A fire prevention fee levied on nearly 800,000 rural California properties was so reviled by Republican lawmakers, landowners and taxpayer groups that they tried a referendum, a lawsuit, and five pieces of legislation to repeal it during the last six years.
But this week, a measure to suspend and eventually repeal the fee was finally approved by the Legislature — after Democrats offered it as a bargaining chip to entice Republicans to help pass an extension of the state’s cap-and-trade climate program.
“This is a huge victory,” Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-Visalia) said. “Six years ago the fire tax illegally forced people in fire-prone areas to pay $80 million a year, and not one cent has gone to putting more boots on the ground.”
But other Republicans say the suspension came with a price, and some feel the price was too high. A lawsuit challenging the fire fee and seeking refunds will continue to be pursued, activists say.
Source: LA Times