Fire Fee Bills Delayed and HJTA Lawsuit Received by State
There have been two major developments with the Fire Fee in the last month: the state officially received the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association lawsuit challenging the fire fee and Cal Fire requested that the Board of Equalization delay the billing of this year’s bills.
On March 12th, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association formally served the State Board of Equalization, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Department of Justice with their class action lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed late last year, challenges the constitutionality of the fire fee.
Days later, the Mountain Democrat reported that a recent Cal Fire investigation found “errors and inconsistencies” in State Responsibility Area (SRA) boundaries. Among its findings, the review identified more than 1,300 parcels in El Dorado Hills that don’t belong in the SRA.
Because the state shouldn’t be knowingly sending tax bills to anyone who doesn’t actually owe the money, I wrote a letter to Cal Fire requesting a delay in the 2012-13 billing until it could be determined who actually lived within the SRA boundaries.
I noted in my letter that “As a matter of fairness, it is important that the billing of these accounts be delayed until these ‘errors and inconsistencies’ are resolved by the Board of Forestry.”
The next day, the Board of Equalization received a request from Cal Fire to delay the billing of the 2012-13 fire fee bills, which were scheduled to begin mailing April 2nd.
The fire fee is tax policy at its worst. Ever since the Legislature enacted this illegal tax, it’s created one problem after another. If the Legislature doesn’t act quickly to repeal this fiasco, the courts need to strike it down.
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