The state assemblyman for Yucaipa, Forest Falls and other mountain communities is calling on the Legislature to repeal the Fire Tax before lawmakers adjourn Aug. 31.
"Only seven days remain until the legislative session is over," Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, said in a statement. "We need to find a way to get rid of the Fire Tax. This tax is very real and will soon hit people in their pocketbook. Rural residents have received advanced notice informing them of this new tax, and we need to relieve them of this unnecessary burden."
Cook has been a leading opponent of the Fire Tax, which was implemented as part of the Governor's budget, Cook's staff said.
"This tax forces residents in rural areas to pay an additional fee solely based on where they live," Cook's staff said. "However, money generated from this tax will not pay for any additional fire protection."
Throughout the state, every building owner in a designated "State Responsibility Area" will be taxed $150 per building, Cook's staff said. The tax bills will soon begin arriving in mail boxes.
This tax will provide no additional service, Cook's staff said.
"I'm talking to anyone who will listen about repealing this tax," Cook said. "Rural residents have done a great job reaching out to the Governor's office and Legislative leaders to express their opposition to this tax. I encourage all opponents of this tax to keep up the pressure. It is having an effect here, and I remain hopeful."
Cook's 65th district includes Calimesa, Cherry Valley, Beaumont, Banning, San Jacinto and Hemet. The southern end of the district is near the area burned by the , which started Aug. 14, destroyed four structures, injured six people - five minor, one critical - and burned more than 2,600 acres near Aguanga, east of Temecula, according to Cal Fire.
An who worked on the Buck Fire became ill Aug. 18 and died Aug. 19 at a Palm Springs hospital, according to the California Department of Corrections.
A map of the 65th District is attached to this report.
Cook is termed out in the Assembly and he is running for Congress in the newly-drawn 8th District in November.