Lawsuit to be Considered Against State for Rural Fire Protection Fee
Counties with residents who will be particularly affected by the signing of ABX1 29 may be interested in knowing that the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors is considering a lawsuit to challenge the controversial bill that will charge rural residents of the state for fire protection. Supervisor Neil Derry is a particularly harsh critic, as he has called the fee an illegal tax and a violation of the terms of Proposition 26. Derry commented that “Over the last couple of years, Californians have expressed their opposition to higher taxes and attempts to hide tax increases in the name of fee increases. My constituents believe they are being taxed by the state for a service they are already paying for at the local level and that the state will simply use this money to fund other services.” Derry also noted that the bill was particularly frustrating in light of the news that the state would no longer fund an air supertanker program that fights wildfires through air drops.
Critics of the bill include property owners in regions of the state where residents already assess themselves to ensure they are covered by local fire services, so they argue the bill will amount to double taxation. We’ve relayed previously that the fee will be around $150 and that the state is hoping to rake in $50 million in revenues. A news release from San Bernardino noted that “Today, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors authorized legal counsel to investigate and pursue legal remedies against the state in response to the recent passage and signing of Assembly Bill X1-29 by Governor Jerry Brown.”