Facebook Twitter RSS
magnify
formats

Important update: Judge issues ruling after fire tax hearing

Published on July 26, 2013 by in Uncategorized

Last week, HJTA’s legal team had the opportunity to appear in court for an important hearing on our fire tax lawsuit. The State had wanted to stop our lawsuit from being allowed to move forward.

We sent two members of our legal team to argue on taxpayers’ behalf. They were joined by a small group of citizens in matching red “Burned by the Fire Tax” tee shirts, who sat in the audience to offer their support.

The State said we couldn’t sue as a class action and they wanted four of our fourteen plaintiffs to be dismissed because those plaintiffs sought refunds for everyone who paid the fee, not just those who filed appeals with CalFire. Our Director of Legal Affairs, Tim Bittle, urged the judge to allow the case to move forward. If the State acted illegally, he argued, it should not be rewarded by getting to keep the money of over 800,000 Californians affected.

Recently, the judge issued his ruling. The judge ruled in our favor that we CAN sue as a class action and did NOT disqualify any of our plaintiffs. Unfortunately, for now the judge has also said that if the case is ultimately decided in our favor, taxpayers will only be able to receive refunds if they filed a timely appeal with CalFire.

This case will be a long process and this decision will not necessarily determine the final outcome. Still, we have won an important victory with the judge’s decision to allow this case to move forward as a class action. However, the judge’s decision also underscores the importance of filing a timely appeal with CalFire if you want a refund. The forms and detailed instructions can be downloaded from this special website, by clicking here or on the “refund” tab in the gray menu bar above.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off  comments 
formats

News: Lawsuit calls California rural ‘fire tax’ illegal

Published on July 19, 2013 by in Uncategorized

Citizens showed up to court in red “Burned by the Fire Tax” tee shirts to support the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s lawsuit, which says the so-called fire “fee” is really a tax passed without the two thirds vote required by Prop. 13.  Taxpayers who are now expected to pay the fire tax say their opinions were not considered by the Legislature and feel they are not receiving any new benefits.  The important questions raised by the fire tax are not likely to be decided soon as the lawsuit is ongoing.

Click here to read the article.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off  comments 
formats

News: Is it a tax or a fee?

Published on May 6, 2013 by in Uncategorized

Butte County officials joined with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association to speak out against the fire tax at a forum held at a local fire station.  Senator Nielsen argued the tax was passed illegally without the required two thirds vote and challenged the argument that people in rural areas should pay more for living in fire-prone areas, pointing out there is no earthquake tax for people living in earthquake-prone LA and San Francisco.

Click here to read the article.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off  comments 
formats

News: East County residents complain about state fire fees

Published on April 26, 2013 by in Uncategorized

Assemblyman Brian Jones spoke out against the fire tax, saying the illegal tax was the top issue his constituents are complaining about.  100,000 people in San Diego County have been hit with the fire tax and some citizens said they were being charged the tax even on homes that no longer exist because they burned down.

Click here to read the article.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off  comments 
formats

Press Release: Runner Says New Fire Fee Bills Will Be Delayed

Published on March 20, 2013 by in Uncategorized

George Runner announced that the Board of Equalization will delay this year’s fire fee bills in response to a request from Cal Fire.  The bills were scheduled to begin mailing April 2.  “The delay appears to be related to concerns about accuracy of the billing data,” said Runner. “I’m pleased to see that Cal Fire is admitting there’s a problem.”

Click here to read the press release.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off  comments 
formats

Important update: You must pay your 2013 fire tax bill

Published on March 19, 2013 by in Uncategorized

A new round of fire tax bills will soon be arriving in mailboxes around California.  While the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association believes the fire tax is illegal according to Proposition 13, you are still required to pay your bill pending resolution of the lawsuit.  More detailed instructions from the legal department are available in the FireTaxProtest.org newsletter update below.

Click here to read the newsletter update.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Editorial: State agencies still playing hide-and-seek

Published on February 8, 2013 by in Uncategorized

The Orange County Register criticizes Cal Fire’s secret money scandal as another example of government agencies hiding money so they can lobby the public for more taxes.  The paper urges the Governor to take the scandal seriously instead of dismissing it as “boring,” and furthermore calls for an end to the fire tax.

Click here to read the article.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off  comments 
formats

News: Jerry Brown downplays Cal Fire reports, dubs it ‘boring story’

Published on February 5, 2013 by in Uncategorized

When asked about over $3 million in taxpayer funds hidden in a secret account by Cal Fire, Governor Brown dismissed the news as “boring,” although he did say he would look into it.  Senate Republican leader Bob Huff criticized the Governor for his remarks, describing the Cal Fire scandal as “very disturbing.”

Click here to read the article.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off  comments 
formats

Editorial: Cal Fire burns taxpayers by hiding our money

Published on February 4, 2013 by in Uncategorized

The Sacramento Bee speaks out against Cal Fire for hiding $3.66 million in funds that should have been deposited in the General Fund.  The newspaper says Cal Fire missed numerous opportunities to come clean about the money and lost the trust of many citizens who had expected the agency to behave more responsibly.

Click here to read the article.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off  comments 
formats

News: Cal Fire uses hidden funds for conference at Pismo Beach resort

Published on January 30, 2013 by in Uncategorized

Following questions raised by the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal regarding $3.6 million in hidden money at the agency, Cal Fire has released a spreadsheet with information on how these funds were spent.  Among the expenses are $33,000 for a conference at a Pisomo Beach resort, $30,000 for GPS vehicle trackers and $22,000 for metal detectors.  Senator Ted Gaines has called for a criminal investigation.

Click here to read the article.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
Comments Off  comments