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News: High-speed rail threatens key fire station

Published on October 15, 2014 by in Uncategorized

A major fire station in Hanford could face serious logistical issues if high speed rail plans move forward, reports the Hanford Sentinel.  The facility, which includes a helipad for airlifting ambulance patients to medical treatment, could be cut off from easy road access by a large retaining wall planned in association with the rail project.  This could create serious delays in life-or-death situations where every second counts.

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Opinion: Fire fee lawsuit update

Published on May 29, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Board of Equalization member George Runner writes in the Sierra Star that money collected through the fire tax is actually prohibited from being used for fire suppression activities such as buying hoses, trucks and planes.  While the revenues are not used for fighting fires, State lawyers continue to fight taxpayer challenges as to the Constitutionality of the tax every step of the way.

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Update: CalFire will begin mailing this year’s bills this month

Published on March 5, 2014 by in Uncategorized

March will mark the beginning of another round of fire tax bills from CalFire for people in the so-called State Responsibility Area.  Taxpayers will soon begin receiving fire tax bills, and property owners in counties beginning with the letter “A” will receive bills first.  Fire tax bills will continue to come once a year until such a point as our lawsuit is resolved in our favor.

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News: Knight, Wagner Bills Would Refund Fire Fee If It’s Invalidated

Published on March 4, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Legislation introduced by Assemblyman Donald Wagner and Senator Steve Knight would require the state to fully refund fire tax payments if the tax is declared illegal.  The legislation is sponsored by Board of Equalization Member George Runner and is premised on the notion that taxpayers should not be expected to pay an illegal tax simply because they did not fill out correct paperwork.

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Opinion: Responsible budget would eliminate inefficient fire fee

Published on February 9, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Board of Equalization Member George Runner urges Governor Brown to restore funding to CalFire and eliminate the fire tax.  In addition to being of questionable legality, Runner says the fire tax is also inefficient.  The fire tax brings in only $75 million in revenue, but requires substantial BOE administrative resources that could be better invested in other activities.

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News: Cal Fire fee mailed to Santa Cruz County residents

Published on October 22, 2013 by in Uncategorized

People in Santa Cruz County are now receiving fire tax bills, and many residents have filed Petitions for Redetermination because they feel the “fee” is really an unconstitutional tax passed without the two thirds vote required by Prop. 13.  Many property owners also say they were overcharged, receiving bills for $150 when they should have been charged $115.

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Opinion: Runner seeks relief for fire victims despite Cal Fire response

Published on October 15, 2013 by in Uncategorized

Board of Equalization member George Runner is urging that rural residents who have lost their homes to fires should not be required to pay the fire tax because their structures no longer exist.  Runner points out CalFire has the authority to grant waivers to these residents although they have so far declined to do so.

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News: Marin taxpayers in unincorporated areas face state fire bills

Published on August 14, 2013 by in Uncategorized

Over 15,000 homeowners in unincorporated Marin County will be hit with fire tax bills again this year even though they already pay for fire protection services.  Local fire officials are expressing concern that many citizens cannot afford the fire tax and note that the zig-zag nature of the billing map has created frustration and confusion.  While many citizens are unhappy about the tax, they are still encouraged to pay promptly to avoid steep penalties.

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News: Fire fee leaves rural foothill residents angry, confused

Published on August 4, 2013 by in Uncategorized

Residents of the Sierra Foothills will soon receive their second round of fire tax bills, especially impacting those on fixed incomes who struggle to afford $150.  Many foothill residents express concern the fee is actually tax which does not benefit their local fire departments and was not passed with the 2/3 vote required by Prop. 13.  El Dorado County has joined the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s lawsuit challenging the tax.

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Important update: BOE announces next round of bills

Published on August 2, 2013 by in Uncategorized

Be sure to pay your bill promptly when you receive it in the mail.  Although the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has brought a class action against the State challenging the fire prevention fee, it is important that you pay your bill on time.  Failure to pay the fee can result in heavy penalties and a lien on your property.

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