As you know, residents living in unincorporated areas are receiving a tax bill incorrectly labeled the “California Fire Prevention Fee.” Unfortunately, this tax has much more to do with budgeting than it does with fighting fires.
Article 13A, section 3(a) of the California Constitution, as amended by Proposition 26, reads: “Any change in state statute which results in any taxpayer paying a higher tax must be … passed by not less than two-thirds of all members elected to each of the two houses of the Legislature.” Section 3(b) then defines “tax” to mean “any levy, charge, or exaction of any kind imposed by the State,” unless it fits one of five listed exceptions.
The fire tax was designated a fee, allowing passage by a simple majority. In response, last session I co-authored legislation to overturn the tax. Unfortunately, that legislation failed due to majority party opposition. This session, another attempt to repeal the tax, SB 198 by Senator Mike Morrell, R – Rancho Cucamonga, failed to pass the Natural Resources Committee.
Fortunately, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed suit. Most of you have received a letter from the Board of Equalization asking you to sign a “Petition for Redetermination.” Simply check the last box (Other reasons). You will also need to “explain and provide documentation” and include that information with your petition.
Please visit: firetaxprotest.org/ or contact my District Office at 760-480- 7570 for language necessary to explain and document the petition.
If the lawsuit succeeds and you returned your petition within the allotted 30 days, your payment should be refunded.
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Marie Waldron represents the 75th Assembly District.