For Immediate Release: May 12, 2015
Contact: Gino Folchi, (916) 323-9794
Expert Panel to Discuss Lawsuit & Legislative Updates
State Board of Equalization member Diane L. Harkey is hosting a phone call on Wednesday, May 13, from 12 – 1 pm, to discuss the State’s fire fee, current legal actions by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association challenging the fee, instructions on how to preserve the right to a refund, and key legislative updates.
Fire Fee billing in the fourth district began in April and will continue through May of 2015. The Fire Fee is a controversial fee administered by the Board of Equalization for CAL FIRE since being passed by the California Legislature in 2011. There are over 140,000 constituents receiving the fire fee bill in Member Harkey’s district.
“The fire fee may be a cold issue in Sacramento, but it remains a hot topic for my constituents,” said Board Member Harkey. “I am happy to provide timely information to anyone who views the Fire Fee as an illegal tax.”
“This telephone town hall will provide taxpayers with an opportunity to voice their concerns about California’s confusing and controversial fire fee,” said Vice Chair George Runner.
“Property owners in the Inland Empire share with me all the time how frustrated they are about having to pay this unfair tax, which is why I’ve authored legislation twice to repeal it,” said Morrell. “I’m happy to partner with Diane to get taxpayers the information they need on the fire tax.”
“The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association firmly believes the Fire Prevention Fee is really a tax that needed, but did not receive, two-thirds legislative approval, as required by Proposition 13,” said Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Coupal continued, “In spite of legal roadblocks being put up by the state, we are pursuing our suit to end this illegal fee and to obtain refunds for people who have filed a Petition for Redetermination.”
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), a nonpartisan pro-taxpayer group, filed a lawsuit – CalFire v. Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association – challenging the Fire Fee as an illegal tax. Should HJTA prevail in the lawsuit, Fire Fee payers who have filed a redetermination form may be eligible for a refund.
- George Runner, Vice Chair, California State Board of Equalization
- Mike Morrell, California State Senator, 23rd Senate District
- Jon Coupal, President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
WHAT: Fire Fee Telephone Townhall – Important Legislative and Lawsuit Updates
WHERE: Register online at http://www.boe.ca.gov/townhalls or by calling (916) 323-9794.
About Board Member Harkey
Board Member Diane L. Harkey was elected to the Board of Equalization in November 2014 to represent the Fourth Equalization District, which includes approximately 9.5 million Californians located in Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial, and a portion of San Bernardino Counties. Previously, Ms. Harkey served in the California State Assembly from 2008 to 2014. As a Member of the State Assembly, she served as Vice Chair for the Assembly Committees on Revenue and Taxation and Appropriations. Ms. Harkey graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Economics from the University of California, Irvine.
For more information, visit: www.boe.ca.gov/harkey