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State’s fire fee suspended


Plumas County residents who have been paying the state’s annual fire prevention fee received a reprieve — at least until 2031 — thanks to the passage of AB 398 last week.

The legislation, which was passed with bipartisan support, extends cap-and-trade, California’s market-based system for reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions, through 2030.

Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 398 into law July 25 in San Francisco. Brown was joined by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the original measure authorizing cap-and-trade in 2006.

The fire prevention fee suspension was included in the legislation during negotiations between the Democrats and Republicans to help pass the bill.

The Plumas County Board of Supervisors has objected to the fire fee since its passage July 7, 2011. The fee was intended to pay for fire prevention services within the State Responsibility Area.

“The Plumas County Board of Supervisors is happy to hear this news, since we have little state land for CalFire support,” said Board Chairwoman Lori Simpson when contacted for comment July 28. “This fee (or tax) has been controversial since the beginning. Those who pay it in our county have shared their anger with the board of supervisors and our state legislators. I am sure people would like a refund as well.”

That seems unlikely since the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration released a statement that same day, which read, “Property owners who owe fire prevention fees are still required to make payment for fiscal years 2011-12 through 2016-17. Passage of the bipartisan cap and trade bill, Assembly Bill 398, suspended the fire prevention fee going forward, but does not impact existing fire prevention fee obligations.”

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