According to a recent AP news article (“Calif. tax collector criticized for opposing fee”), several Democratic leaders, including a few of my colleagues, want me to stop my “high profile campaign” against the new “Fire Prevention Fee.” They argue that my role is to simply to collect taxes—not to speak out against them.
They’re right about one thing. I do have a responsibility to administer taxes. I’m doing everything in my power to ensure that this tax, and others, are administered effectively, efficiently and fairly. I’m also encouraging taxpayers to pay their taxes, so they don’t get caught up with penalties and interest.
There’s a reason California has elected tax officials, rather than bureaucrats, in charge of tax administration and appeals. We are elected to represent the taxpayers in our districts. Doing so involves speaking on their behalf.
Accordingly, I respect the right of my Democratic colleagues to speak on behalf of their constituents—even when they disagree with me.
The new “fire fee” is an unconstitutional and unfair tax, and about half of the folks receiving bills live in my district (about 400,000 people). It’s my duty, and an honor, to speak for them—and I won’t let anyone or anything intimidate or silence me from doing so.