The much debated and often labeled as an illegal and redundant tax will soon be dropped as part of Assembly Bill 398 — the Global Warming Solutions Act. Although not linked to global warming the fire tax elimination was a method to garner more votes from rural assembly members on both sides of the political spectrum. For a large number of property owners in Big Bear they will be overjoyed with the news as many considered it an unnecessary fee derived in order to help shore up weakened state budgets.
Several state lawmakers including Retired State Senator George Runner current Vice Chairman State Board of Equalization stated “After blocking repeal efforts for years, state leaders finally acted today to suspend this unjust tax, but only because they needed to win votes for a costly climate change measure. In other words, they did the right thing for the wrong reasons.”
Although happy that the Fire Tax will go away for now, State Senator Mike Morrell expressed “Cap and trade in California has little to do with climate change and is an end-run to bring more money to state government. It will increase our gas taxes by as much 73 cents per gallon and raise the cost of electricity”.
Assembly person Jay Obernolte fought hard to eliminate the Fire Tax over many years but did not support the bill in light of the many hidden costs that will be passed onto average California consumers.
Beginning next year, 2018, the rural Fire Tax fees will be eliminated. But for now local lawmakers are advising property owners to pay the 2017 fee under protest in order to avoid possible late penalties.