California is sending out about 800,000 bills beginning this month. The annual $150 charge is assessed to property owners with homes on land the state is responsible for protecting.
A court will hear a legal challenge later this month that accuses the fee of being an illegal tax. Republican Assemblyman Brian Jones represents the rural sections of San Diego County.
“I think it’s illegal and unconstitutional. That’s why I’m supporting the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association lawsuit against it,” Jones says. “And I’m hopeful that they’ll prevail in court and we’ll be able to eliminate the fee all together.”
But Cal Fire says this is the first time in decades the state has funded fire prevention. The agency says 94 percent of the fires it fights are caused by people or their activities.
The fee is expected to bring in more than $84 million this fiscal year.