Reporting from Sacramento — All four seats on California's elected tax board are up for grabs this November, but in three of the four contests incumbents have an inside track to reelection.
The low-profile Board of Equalization has been divided equally between two seats favoring Democrats and two favoring Republicans since its districts were last redrawn in 2001. Board members are charged with collecting state sales taxes, arbitrating taxpayer disputes with the government and determining which companies are eligible for California tax breaks.
Democratic board member Jerome Horton, an appointee of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is running for a full term in his Los Angeles County-based seat. He faces opposition from three minor-party candidates.
Incumbent Republican Michelle Steel of Rolling Hills, who represents much of Southern California outside of Los Angeles, faces perennial Democratic challenger Mary Christian Heising of La Jolla and three minor-party hopefuls.