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Jeffries voices opposition to Cal Fire insurance 'tax'


Last updated 1/17/2008 at Noon

SACRAMENTO — Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore) recently wasted no time in responding to the Governor’s release of the 2008-09 budget.

“I applaud the Governor for finally coming back to the table to control the growth of state spending,” stated Assemblyman Jeffries. “However, I must strongly oppose the proposed new $125 million tax on homeowner and business insurance policies.”

The Governor has proposed a 1.25-percent surcharge on all homeowner and business insurance policies that the administration states will go to improve fire protection in areas most at risk to wildfires.

Jeffries, however, believes that this new tax is actually an attempt to make up for proposed cuts to Cal Fire. “This new tax is nothing more than a shell game that will primarily be used to backfill general fund money that he just took from Cal Fire,” Jeffries states. “It is extremely unlikely that taxpayers will see any increased staffing or equipment as a result of this massive new tax.”

Assemblyman Jeffries believes that it is wrong to increase taxpayers’ burdens in order for them to get services they are already paying to receive. He points out that property owners already pay regular property taxes and these taxes should already be used to pay for public safety services.

And most newly built homes and businesses have been required to pay local government “development” fees that helped build new fire stations to serve the new growth. This is not to mention the fact that many new and not-so-new homes and businesses are already in “Special Assessment” districts that collect additional property taxes to support local fire protection.

“How many times are they going to have pay for the same service?”

The Assemblyman pointed to two primary examples of unfairness in the system: “Though the overwhelming majority of the revenues from this tax will be generated in urban and suburban areas, it doesn’t appear that any of this money will be given to the city and county fire departments that are the first responders in local emergencies.

“Furthermore, Riverside County already pays Cal Fire to provide fire protection. Riverside County residents and other communities that already contract with Cal Fire should not be double-billed for the same service!”

“After having served 29 years in the fire service, I’m absolutely convinced that this ill-conceived tax will not deliver any measurable increased level of services for our local communities. The Governor has pledged not to raise taxes, but is using political doublespeak to declare this a ‘fee.’ Clearly there is not a sufficient nexus between insurance and any state fire protection services received by the payer to declare it a fee. It is not a fee, and it is not a user fee – it’s a tax!”

Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries represents Western Riverside County and Northeastern San Diego County, including the communities of Jurupa, Riverside, Lake Elsinore, Murrieta, Temecula, Fallbrook, Bonsall, Valley Center and Julian.


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