Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fire fee lawsuit received by state

From page B1 | March 18, 2013 | 3 Comments

SACRAMENTO – According to George Runner, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association March 12 formally served the California State Board of Equalization, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Department of Justice with a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s “Fire Prevention Fee.”

“The wheels of justice grind slowly, but I’m pleased that this vitally important lawsuit is moving forward,” said Runner. “Recent revelations regarding the state’s misuse of fire fee dollars have only strengthened our case that the ‘fire fee’ is really an illegal tax.”

Runner plans to formally join the lawsuit by filing an amicus brief on behalf of California taxpayers he represents.

Both during his time in the Legislature and as an elected member of the State Board of Equalization, Runner has been a vocal opponent of the fire fee. But he has also encouraged impacted Californians to pay the fee because it is current law.

So far most taxpayers are following Runner’s advice. As of March 1, about 72 percent of bills have been paid in full and 6 percent paid in part, yielding $72 million in revenue to the state.

“While a lawsuit is one way to stop this regressive and unconstitutional tax, an even better approach would be for the Legislature to simply repeal it. And they ought to do so before one more Californian is forced to forfeit one more dollar.”

The State of California is currently gearing up to send a second round of bills to rural property owners for fiscal year 2012-13. An updated mailing schedule will soon be available at and

Between August and December last year, the state mailed more than 760,000 bills for fiscal year 2011-12.

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than 9 million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit


Discussion | 3 comments

  • barf13March 18, 2013 - 6:58 pm

    How wonderful. Great advice, no. So what is the common person supposed to do ? I paid my two fire fees, but I don't think I'm going to do it again. Both of those properties are in extremley, high danger, fire zones. I'm already paying close to $4,000/year in fire and liablity policies. Why does the state want to rip me off for another $300.00 ?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • DB SmithMarch 18, 2013 - 7:37 pm

    I don't want to pay again either barf. In fact I want a frigin refund with interest. Total government rip off. I work my as* off around here to keep it manageable in case of a fire and have always paid my taxes which already include fire prevention. It's criminal!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CarmilMarch 18, 2013 - 8:58 pm

    I petitioned for a review and waiver as I keep my property clear hundereds of feet in every direction. There was a fire on Pilot Hill a couple of years ago and three Cal Fire Battalion Chiefs called out instructions to fight the fire from my front yard as it was the clearest most unobstructed view. They lied to the local news teams saying they had plenty of air support available and were loudly yelling into the radios to the contrary all aircraft were in So Cal and in repair. Now they want me to pay. Secondly, I get a notice from the State Board of Equalization that they cannot make a decision to review a tax they are enforcing and collecting? Simple, all residents taxed or none without representation and a vote to change current California State Law. I am longing for the days that Integrity was of higher importance than Policy, purely for self-interest under the guise of authority.

    Reply | Report abusive comment


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