SACRAMENTO – North State Assemblyman and Chief Republican Whip Dan Logue today blasted a decision by the California Board of Forestry and Fire Prevention to make a new fire fee permanent. The fee has been challenged in a lawsuit as an illegal tax by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
“This fee is and always has been an illegal tax,” said Logue. “The board’s decision to make it permanent does not take away from the fact that this supposed fee was passed without the proper vote as required by the State Constitution.”
The State Responsibility Area fee, also known as the fire tax, was implemented by AB 1x29 (2011). The bill passed by a simple majority vote in the state legislature with Logue and all other Republicans voting in opposition. This action was in direct violation of Propositions 13 and 218 passed by the voters which require a two-thirds vote of the legislature to pass additional tax increases. Beginning in August, over 800,000 Californians living in rural communities began receiving two $150 tax bills charging them for fire protection services already covered by homeowners’ fees.
“This decision just represents another knock against those Californians who choose to live in rural areas,” Logue added. “I sympathize with the tens of thousands of honest, hard-working households in my district who are already struggling and will no doubt struggle more with this additional burden placed upon them.”
The board’s move means the fee will become permanent in the next thirty days. The lawsuit against the fee has been filed in Sacramento Superior Court, and currently awaits a hearing.