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.


41 Comments

  1. Rawhide says:

    This fee is a Smoke Screen!
    Cal Fire has to come up with monies to pay for their Exuberant retirement packages at age 50…that’s what this is really all about…imho…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  2. Jorge Estrada says:

    A state agency being tried in a state funded court, now isn’t that a sad state of affairs? If this new tax is allowed then why not others: CHP tax to pay for processing foreign violators that just leave, a tax to pay the legislation costs for new taxes and The Never Mind Tax to pay for the services we though were already covered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. R.Hodin says:

    It should come as no surprise that the Howard Jarvis group is opposed to ANY property tax, even ones which (like this one) are plainly fees for service for people who consciously choose to build in high fire-risk terrain.

    The Howard Jarvis group was formed to give corporations a life-time California property tax break and disguised it as a square deal for granny & grad dad, so that any effort to reform it would be repelled by millions of residential property owners at the drop of a pin.

    Howard Jarvis is a fraudulent group.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 19

    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      Well then by your logic we should start charging more for police in the inner city, more for ambulance’s that show up at convalesent homes, (more than standard public). Charge for people who are in car accidents. Extreme? Yes, but again by your logic where do you stop? And again if you are going to access them a fee as you call it, then should they get a break from police protection, because crime is not as high in rural areas as cities. Your logic is a slippery slope.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

      • R.Hodin says:

        It’s not my logic, it’s the logic born from the post-Howard Jarvis Prop 13 era, where in order for governments to cover the costs of basic services previously listed as general fund budget items, “special fees” need to be established to fund specific services as the general fund has bottomed out.

        It’s also a Republican mantra, this pay-for-services logic.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          It’s a Republican mantra? REALLY??? That’s strange. The fire bill had no Republican support. It was based by the Democrats!!!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

          • BeenThereDoneThat says:

            How the heck my finger typed a B on the left hand, instead of the P on the right for passed. I need to discipline my fingers for misbehaving.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

          • R.Hodin says:

            See my original post. All fees are now seen as “taxes” even though they are fees for service based on personal choices.

            Republican politicians are cowards who hide behind the powerful Howard Jarvis group.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

      • R.Hodin says:

        Sharp thinking!
        Lets tax the impoverished, destitute, diseased who “choose” to live in inner city slums! Let’s charge drivers who “choose” to be involved in car accidents! Let’s charge convalescents who inconveniently “choose” to have strokes!

        Are you running for office? I’d like to volunteer to put together your campaign PR.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          R. Hodin this isn’t my thinking it is YOURS!!!! You are the one suggesting to pay for services used. Hence go back and REREAD my first post. Again by YOUR thinking YOU are the one that wants to tax the inner city poor etc. Nice try at spin though. Better stick to your liberal site.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

          • R.Hodin says:

            The argument for the FEE is based on the effects of personal choice upon public services. I’ve never wavered from that simple statement. You are the one presenting the ridiculous and fallacious examples.

            You can spin it until doomsday, but you’re not fooling anyone. Own it. Grow a spine.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

            • BeenThereDoneThat says:

              Hodin, WE ALREADY PAY TAXES FOR ALL SERVICES!!! So why impose fees???

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    • Mr. Holly says:

      You are wrong. I have a home in the unincorporated part of the county. A portion of my taxes already goes toward fire protection. And now I’m going to be charged an additional tax for “fire prevention.” I really get upset about this additional tax when I can look out my front window and see the CDF fire station that is located about 1000 feet from my house. Now is that rural? There are homes within incorporated city’s that are much farther from fire protection than I am and they are not subject to this additional tax.
      ANOTHER RIP OFF! THANKS FIREMEN. No more boot donations for me.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

      • R.Hodin says:

        What part of my statement do you disagree with?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

        • Mr. Holly says:

          Everything! The cost of government spending and its waste needs to be reduced not supplemented.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

          • R.Hodin says:

            SO, you’re telling me as part of this spending reduction effort that you’re willing to forego certain government services, and to deny them to others?

            Would you care to list a few?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

            • Mr. Holly says:

              Yup! All of the lazy’s can get off their dead asses and turn in their entitlements and let me enjoy my retirement instead of defending myself against the robbery of my assets by the government. Enough is enough. If you are digging it, turn everything you have over to the government and give me credit so I can call it even. Then I guess you can get on the Obama socialist train and ride off into entitlement heaven.
              Are you a CalPoly professor by chance or a fireman?

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    • smiley says:

      Howard Jarvis may represent corporate interests as well as the hard working citizens that are being ripped off by their state government that just does not get it, we are sick of goverment waste and want them to stop spending

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

      • R.Hodin says:

        You just made my point. The little guy can be depended upon to defend Prop 13 at a pin drop.

        I’d be more sympathetic to your plight if you were willing to support up a discussion towards reforming Prop 13, but no, it’s just a non-thinking, knee-jerk reaction: “I’m so sick of . . .”

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          Hodin, I live on a large lot with a 2200 sq foot home purchaced around 2000, in the city of Paso Robles I paid under 300k for it and pay $5000.00 dollars a year in properity taxes. Without prop. 13 I would even pay more. That doesn’t even take into account yet my vehicle taxes, Fed and State, franchise for phones’ and t.v., sales tax etc. etc. etc.

          At what I pay, am I not paying my fair share? You libs always whine about how to spend others money, NO ONE is stopping you from sending in more. Go ahead. You don’t have to wait for the rest of us.

          I am SICK and tired of your ILK whining that the rest of us don’t pay enough and need to pay more. WE DO!!!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

          • R.Hodin says:

            I don’t care in the least how much you pay. Everybody pays too much. Besides, this isn’t a pissing contest. Just saying that there needs to be a discussion about reforming Prop 13. Not saying your special protections as a residential property owner by Prop 13 should be thrown out. I believe that everybody should be secure in their homes.

            But tell me this. If a reform Prop 13 discussion revealed that your taxes could actually be reduced by exempting corporations from Prop 13, would you turn the offer down?

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

            • BeenThereDoneThat says:

              Nice try on the going down on taxes. It won’t. All the libs want to do is over turn prop 13 and open the door to even HIGHER taxes. That is where we came from before it. THAT is the reality.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    • zaphod says:

      ” the man who tells the truth is chased from nine villages ” old proverb from Turkey

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    • Al says:

      “even ones which (like this one) are plainly fees for service for people who consciously choose to build in high fire-risk terrain.”

      What exactly is the service rendered for fee? Seems like an educational blitz not a fee for fire fighting.

      Even if you can almost see a CDF station from your house you have to pay to educate fellow “rural” out of city boundary property owners about fire suppression even when you live within multiple fire protection coverage.

      Don’t forget this is classic trickle down, if you rent on a rural property the rent will go up to cover this assessment/tax. Is it worth it?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • R.Hodin says:

        As I understand it, the costs of fire suppression have increased with Earth warming/drought, causing the budget to shift away from edu to fire supression. This bill backstops the edu component. Unless you’ve got a way to cool the Earth, the trend will continue.

        But hey, if you want to take the initiative and drive around the sticks and “educate” your neighbors, knock yourself out. It builds a sense of community.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  4. CommonSenseMama says:

    It is too bad the unions use up so much of our tax money intended to fight fires.

    Our state government is not competent nor efficient enough to run our fire departments. (i.e. changing the name to Cal Fire when funds for such a change were lacking.)

    I like the idea of opt in services. If you want to be able to utilize your local department’s services, you need to pay the annual fee that subsidizes such costs. If not, then you are on your own. I am tired of paying for the irresponsibility of others.

    Responsibility starts with accountability- something lacking greatly in our country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

    • BeenThereDoneThat says:

      Opt in fee!?? Really? How about the properity taxes that they are paying? For a lot of the parcels of around ten acres that would be at least 5k a year. They aren’t paying their share? What color is the sky in your world?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

      • CommonSenseMama says:

        I am not suggesting that they are not paying their fair share. What I am trying to say is that there is not enough say in how that tax money is spent. California’s government is not spending our tax money wisely. That is the reason they are now asking for more.

        I absolutely don’t mind paying my “fair share”. I do mind paying for someone else.

        And since you asked, the sky is clear and beautifully blue today. Cooler than usual… maybe global warming? I better go change some light bulbs.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          I agree on the fact that California does not spend our money wisely. Hence why I’m voting NO on Brown’s request for more sales tax.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

          • R.Hodin says:

            Fear-driven motivation just leads to more fear and paranoia. Sad to see you’re not even willing to go halfway.

            Dialog over.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

            • BeenThereDoneThat says:

              Willing to go halfway? I pay all kinds of TAXES!! I have went WAY PAST halfway. How about you (liberal types) and the Gov. start living with the taxes that you already have.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

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