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800,000 California Residents getting billed $150 for Fire Protection Fee

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Pile of Money - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - Around 800,000 residents in California will be receiving or have recently received a bill for $150, and some say that the money will do nothing for them except help the state government balance their budget. The tax was called the Fire Protection “Fee,” which has been questioned for fairness because the fee does not give the homeowner any new additional benefit.

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and George Runner, State Senator (Ret.), and member of the California State Board of Equalization, have both said this “fee” is not fair and targets residents living in areas that might use the state run fire service.

“This tax is arguably the most blatant and transparent theft from taxpayers I have ever witnessed” said Neil Derry, San Bernardino County Board Supervisor. “Most of our residents subject to this tax will not benefit one iota because this money is actually going to fund the state budget deficit.”

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors also explained that these property owners in these areas already pay an assessment for fire protection and prevention services. The new “fee” is creating a situation where homeowners are being double billed.

George Runner explained on CalFireFee.com that the Governor and Legislature called it a “fee” so they would not have to take it to the voters for a two-thirds approval. Runner said that he plans to join in on the lawsuit to stop this fee; but says his group cannot file the lawsuit until after the bills have been mailed out.

Homeowners can learn more about how to arrange for payments and learn more about the new law. Local fee areas includes Phelan, Pinon Hills, Wrightwood, portions of Lucerne Valley, some of Hesperia, and most areas that are near the mountains. The California state government has made a website at http://firepreventionfee.org/sraviewer.php where residents can lookup the areas and to file an appeal.

This is a statewide collection effort. The State Board of Equalization has been mailing the bills out at a rate of around 10,000 every day. As of October 1, 2012, the State Board of Equalization had 45,848 property owners who paid the bill in full, 740 bills were partially paid, and 35,756 bills were unpaid and overdue. The state has raised $7,826,507 from this “fee” as of October 1, according to the CalFireFee.com website.

By: Dave Reddy

ref: 1
http://www.sbcounty.gov/uploads/CAO/pressreleases/content/SRA_Fire_Tax_PR_10-12-12_FINAL.pdf

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