|Fire Prevention Fee is a Tax|
After the results of Tuesday's election and the realization that California is once again the highest taxed state in the nation, one more tax that the State calls a fee is unacceptable. Even if it is for fire prevention in a high risk area, many of the residents who are receiving bills from the State of California are already paying for fire prevention through their property taxes or via a local fire protection district. This "fire prevention fee" amounts to a double or triple tax.
What's worse is that the revenue generated won't even go towards fighting fires or clearing brush. At best, you'll receive a pamphlet in the mail telling you to maintain defensible space around your home. The rest of the money will go towards underfunded State liabilities.
I am staunchly opposed to the fee, and the Board of Supervisors has taken a position to unanimously oppose it as well. Not only that, but government watchdog groups are getting into the fight also. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has filed a class action lawsuit to block the fee.
So what should you do?
1) Despite our definitive objection to the fee and our belief that it is illegal, I must strongly urge you to pay your bill in order to avoid any fines that might result from waiting or failing to pay. If the courts disagree with us and uphold the fee, that money will be due regardless of our opinion and the State is authorized to collect penalties and interest in instances where fees are not paid in a timely fashion. Payment plans can be set up through the State Board of Equalization by calling (800) 400-7115; select option "4" to be connected to an operator.
2) Contact your State representatives and/or Governor Jerry Brown, and let them know you are opposed to the fee. To find your representative, click here. To email the Governor, click here.
We will continue to monitor the legal status of the fire prevention fee and voice our objection. If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.