Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law with the budget bill that requires rural homeowners to pay as much as $150 annually for state fire prevention services, raising an estimated $50 million this fiscal year.
The new fee is designed to replace funds for Cal Fire that were removed in the current state budget. State Sen. Ted Gaines is moving forward to reverse that new burden on rural homeowners. He says AB X1 29 that applies to 800,000 properties is an illegal tax.
“When you have a special district, you’re already paying for fire service. Often counties have contractual arrangements with CalFire, so why are rural residents being taxed again? In my view, it’s an illegal tax. These are taxpaying citizens that are paying state taxes. They’re paying local taxes. To me, the least we can do is make sure that they have fire protection.”
Senator Gaines is now collecting signatures to qualify for a ballot initiative to repeal the tax and is calling on property owners affected by the tax to help.
“We’re in the process of setting up a website. You’ll be able to download a petition and we’re trying to get citizens engaged and get signatures collected and we’ve got to work very hard. We’ve got a very short timeframe in order to get it to qualify.”
You can learn more about Senator Ted Gaines efforts at ted gaines.com