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Group Files Suit Preventing Fire Fee

Associated Press

(Oct. 5, 2012)  — A taxpayer group, joined by plaintiffs throughout California, filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to block a fee that is being assessed on more than 800,000 property owners to raise money for fire prevention.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association asks for a declaration about whether the fee is valid and seeks refunds for those who paid the fee and filed a claim with the state.

The lawsuit, filed in Sacramento Superior Court, claims that the $150 annual fee being assessed on 825,000 rural properties is actually an illegal tax that required a two-thirds vote of the Legislature rather than the simple majority vote it received in 2011. Targeted property owners began receiving the tax bills in August.