of the State Board of Equalization, insure equitable practices in property taxation.

Today’s Board of Equalization, bolstered by the many property tax reforms of the last century, insures adherence to the law and to equitable taxation not only in property taxes, but also in the many forms of taxation placed under its administration since 1879. After a century of existence and repeated changes in California’s system of revenue and taxation, the Board has become California’s most vital revenue agency. While it is true that these changes have made the Board of Equalization a far more complicated agency than it was in 1879, it is also true that the Board of Equalization, starting its second century of service, still functions in its original capacity as guarantor of equitable taxation. It is this tradition which the Board carries into the future.