Van Tran to run for Board of Equalization

Former state Assemblyman Van Tran announced Monday that he will run for a seat on the California Board of Equalization.

Michelle Steel, a Surfside resident who currently holds the District 4 seat that Tran seeks, will be termed-out next year. She is running for the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

The five-member Board of Equalization handles tax administration and fee collections in California, including sales, use, property and special taxes, and acts as a appellate body for franchise and income tax appeals.

If elected, Tran said in a news release, he is planning to spearhead several reforms.

For example, currently if California claims that a resident or business owner owes taxes to the state and the taxpayer decides to appeal the claim, it is up to the taxpayer to prove that the money is not owed.

Instead, Tran said, the burden of proof should be on the state.

"I intend to speak and be a champion for the California taxpayers," he said.

District 4 encompasses a large portion of Southern California, including all of Orange County. If elected, Tran would represent nearly 10 million residents.

Tran was elected as a Republican to the 68th Assembly District in 2004, becoming the first Vietnamese American in the nation to serve in any state legislature.

Tran served for six years, establishing himself as a fiscal conservative. His district covered Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Westminster, Garden Grove, Stanton and parts of Anaheim. The district’s boundaries have since been redrawn and now include Irvine, Anaheim, Lake Forest, Orange, Tustin and Villa Park.

Assemblywoman Diane L. Harkey (R-Dana Point) and state Sen. Mark Wyland (R-Escondido) are also running for the District 4 seat. Board members serve four-year terms.

Hannah Fry


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