Ted Gaines

Some GOP lawmakers hail suspension of fire prevention fee as victory, but others see a bait and switch

Some GOP lawmakers hail suspension of fire prevention fee as victory, but others see a bait and switch

A fire prevention fee levied on nearly 800,000 rural California properties was so reviled by Republican lawmakers, landowners and taxpayer groups that they tried a referendum, a lawsuit, and five pieces of legislation to repeal it during the last six years.

But this week, a measure to suspend and eventually repeal the fee was finally approved by the Legislature — after Democrats offered it as a bargaining chip to entice Republicans to help pass an extension of the state’s cap-and-trade climate program.

“This is a huge victory,” Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-Visalia) said. “Six years ago the fire tax illegally forced people in fire-prone areas to pay $80 million a year, and not...

EDITION: California | U.S. & World
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