Fire Fee Refund?
Emergency - fire fighters
Sacramento, CA - The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) has filed a lawsuit against the California State Board of Equalization, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Department of Justice challenging the constitutionality of the state's Fire Fee.
The lawsuit states, "The class action suit seeks to overturn the fire fee, which costs property owners an additional $150 per year for each habitable structure on their property. HJTA is challenging the constitutionality of the fee on the grounds it is really a tax that needed a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to pass, but garnered only a bare majority and therefore never became law."
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association Jon Coupal says, "The fire tax is a direct violation of Prop. 13. It is our goal to overturn this tax, prevent the politicians from taking more money from hardworking people for a program they were already paying for, and help taxpayers to get a refund from the government."
The BOE says Californians who still owe their fire prevention fees should pay their bill or continue with their payment plans, and appeal to CAL FIRE if they believe they have been billed in error.
One vocal opponent of the fire fee is BOE member George Runner. He supports the lawsuit. Runner says as of March 1, about 72% of bills have been paid in full and 6% paid in part netting the state $72 million. Runner says last year, between August and December, the state mailed more than 760,000 bills for fiscal year 2011-12.
HJTA says if the class action suit is successful, nearly 825,000 homeowners could be eligible for refunds. They say to be eligible for a refund, property owners must first pay their bill, and then file a protest with the State. Click here for more information.
Written by Tracey Petersen
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