Our Klamath Basin
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Senator Gaines Press Release 12/3/12
Repealing the Fire Tax
I am pleased to announce that
today I introduced legislation that would repeal the
This $150 fire tax is illegal and
unfair – plain and simple. Many rural property owners
already pay local fire agencies for protection so it is
clearly double-taxation and it is being dumped on the
backs of rural Californians when the state has
10-percent unemployment and families are struggling to
make ends meet.
Senate Bill 17 would reverse the Governor’s and
legislative Democrats’ decision to raise $84 million in
taxes by charging rural property owners a “fee” for fire
prevention services as part of the 2011-12 budget. These
communities are located in “State Responsibility Areas”
(SRA) designated by the California Department of
Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire), even though
their property taxes already contribute to the service
contracts that counties have with CalFire.
This tax has been imposed on the owners of more than
800,000 properties in the state. According to census and
CalFire data, my largely rural district includes nearly
25 percent or approximately 200,000 of the properties
whose owners will be subject to the fee.
I have been a leading critic of the fire “fee” since its
inception, leading a referendum attempting to overturn
the tax and co-authoring legislation last session to see
it reversed. I’ve also strongly supported the Howard
Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s class action lawsuit to
overturn the fire fee.
The fire tax attempts to sidestep Proposition 26, which
prevents the Legislature from disguising taxes as “fees”
and circumventing constitutional requirements for
passing higher taxes.
I vow to fight this in every way possible and encourage
everyone who might get stuck paying this phony fee to
get in the arena and fight it too. The answer to fire
protection in California is not illegal taxes, but
budgets that invest in core government services that
protect every citizen in the state – rural, urban and
I will keep you updated on the status of this bill as it
makes its way through the legislative process.
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Tuesday December 11, 2012 01:00 AM Pacific
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