SACRAMENTO (March 26, 2012) - Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) announced that Assembly bill (AB) 1506, of which he is a principal coauthor, was passed in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee today, with bipartisan support. AB 1506 would eliminate an unfair State Responsibility Area Fee, or 'Fire Tax,' of up to $150 per structure as determined by the Board of Forestry, imposed in rural areas.
"The passage of AB 1506 in the Natural Resources Committee today is but a small step towards preventing this unjust tax from burdening rural Californians," said Nielsen. "There is still a battle left to fight; the citizens have all the right to be outraged and I would urge them all to bring about a firestorm of opposition to this onerous tax."
There were several different groups and individuals who have expressed support for AB 1506 during the hearing. Among these groups were the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Regional Council of Rural Counties (RCRC) as well as residents of SRAs.
Some of the issues raised by supporters of this bill during the hearing are:
- There will be no funding to local programs until 2017
- No additional benefits by those who will have to pay this fee
- The fee is fundamentally inequitable
- This is an unconstitutional tax, passed without a two thirds support
It is expected that AB 1506 will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee in the near future.