Assembly and Senate Republicans have introduced legislation to overturn a State Responsibility Area fire tax. Assembly Bill X1 45, will repeal the fire tax that was passed as part of this year’s Democrat majority vote budget. The state fire board recently passed emergency regulations that set the tax starting at $70 – $90 per structure in “State Responsibility Areas” located primarily in rural and unincorporated parts of the state.
Republicans said the fire tax was unfair because many communities pay local taxes for fire protection that is on top of the services provided by CalFire. Assemblyman Dan Logue says, In effect, homeowners will be double-taxed for the same level of service.
“This fire tax fee, an increase up to $175 per dwelling and $1 per acre is another example of taxing and spending. The state of California can’t live within its means, so the people of California have become its ATM machines.”
Republicans pointed out that the fire tax was unconstitutional because voters approved Proposition 26 last year. That measure required new fees that benefit the public broadly to pass by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or by local voters. The legislature passed the tax with a simple majority.
Finally, Republicans argued that the tax is unnecessary, since Democrats seized money from the firefighting budget to pay for big government programs such as welfare and then imposed the fire tax as a way to help fill the gap. With the new fire tax barely weeks old, the Brown Administration wants to raise the tax even more, to $175 per home and taxing land as well at up to $1 per acre, which Republicans said will impose more financial burdens on struggling homeowners.