Saturday, October 27, 2012

WTF!- Fire Tax??

1. Stupid irresponsible "hiker" sets a 200,000 acre fire creating one of the largest catastrophes in San Diego history. It is known as the Witch Creek Fire in 2003.

2. Poorly maintained power lines and high winds created the Harris Ranch Fire in 2007

3. Mother Nature caused a lightening triggered fire that burned over 15,000 acres near Julian in East San Diego county in 2012.

These are just the fires in East San Diego County in the last eight years. California has a history of epic level fires. It's part of our seasonal preparation in California. I grew up in Monterey County. Every year we had some wild land fire. Ironically, some of them were started by the Navy on Army property.

Now, many of us who live in rural communities are being given additional tax bills for $150 to help fund CalFire. It is a blanket tax to anyone who lives in a rural community even if CalFire isn't represented.

What??!!! Wait... let me understand this.... I am being taxed-again- for services that we already pay taxes on? Residence who live in towns and cities don't have to pay this additional tax even though CalFire does show up during major wildfires. This tax was created illegally but if I don't pay it I could loose my home?!

I feel like I am being punished for living in the country.

This is according to the Howard Jarvis Tax Payers Association


The State of California has begun mailing bills to rural property owners for fire prevention.
If you own habitable property in CalFire’s jurisdiction (known as the State Responsibility Area), you are affected.  You will eventually receive two bills this year–one for the State’s 2011-2012 fiscal year, and one for its 2012-2013 fiscal year.
Each bill will be $150 per habitable structure on your property.  For example, if you have one house on your property, and no other habitable structures, you will receive two bills this year totaling $300.  On each bill there should be a $35 credit if you already pay a special tax or assessment to a local fire protection agency.
This new annual fee was imposed by the Legislature (all Democrats in favor, all Republicans opposed) at the request of Governor Brown.  It is being collected by the Board of Equalization and administered by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE DUE DATE.  You may have fewer than 30 days to pay.  If you are late, there is a 20% penalty, plus interest.  Every 30 days after that, another 20% penalty is added, plus interest.  The fee is a lien on your property, and failure to pay can result in foreclosure.

Is this legal? Is this even constitutional?
According to the California Budget Fact Checker site... NO! 

  • Assembly Bill 29x requires homeowners in State Responsibility Areas to pay a fire tax of $150 annually, but they do not receive any additional fire protection.
  • The fire tax violates Proposition 26, which requires any new fee or tax that broadly benefits the public to pass by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.  Assembly Bill 29x passed with only a majority vote.
  • The 2011-12 Budget Act includes $50 million in new fire tax expenditures and the Governor proposes $48 million for 2012-13.  During the same period, General Fund baseline expenditures have been reduced by $191 million, requiring reductions in engine and dozer crews, Tahoe basin staffing and air attack capabilities.  Any revenue collected from the fire tax is not meant to backfill these reductions.
  • The Governor's reliance on up to $88 million from the illegal tax could create an additional hole in the 2012-13 budget.  For example, the Board of Equalization recently estimated fire tax revenues could be $67 million. This uncertainty will put additional pressure on next year's budget.  The state has already borrowed $50 million from the General Fund in 2011-12 to make up for uncollected fire taxes.

I have to pay additional taxes without the benefit of additional fire protection?!  To read more click here...

Okay, my head hurts!

Anyone else see this as wrong?!

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