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BOE Chair Cohen speaks at Black leadership luncheon in Fresno

FRESNO, CA—Board of Equalization (BOE) chair Malia M. Cohen met with a number of African-American leaders during a lunch meeting yesterday at the Downtown Club in Fresno, CA to get a better understanding of the economic challenges Black people face in the Central Valley. Cohen also gave attendees a better understanding of what her job entails as an elected official.

Elected official, State Center Community College District Board of Trustee Eric Payne orchestrates the quarterly African-American leadership luncheons to keep the community informed of policy affecting African-Americans as well as meeting Black leaders, such as Cohen, in powerful state-elected positions.

California’s BOE comprises as the only elected tax board in the United States. One Member is elected from each of the BOE’s four Equalization Districts, each representing approximately 9.5 million constituents. The State Controller, elected at large, serves as the BOE’s fifth member.

Created in 1879 by a constitutional amendment, the California BOE was initially responsible for ensuring county property tax assessment practices were equal and uniform throughout California.

Today, the BOE administers 39 tax and fee programs that generate more than $60 billion in revenue for California, including the state’s sales and use tax, as well as fuel, alcohol, tobacco, and other special taxes and fees that fund specific state and local government programs and services, including public safety programs, hospitals, and health care services, transportation and housing, social service programs, and natural resource management.

The BOE also plays a critical role with regard to California property taxes and it acts as the appellate body for franchise and income tax appeals.

BOE chair Malia M. Cohen represents over ten million Californians in 23 counties in California State Board of Equalization’s District 2.

Cohen previously served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors representing District 10 and served as its president, having a number of accolades under her belt in such a short period of time.

In 2013, Cohen and Jane Kim authored the Fair Chance ordinance, a "ban the box" legislation barring employers and landlords from asking applicants to state their criminal history on applications, which passed the Board of Supervisors unanimously.

In 2014, Cohen was re-elected for a second term to represent District 10; she publicly defended San Francisco's sanctuary city Laws, which drew the attention of Fox News Host Bill O'Reilly.

After the shooting death of Kathryn Steinle by an undocumented immigrant, O'Reilly had been critical of San Francisco and its elected officials. O'Reilly said that Cohen should be placed under arrest for her comments defending San Francisco's Sanctuary City Policy.

In 2017, Cohen introduced a landmark tobacco control ordinance which restricted the sale of all flavored tobacco products in the City of San Francisco, prohibiting retailers from selling any tobacco product, whether cigarette, smokeless, e-product, or otherwise, that has an added characterizing flavor.

Cohen succeeded London Breed as president of the Board of Supervisors on June 26, 2018, following Breed's election as mayor of San Francisco.

Cohen received her B.A. in Political Science from Fisk University and later an M.S. in Public Policy & Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Watch video excerpt above of BOE Chair Cohen speaking with attendees.

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