Rural fire fee facing court test
October 5, 2012
A lawsuit has been filed in Sacramento challenging a $150 “fire prevention” fee now assessed on 825,000 rural properties in California. (San Jose Mercury News)
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association seeks declaration regarding the fee’s validity, and seeks refunds for those who have, or will, pay the fee. The group asserts the assessment is actually a tax, and was passed without the obligatory approval of voters. Taxpayers began to get bills from the state in August.
Joining the lawsuit were 11 plaintiffs from nine counties. It names as defendants the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the state Board of Equalization.
More than 300,000 bill have been sent, and 12,674 appeals received. The fee is expected to raise $84.4 million for the state firefighting agency.