Oller Opposes Fire Tax on Rural Property Owners

SAN ANDREAS, CA – Rico Oller (R-San Andreas), candidate for Assembly, today restated his opposition to recently assessed annual fire fee (SRA fee). Rural property owners in California’s foothills and mountains insist it is a tax and an illegal one at that.

Oller supports a lawsuit by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association declaring the assessment on property an unconstitutional tax under the 2/3rds voting requirement of Proposition 26.

To make up for budget cuts at California Department of Forestry and Protection, the Democrat Legislature passed, with a simple majority vote, a bill intending to raise $84 million by charging 825,000 property owners in one third of the state up to $150 a year.

Prop 26 was passed in 2010 to prevent the legislature from bypassing the 2/3rds vote requirement of Prop 13 by calling a tax a “fee.”

The Board of Equalization reports that 95% of the properties receiving the SRA fire tax bill are already paying a local fire protection assessment that the property owners have approved with a 2/3rds vote under Prop 218. Many of these property owners do not receive fire protection from Cal-Fire; they are paying a fee for a service they do not receive. Many residents affected by the fee are retired and live on fixed incomes.

“The top priority of government ought to be public safety and education. There should be no new property taxes levied on those who can least afford them,” Oller insisted.

“Our people have already paid for fire protection in their state and local taxes. The state needs to stop spending money on wasteful projects like high speed rail and needs to trim the bureaucracy and the regulatory enforcement regime. Those cuts would allow the state the flexibility to balance the budget while paying for necessary government services.”

For more information, please call (209) 920-7426 or visit RicoOller.com.