I was reading the article in the Town Crier titled “Fire fee may benefit Idyllwild.”

The entire fee is just lying on the part of the California Legislature to get more taxes out of us. The Riverside Press-Enterprise had an editorial on Aug. 15, 2011 that stated while the new fee is supposedly “to help cover the state’s cost of battling wildfires [it] will instead apparently drain money from fire protection.”

I called Assemblyman Nestande’s office this morning [Tuesday, Aug. 23] and they confirmed that for every dollar the fee adds to the fire budget, the same amount will be drained off and put in the general fund. So, it will not help the fire budget at all. Instead, it is just a way to add to the general fund in a lying, sneaky way.

Also, there is the matter of the fee being applied to residences. I just talked to the governor’s office and was told that if a person has more than one habitable building on the property, each building will be taxed. So, if a motel has cabins, each cabin will be charged the fee; the same would go for a ranch.

They “say” that the money they take from the fire budget will go to prevention, but how can you believe them when they have been so sneaky about the entire new tax, oh, excuse me, fee?

How will we be sure the money will come back to Idyllwild in the form of fire prevention? It will be in the general fund — what a temptation to use it to cover something else with no accountability.

Mary Bowman-Carricaburu
Riverside and Idyllwild