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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Katy Grimes

CA Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoed 2016 Wildfire Management Bill While CA Burned

Every governor has signed regretful legislation, or made a disastrous pardon he or she would like a chance to re-do. California’s whacky outgoing Democrat governor has spent the last eight years trying to convince the people of California that we are to blame for droughts, wildfires and “extreme weather,” and thatclimate change is an existential threat to the California way of life.Showing no regrets, Gov. Jerry Brown calls the people “freeloaders,” and “deniers,” and has mocked our “little green lawns.” Brown even spitefully signed legislation subjecting every man, woman and child to 50 gallons of water a day in the near future… despite the state’s189,454 milesof rivers, and that large body of water California sits on.

Last year, as California residents were burned out of their towns, homes, neighborhoods, schols, hospitals and businesses, Gov. Jerry Brown was… Read More

Katy Grimes

CA Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoed Bipartisan Wildfire Management Bill in 2016

Last year, as all Hell was breaking loose in California as residents were burned out of their homes, neighborhoods and businesses, Gov. Jerry Brown wasjettingaround the world spouting climate change propaganda, and calling this California’s ‘new normal.’

“With climate change, some scientists are saying Southern California is literally burning up, and burning up as maybe a metaphor or a description not just to the fires right here, but what we can expect over the next years and decades,” Brownsaid.Today, as California burns once again under torrential wildfires, many… Read More

Katy Grimes

California Burns: The “New Normal” Thanks to Obama Era Environmental Regulations

ByMegan Barth and Katy Grimes

“Hotter, drier, longer forest fires we are witnessing today have nothing to do with ‘dangerous manmade climate change. They have a lot to do with idiotic forest mismanagement policies and practices.”

Paul Driessen, Senior Policy Advisor, CFACT

Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Government Stalling Tactics Slow Fire Tax Lawsuit

As Californians hope and pray for an end to California’s drought and dangerous fire conditions, I am thankful for the many brave men and women who put their lives on the line to fight fires throughout our state.

We’re also reminded that not one dime of our state’s so-called “Fire Prevention Fee” has helped fund this year’s firefighting efforts.

Someday a court will strike down the unfair and, I believe, illegal fire tax enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2010.

But getting there is proving quite a challenge.

As you may recall, in 2012 the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), with my strong support, filed a class action lawsuit seeking to invalidate the so-called fee on the basis that it is really an illegally enacted tax.

Since then, California Department of Justice attorneys paid with your tax dollars have repeatedly sought to do everything in their power to slow the case down.

I’m told some of the state’s stalling tactics go far beyond what is typical of government attorneys involved in legal proceedings. These tactics include filing multiple demurrers aimed at blocking… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Taxpayers Speak Out Against Unjust Fire Tax

For the second time in as many years, the State of California is mailing hundreds of thousands of fire tax bills to rural Californians who live in the so-called State Responsibility Area. The bills are hitting mailboxes even as the class action lawsuit I’m backing has finally received a green light to move forward.

As Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association is fond of saying, “the wheels of justice grind slowly.” Although I believe the lawsuit against the fire tax will ultimately prevail, it appears the trial won’t be until next year at the earliest.

Delayed justice means that hundreds of thousands of rural Californians, whether they can afford it or not, must write another check for up to $150 per habitable structure to the State of California to pay this unfair and unjust tax.

Given the confusing and controversial nature of this tax, I’m sponsoring a series of regional telephone town hall meetings to give impacted taxpayers—many of whom are senior citizens living on fixed incomes in mobile homes—an opportunity to receive information and voice their questions and concerns. To date, more than 2000 taxpayers have participated.… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Fire Fee Lawsuit Served on State

Today the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association formally served the California State Board of Equalization, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Department of Justice with a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s “Fire Prevention Fee.”

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but I’m pleased that this vitally important lawsuit is moving forward. Recent revelations regarding the state’s misuse of fire fee dollars have only strengthened our case that the ‘fire fee’ is really an illegal tax.

I plan to formally join the lawsuit by filing an amicus brief on behalf of the California taxpayers I represent. I’ve opposed the fire fee both during my time in the Legislature and as an elected member of the State Board of Equalization. But I’ve also encouraged impacted Californians to pay it because it is current law.

So far most taxpayers are doing so. Between August and December last year, the state mailed more than 760,000 bills for fiscal year 2011-12. As of March 1, about 72% of bills have been paid in full and 6% paid… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

Serving My Constituents: A Duty and an Honor

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… Read More

BOE Member George Runner

First Fire Tax Bills Mail August 13

It’s not fair; it’s not constitutional, but thanks to Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature, fire tax bills are coming all the same.

The State of California will begin mailing the first of more than 825,000 “Fire Prevention Fee” bills on Monday, August 13.

The tax, approved as a fee by a simple majority vote of the Legislature last year, charges residential property owners in rural areas $150 for each habitable structure located on their land. Property owners who pay for local fire protection will receive a $35 reduction.

To help inform California taxpayers, I’ve established a website, calfirefee.com, providing information about the new fire tax. Californians can visit this site to find out if they might soon receive a fire tax bill. You can also find details regarding the process, timeline and grounds for filing an appeal.

The bills will go out in alphabetical order by county between August and early December. The state has released the following partial mailing schedule:

ALAMEDA August 13th through… Read More