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Rural Fire Protection Tax Repealed, Other Fees Rejected

State lawmakers repealed a controversial fire protection fee on rural property owners this week — replacing the lost funds with general taxes as part of the new state budget.

They also rejected several other fees tied to timber harvests, California Coastal Commission permits and the accidental killing of species protected by the Endangered Species Act.

Governor Schwarzenegger gave them up when his fellow Republicans objected. Opponents had sued over the most controversial of the fees — a $35 per parcel annual fee to cover part of rural fire protection costs on 31 million acres of rural land encompassing nearly a third of the state.