Publication 216, The First 100 Years


Basic Internal Study 1957-1958

In November 1957 the Board of Equalization ordered the most comprehensive internal study ever made of its organizational structure and its many varied operations. The main objective was to provide improved services to the people of California, at lowest practical cost, through more effective use of all available resources.

The study was completed in June 1958 by a team of thirteen of the Board’s staff drawn from a wide range of activities in headquarters and field offices. Further staff input was developed through interviews with more than half of the Board’s employees selected from diverse organizational elements in representative offices throughout the state. Findings and recommendations generated from interviews and analytical study of all available information were published in a three-volume report including: (1) an organizational plan, (2) major recommendations, and (3) supplemental recommendations. Within a few years the Board’s organizational structure and many of its operational systems were changed radically, based upon recommendations contained in the study report.

Such changes were most striking in the business taxes sector. Separate and autonomous divisions for Sales and Use Tax, Beverage Taxes, and Highway Taxes had operated for many years with parallel but independent systems for management, audit, compliance, and record-keeping activities. As a result of the study, a consolidated Department of Business Taxes was established to eliminate duplications and to function more effectively by audit and compliance activities rather than by individual tax programs.

The basic concept of a consolidated Business Taxes Department also led to many further improvements, such as:

  • Consolidation of specialized tax program classifications for auditor personnel into a common business taxes auditor classification series.
  • Strengthening planning and advisory staff services to assist management in directing audit, compliance, and departmental administration into the most productive channels.
  • Consolidation and streamlining of record-keeping systems for improved efficiency and effectiveness.

The Board’s property tax functions were also consolidated into a Property Tax Department to provide uniform direction for divisionally operated programs involving Assessment Standards (assistance to county assessors), Intercounty Equalization (parity of county assessment levels), and Valuation (assessment of public utilities for local tax purposes). This plan strengthened Board services in the property tax area and helped to provide for greater flexibility with more effective use of highly qualified appraiser personnel.

Staff support services for the Board and its major operating departments were also improved as reorganization and systems modifications proceeded. Unified direction was established for a major group of Boardwide administrative services including fiscal management, data processing, management analysis, statistical research, and general services to ensure progressive staff support at economical cost. Concurrently, legal, personnel, and training services were strengthened to provide improved levels of support in the vital functions which they perform.

Experience has shown that changes based upon internal study recommendations have aided the Board substantially in meeting increased complexities in the functions which it has long performed. They have also assisted the Board in meeting additional responsibilities, such as those required by new legislation, and in continuing to provide the high quality of service to which the public is entitled.