Fire Tax Refund Legislation Stalls in Committee

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sacramento – Today, the California State Senate Governance and Finance Committee refused to pass Senate Bill 1044 authored by Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto).  SB 1044 would have refunded the fire tax that was enacted by the State Legislature in 2011. Since the inception of the tax, the State of California has collected nearly $500 million from property owners in rural areas across the state.

“Not only was this tax unfair to the homeowners who pay it, as their special tax revenue goes to supporting those who don’t pay the tax, but it was approved through an unconstitutional vote threshold. This new “fee” should have been deemed a tax requiring a two-thirds vote because it supports general purpose programs,” said Berryhill.

“While I am pleased the tax was suspended in 2017, the property owners who paid millions of dollars from 2012-2017 deserve a more complete remedy.  I believe the current state budget surplus has more than enough money to refund an unconstitutional tax foisted on nearly 800,000 rural property owners,” added Berryhill

In addition to the legislation, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is currently challenging in the fee in court.

“We believe the fire fee is unconstitutional and it’s time to set this right,” said David Wolfe of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.