Illegal tax pays for new state employees

June 7, 2012

Katy Grimes: California lawmakers apparently didn’t get the message voters sent on Tuesday night.

Earlier today, the Sen. Budget Committee approved Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to spend another $6.4 million collecting the State Responsibility Area fire tax, passed in 2011. Referred to by Democrats as a “rural fire fee,” the new tax imposes a hefty charge of up to $150 “on each habitable structure within the SRAs.”

But the new fire tax was passed only by a simple majority of the Legislature, despite tha mandate from Proposition 26, the 2010 ballot initiative which requires a two-thirds vote for any increase in fees or taxes. Prop 26 was passed to stop politicians from raising taxes by calling them “fees.”

Democrats claim that this “fee” is needed to finance fire prevention efforts by the California Department of Forestry.

“Why are we approving millions of dollars and 57 new paid positions for a program that will be challenged and likely overturned in court?” Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, asked. “The majority party has found so many loopholes to pass this illegal tax that I cannot imagine it will be upheld under any judicial scrutiny.”

Fortunately, AB 1506, by Assemblymen Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, and Kevin Jeffries, R-Lake Elsinore, was written to repeal the fire tax.

The State Responsibility Areas include more than 31 million acres of land in every county in the state except San Francisco and Sutter counties.

AB 1506 points out that the CDF fire protection budget has more than doubled in the last 15 years. “In 1996-97, the Department’s fire protection base budget was $226 million,” the bill states. The Governor’s 2012-13 Budget reports that the current budget for fire protection is $996,332 million, and total Department of Forestry and Fire Protection budget is $1,173,857.

Language in the bill analysis stated that the latest fire protection fee/tax was passed merely to plug a state budget hole.

However, even if by some miracle AB 1506 is passed, rural home and land owners will still be taxed this year and next for the fire fee; the repeal only becomes effective in 2013.

AB 1506 passed the Assembly Natural Resources Committee 7-2, which is led by Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro, D-Humbolt, who voted in favor of the repeal. Chesbro represents California’s most Northern counties, and a great deal of rural areas.

Two Democrats didn’t agree with the repeal of the illegal tax: Assembly members Nancy Skinner from Berkeley, and Roger Dickinson from Sacramento voted “no.”


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  1. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 7 June, 2012, 18:00

    Hanging is too good for them Donk. I wonder how AB 1506 will do with a floor vote. I am frankly surprised it got out of committee by such a wide margin given that it repeals another bloodsucking “fee”. Every Demonrat legislator who supports this tax knows it is illegal but they don’t care. They are truly despicable lawless tyrants. Politicians like this are starting to make monarchy look respectable again.

    Reply this comment
  2. queeg
    queeg 7 June, 2012, 18:23

    N. San Diego County has suspect fire protection…local residents vote no on solving most of the problems.

    Let the area burn up again????

    What is the conservative solution??

    Reply this comment
  3. Donkey
    Donkey 8 June, 2012, 09:54

    So history is going to rewritten? No wonder the RAGWUS has become so powerful in this state! 😉

    Reply this comment
  4. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 8 June, 2012, 10:55

    There’s no reason people living in incorporated areas with their own fire services should be required to subsidize fire protection for those who choose to live out in the country. If the country people want fire protection when the wildfires come, they should pay their own way.

    That’s precisely what the rural fire fee requires. It’s a good thing.

    Reply this comment
  5. queeg
    queeg 8 June, 2012, 11:54

    Skippy has done an excellent analysis…Doomsday Preppers living in bomb shelters in the country need professional fire protection…..and contribute fees accordingly!

    Reply this comment
  6. Donkey
    Donkey 8 June, 2012, 12:24

    SKdog, they do pay their own way, the problem is that the RAGWUS has gamed the FF racket to the point that everything in government is obscenely expensive. The pay, benefits, perks and pensions for you parasites always requires more, with even less protection. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  7. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 8 June, 2012, 13:21

    If there’s really that level of toxic and unpayable assets, do you really think the damage will be limited to pension funds, Beelzebub? You’ll also see every mom and pop saver and investor wiped out – all their 401’s, IRA’s, 529’s, etc. — gone….

    I know you’re constantly hoping for the big apocalypse to arrive, financial or otherwise, but the fate of the pension funds and their retirees is you fate as well.

    That’s the part I enjoy.

    Reply this comment
  8. Hondo
    Hondo 8 June, 2012, 15:41

    The tax-fee is illegal. But as a former wildland firefighter for the forest service, it is those isolated, and many times, huge expensive houses out by them selves that are most dangerous for us firefighters. The rich want to be by themselves and so they suround them selves with 10’s of acres of brush and trees. And we have to drive through dangerous brushy roads to isolated houses with out enough water to try and save their mansions and their poodles. Often we let those places burn up. Sorry about the dog mam.
    We don’t need the extra taxes, we need the owners to cut down the brush, around the houses and along the roads. And fine them, not tax them, if they don’t.
    And if its too dangerous, well, sorry about the Lexus and the poodle mam.

    Reply this comment
  9. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 8 June, 2012, 16:28

    Where did Beelzebub’s earlier comments go? Did he finally go off the reservation and get himself zotted?

    Reply this comment
  10. Donkey
    Donkey 8 June, 2012, 20:16

    SKdog, he is only gone till Monday, but you already know the truth of the matter. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  11. Bob Smith
    Bob Smith 8 June, 2012, 22:25

    “We don’t need the extra taxes, we need the owners to cut down the brush, around the houses and along the roads.”

    I’m sure they’d love to, if state and federal environmental regulations didn’t in all likelihood prohibit it.

    Reply this comment
  12. queeg
    queeg 8 June, 2012, 23:29

    Skippy. Read posts under ABUSIVE POSTS deleted….

    Reply this comment
  13. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 9 June, 2012, 14:02

    Where did Teddys comments go??????

    Reply this comment
  14. IllegalTaxes
    IllegalTaxes 13 June, 2012, 21:02

    The rationale for the fee/tax/ whatever is perfectly reasonable, but that tax still has to be passed in a LEGAL manner.

    Reply this comment

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