The state’s Fire Prevention Fee continues to be under legislative siege. Despite efforts in 2012 to repeal the legislation, Assemblyman Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) has submitted Assembly Bill 124 which repeals the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fee.

Morrell hopes to continue to push the issue that there’s enough regulation and that the fee is not something California taxpayers consider fair.

“Unfortunately last year’s unsuccessful attempt at repealing the fire fee was a last-minute deal made to include the language in a very long, very complicated bill. That bill did not pass for a number of reasons unrelated to the fire fee itself,” Morrell wrote in email to the Town Crier. “My Assembly Bill 124 is very simple. It does nothing more than delete the language in state law creating this unfair tax. 

“Democrats and Republicans alike have expressed their strong opposition to the fire tax and I am hopeful that we can get consensus this year for repeal,” Morrell added to explain his optimism this year. This year grants us a new opportunity to cleanly eliminate a mistake that will cost taxpayers upward of $84 million dollars.”

Several local residents have received notices from the state Board of Equalization for payment of the fee, interest from the November due date and a penalty. However, their personal bank records show the state received and cashed their fire fee payments within days of the due date.

Morrell and hs staff said they have received and confirmed similar inappropriate dunning letters throughout the state.

“That figure [$84 million] does not even include erroneous penalties charged to those property owners who have paid their bill but are mistakenly being charged as if they had not,” Morrell wrote. “I have received a number of complaints from constituents claiming they have already paid their fee and are now being assessed penalties on top of the already hefty $150 bill.”

Morrell has also introduce legislation that would require budget bills to be available for public review at least 72 hours before the Senate votes on them.