CALIFORNIA -The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) is reassuring those who have received notification that their Petition for Redetminiation has been denied, in regards to Assembly Bill 29, which has come to be known as the Rural Fire Fee.
“Our lawsuit anticipates that everyone’s petition will be denied,” says the HJTA in an email to subscribers, sent out on Nov. 19.
HJTA says people should not be surprised if they receive a response from the California Department of Forestry (CDF) denying their petition on the grounds that it lacks a “statutory basis” for exemption from the fee.
“That simply means that CDF has no authority to evaluate our legal theories or pass judgment on them,” says HJTA. “Only a court can do that.”
They advise taxpayers that if they receive such a denial, they do not need to take any action.
“Our lawsuit anticipates that everyone’s petition will be denied, and asks the court to step in and grant relief,” says HJTA.
The class action complaint was filed by the HJTA in Superior Court in Sacramento on October 4, seeking to overturn the fire fee, which costs property owners an additional $150 per year for each habitable structure on their property.
The class action names plaintiffs from Kern County, Mendocino County, Calaveras County, Butte County, San Bernardino County, Solano County, San Luis Obispo County, El Dorado County, and Lassen County, who together represent a cross-section of the roughly 825,000 property owners subject to the new fee.
HJTA is challenging the constitutionality of the fee on the grounds it is really a tax that needed a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to pass, but garnered only a bare majority and therefore never became law.
The complaint was filed against the California Department of Forestry and the Board of Equalization, as the two agencies responsible for identifying owners of the parcels subject to the new tax and collecting the tax, respectively.
If the class action suit is successful, approximately 825,000 homeowners could be eligible for refunds.
To read the full text of the complaint filed by HJTA, click here.