On Tuesday, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association filed suit against the California State Board of Equalization (“BOE”), Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and the Department of Justice. The association filed suit alleging that the state’s Fire Prevention Fee is unconstitutional and is really an illegal tax.
George Runner, a board member of BOE was opposed to the tax from the very beginning, and is pleased that the lawsuit is moving forward. According to Runner, the state’s misuse of the revenue derived from the Fire Prevention Fee strengthens the case that the fee is nothing more than an illegal tax and should be repealed.
Although being vocal about his opposition to the fire fee, Runner has advised impacted Californians to continue paying the fee because it is a current law. About 72 percent of bills have been paid in full thus far while 6 percent have been partially paid, generating approximately $72 million in revenue for the state.
The State of California is expected to release a second round of bills to property owners in rural areas for the fiscal year of 2012 through 2013. During the previous year, the state issued more than 760,000 bills to rural property owners for the collection of the fire prevention fee. Runner urges the state’s legislature to repeal the fee so that Californians would not be required to pay another dollar towards the illegal fee.