Tuesday, August 14, 2012

California Officials Square Off Against Rural Residents Over Fire Fee

More than 800,000 Californians who own property in wildfire country will begin receiving bills this week for a new annual fire-protection fee, rekindling outrage among rural residents and leading to a likely lawsuit seeking to overturn the surcharge. Some 850,000 Californians who own property in wildfire country will begin receiving bills this week for a fee that is destined for a legal fight. Gov. Jerry Brown sought the fee, which can run as high as $150 a year, as a way to help fund the state's firefighting efforts. The fee, passed by Democrats in the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, is intended to raise an estimated $84 million in its first year for fire-prevention efforts. The annual charge can run as high as $150 for property owners with a single occupied dwelling, although there is a $35 discount for those who already pay a local tax for fire protection. The bills start going out Monday and will have been issued to more than 825,000 property owners by year's end. They are being sent to counties in alphabetical order, so residents of Alameda, Alpine and Amador counties will be first in line. The fee was imposed on those who own property within the 31 million rural acres covered by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, a responsibility area that includes about one-third of the state. Brown sought the fee mostly to help close the state's budget deficit, calling it "a fee consistent with the 'beneficiary pays principle'," in his signing message. If additional money can be raised and dedicated to CalFire, he reasoned, a similar amount could go to other state services that have experienced deep budget cuts...more

This is clearly a policy to extract capital from rural areas and use it to fund urban programs.

The Urban Brand is on the land.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice to see the folks will be paying their fair share for public services. If the money isn't needed for fire protection, it should be returned to them, though.