SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, today released a statement about the California Board of Forestry and Fire Prevention’s vote to make the new $150 fire fee permanent. The $150 fire fee was implemented with a simple majority vote by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Brown in July 2011.
“The decision by the Department of Forestry to make the fire tax permanent is disappointing and premature,” Jones said. “The fire tax is nothing more than political sleight of hand and clearly does not pass Constitutional or ethical muster.”
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is currently suing the state over the illegal “fee”. Jones has long been a vocal opponent and jointly authored AB 1506 last year to repeal the fire tax. He called attention to Proposition 26, passed by California voters in 2010 which expressly prohibits the Legislature from using loopholes to raise taxes by disguising them as fees and therefore circumventing the Constitutional requirements for passing higher taxes.
“This legislation wrongly labels a ‘tax’ as a ‘fee’ and also double-taxes residents by combining new ‘fees’ with current local fire district assessments. This has a disproportionate and devastating financial impact on the residents of my district in eastern San Diego and Riverside counties, many of whom have called my offices and written a petition for redetermination against the illegal tax.”
“Democrats are using stunts like this so they can direct more money to health and welfare programs, rather than funding budget priorities such as fire protection and education. Furthermore, they used scare tactics and tricked voters into raising their own taxes by approving Proposition 30.”
“There has to come a time when the taxpayers of California say ‘enough is enough’ – and push back against the government that is taxing them too much.”