Pay, but protest, critics say of fire tax bills

As those Ramonans who have been charged the state’s annual $150 fire fee begin to receive their next round of bills, efforts are under way to declare the fee an unconstitutional tax.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which filed a class-action lawsuit challenging the two-year fee, said a hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 21 in Sacramento but the state’s lawyers are trying to delay resolution. The state has filed a second demurrer asking the court to dismiss the case without hearing any evidence, said the taxpayers association.

Bills are scheduled to be mailed to thousands of rural and semi-rural property owners in San Diego County, beginning Sept. 25, Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s office reported, based on information from the state.

Jacob, who has been an outspoken critic of the fee, advises property owners to pay the annual tax within 30 days but write “under protest” on the notation line of the check, in case the suit prevails and refunds are issued.

She also suggests going to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s site, www.firetaxprotest.org, and click on “Refund,” to download a petition to challenge the fee.

   
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