(Victor Valley)–This month more than 62,000 San Bernardino County homeowners will receive a bill from the State of California demanding a $150 Fire Protection “Fee”. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors aggressively opposed the State’s imposition of this “fee”, which in the County’s opinion is not a fee but a legally questionable tax that will provide no additional benefit to those who pay it.
“This so-called fee is nothing but a gimmick to plug holes in the State’s chronically deficit-ridden budget, and the residents who are being forced to pay it are receiving no additional benefits or services in return,” said Supervisor Janice Rutherford.
The State created the tax last year and imposed it on “state responsibility areas”, defined as areas where the State is primarily responsible for fire services. In San Bernardino County, these areas include virtually all of the county’s mountain communities. A detailed map of the areas subject to the tax can be found at http://firepreventionfee.org/sraviewer.php.
“This tax is arguably the most blatant and transparent theft from taxpayers I have ever witnessed,” said Supervisor Neil Derry, one of the leading opponents of the tax. “Most of our residents subject to this tax will not benefit one iota because this money is actually going to fund the state budget deficit.”
In opposing this tax, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors pointed out that property owners in these areas already pay an assessment for fire protection and prevention services, making the new State tax “double taxation” without any additional benefit. The situation will “create long-term fiscal uncertainty as well as the disruption of mutual aid between local, state and federal agencies” during times of emergency, the Board said.