The litigation filed against California’s State Regulated Area Fire Fee has been dormant for many months. Lawyers for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, who filed the suit, have reported that the case is still active and work is continuing.
“Our legal department is currently working on a phase of the case known as ‘discovery,’ where both sides are given the opportunity to ask each other for relevant information,” HJTA reported last week. “After our attorneys sent the state’s lawyers formal questions and requests for important documents, the state sent back 13,000 pages of material.”
The Fire Prevention Fee was enacted in July 2011. After the State Board of Forestry adopted regulations for assessing and collecting the $150 fee, HJTA filed its lawsuit alleging the fee was actually a tax in October 2012. If the court agrees it is a tax, then its enactment was flawed because taxes require the approval of two-thirds of the legislature.