Fourth district taxpayers dialed in this week to the largest Board of Equalization sponsored telephone townhall to date, drawing over 3,500 participants interested in learning more about the fire fee that nearly 1 million Californians pay every year.
The call was hosted by Board Members Diane Harkey and featured a panel of experts including Board of Equalization Vice Chair George Runner, State Senator Mike Morrell and Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
The townhall listeners heard important legislative updates and legal updates on the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association lawsuit. Member Harkey also provided helpful tips for taxpayers on how to preserve their right to a fire fee refund if the Howard Jarvis lawsuit is successful.
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), a nonpartisan pro-taxpayer group, filed a lawsuit – Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. CalFire – challenging the Fire Fee as an illegal tax. Should HJTA prevail in the lawsuit, Fire Fee payers who have filed a timely petition for redetermination form may be eligible for a refund.
“My offices have received thousands of calls in the past two weeks from constituents eager to preserve their right to a fire fee refund,” Member Harkey said. “While we wait for a decision from the court, my office will continue to help taxpayers navigate their opposition through the proper legal and legislative channels to have their voices heard.”
Fire Fee billing in the fourth district began in March and will continue through May of 2015. The Fire Fee is administered by the Board of Equalization for CAL FIRE since being passed by the California Legislature in 2011. There are over 140,000 Fourth District constituents receiving the Fire Fee bill.
Member Harkey’s office remains available to answer fire fee questions for all constituents in the Fourth District. Taxpayers can email their questions to Fire.Fee@boe.ca.gov. Click here to listen to the full telephone townhall.