9/26/12 In My Opinion

Tea Party and Fire Fees

Recently I had the opportunity to talk briefly with a woman who is a member of the Graeagle Tea Party. She had just come from a meeting where they were discussing the implementation of the State Fire Fee -see here Fire Prevention Fee . The woman was adamant in believing the fee was illegal and they were being taxed for something they received no service for.  I argued that if one lived within the bounds of a Fire District then the fee did not apply. After doing some research on the issue, I found that I was not entirely correct on the matter.

If you are in a State Responsibility Area (SRA) and also within a Fire District where you pay a fire protection tax, the state fee is reduced by $35 and instead of the $150 fee per habitable structure a year it becomes $115, and you do pay the fee.

The Tea Party believes this is an illegal fee/tax and in violation of Prop 13. Sierra County is an SRA and so pretty much everyone who lives here and owns property with a habitable structure will have a bill from the State Board of Equalization for the fee. I can see why some property owners would object to this fee.

I don’t, and here is why. Anyone living in a rural area and has experienced a wild fire understands the process. It isn’t just the local engines and fire fighters that respond to a fire, agencies, big and small from cities, counties and states respond to fires. Your house in Sierra County may have an engine from San Diego stationed nearby. It costs a lot of money. Money that use to come from the state general fund. But now we have Propositions, budget crisis, economy downfalls, and a myriad of reasons as to why those general funds have dried up. During a fire we need as much response as possible as quickly as possible. Someone living in a rural area, even within a developed housing area need protection, much more protection, than one or two engines and a water tender.

The argument we don’t have the service so why do we have to pay for it, doesn’t hold water. The service is there and when we need it, we will have it, but we have to step up to the table and make sure we help make it be there. $150 a year, that equates to $12.50 a month or .41 cents a day. Is it worth it? You bet it is, ask anyone who lived in Sierra Brooks during the Cottonwood Fire. I was over there on an engine from Sierra City as a firefighter. The statewide support and response we had was truly amazing. The fire raged right up to the edge of the sub-division, there were engines from all over California and even New Mexico and we did not lose one stucture. It was no fun, but well worth .41 cents a day.

Taxes in general are a good thing. We pay taxes every day for things we don’t use. I support Bart in the Bay Area, help run Amtrack, build roads for Greyhound to run their routes. Do I use them? Not really, but I’m glad they are there and on occasion I may take a train or bus. I’m glad to pay taxes, it means I have enough to be able to pay taxes. Taxes are what helps our economy run. A government worker buys groceries, goes on trips, buys clothing, my taxes are creating jobs, I build roads and sidewalks and bridges and dams by providing jobs for construction workers with my taxes. It is the patriotic American thing to pay taxes and pony up the fees so that America remains the shining star on the globe. Don’t complain about taxes be happy you can pay them.


6 thoughts on “EDITOR COMMENT 9/26/12/12

  1. First, you might make a new page or move the old editorial so we can comment below the article we want to comment on.
    Second, the money is scarcely for fire suppression, but is for other useless state provided crap. Further, it is an unfair fee because we land owners don’t directly benefit it, and further, all the people of California benefit from the water our mountains produce, and the tourism it provides, and there is no reason landowners should have to pay this tax. It is a tax, and you seem to agree it is, and so it should have gone before the people, and it didn’t.
    Stop making excuses for the government! They have all the power, they don’t need your help, help your neighbors instead!

  2. Here’s what’s great about freedom: if you think hunting is wrong, you don’t have to do it. The problem starts when people get a moral superiority rush by preventing other people from doing those same things.
    Me, I’ve always hunted, and would hunt now if it weren’t such a problem. I think every person should have a gun and know how to use it. What’s great about freedom is you don’t have to have a gun just because I think you should. Now, show me the same respect and don’t try to prevent me from doing things you don’t want to.

  3. Editor . I totally agree with your thoughts on hunting. Unless it is to bring food to the table and even then it is morally problematic . I market humane animal capture equipment . Many animal control officers around the world use this equipment to humanely capture and relocated any wildlife that have become pests in any particular area.When one looks at the stats of just how the odds increase that someone in your household will die from a gunshot just by having a gun in your house should give rational people pause when thinking about gun ownership.

  4. Friend in common thought, I like your style. Unlike you, I have not been trained in firearms. I have witnessed what firearms can do to the human body … up close and personal as they say. Me…I have asked the same questions about hunting but I have not asked about the fear that seems a driver of gun ownership. I do appreciate the skills that are used to sight and hit a target. ( I watched the women’s rifle shooting with fascination… their sports attire was the opposite of the beach volley ball team! I was proud of our gold medal winners in women’s rifle shooting and women’s beach volley ball.)

    Ok, I always have another “read”. This read is appropriate to the discussion. There is a discussion, right? I am reading Wendell Berry’s “The Art of the
    Common Place”. He contributes a piece from the writing of a Rev. Jacob Young, Methodist minister, who has just move to Kentucky, November, 1797. Berry puts the whole letter in his book to reflect with the reader on the origins of our violence in the united States. Berry is not an analyst but a writer of thinking, feeling insights into his own geographical/family/community roots. His roots go back about as far as Jacob Young, 1797. Berry is our 21st century writer, who has lived the literate/city life. He writes now in Kentucky where he grew up. Berry has taken a letter that observes the making of a road in the wilderness and reflects, what I believe are some rather profound thoughts, of who we are.

    I think it would be worthwhile to publish the letter by Jacob Young in our Sierra County Prospect. (I am more than happy to share the book.) By the way, people have been shot for speaking their convictions. Hey, have a good day 🙂 Happy face post here. 🙂

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