Linking Repeal of Fire Fee to Corporate Tax Hike a Bitter Pill for Republicans to Swallow

The battle over the so-called rural fire fee continues to rage with an extra twist. With the clock ticking before the legislative session ends this week, Democrats are trying to cajole at least two GOP senators to vote for raising taxes on numerous out-of-state corporations in exchange for repealing the controversial $150 fire prevention fee. Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez needs a small amount of Republican support to push forward the corporate tax hike, which would be used to support college scholarships. The gut-and-amend proposal with the compromise was put forth by Republican Assemblyman Brian Nestande, and while the rural fire fee is deeply unpopular among Republicans, they may unwilling to go along with a deal that advances Perez’s bill. It appears that linking the fire fee with the corporate tax is a pill Republicans can’t swallow (except for Nestande).

A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff scoffed at the proposal and stated, “Repealing an illegal fee that the Democrats can reconstitute on majority vote anytime they want? In return for a $1 billion tax increase and a new state entitlement program? That doesn’t even pass the giggle test.”

Opponents of the compromise and the fire fee have some leverage of their own, as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association remains committed to filing a lawsuit and getting the fee declared an illegal tax. If Republicans like their chances in court, then it appears they would be all the more unwilling to consider Perez’s compromise.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has launched a new website in opposition to the fire fee and advises people who have received a bill how to proceed if they want to receive a refund down the line. Check out the website here.

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