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Tax group sues to block Calif. firefighting fee

October 5, 2012 • Business


Steve Buettner, who is a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against the state, is seen with his goats at his home in Valley Springs, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. Buettner and 10 other California residents who have joined with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association to file a lawsuit against the state seeking to block a $150 fee assessed on rural property owners to raise money for fire prevention. The lawsuit, filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, Thursday, claims the fee is actually an illegal tax that requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature rather than the simple majority vote it received in 2011. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — 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 is seeking 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 County 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.

The association’s president, Jon Coupal, criticized the fee as an Login to read more

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