GERBER (November, 10 2011) - Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) issued the following statement following last night's action by the state Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to approve Governor Jerry Brown's $150 State Responsibility Area (SRA) Fire Fee.
"The Fire Tax is intended simply to get more money for government to spend with a built in escalator to tax us more. It's not about fire prevention or protection," said Nielsen. "When it passed I debated it would be constantly raised and be applied broadly to achieve more taxes for general fund spending. The governor's end of session expansion of the tax and the board's action to more vastly apply the tax confirm the real intent. The law and regulation affect a 'blank check' for government to tax us. We'll be taxed more and receive less."
According to the new regulations approved by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the definition of "structure" extends not only to habitual buildings this time around, but it also includes non-residential structures. Buildings occupied for residential use include single family homes, multi-dwelling structures, mobile and manufactured homes and condominiums. Buildings occupied for non-residential use which will also be taxed include, but are not limited to, office buildings, industrial property, stores, warehouses, hotels, hospitals, libraries.
"The only way to fix this unjust Fire Tax is to repeal it," said Nielsen. "I have co-authored a bill to repeal this tax. I am also convinced that legal action will be taken to challenge the constitutionality of this tax which was only passed by a majority vote, violating Prop. 26. I am committed to continuing to fight this unacceptable government abuse and ensure that rural Californians will not be burdened with yet another government fee that brings no benefits."
Nielsen stated that the initial proposed $90 per structure fee turned out not to be enough in raising $50 million which the governor set as an arbitrary tax revenue goal. When the plan didn't materialize he simply appointed four new members (all Democrats) to the nine-person Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to execute his plan.
For more information on the SRA Fire Tax check out Board of Forestry and Fire Protection link.