FIRE FEE is an illegal? 

Transparency Bill Passes Senate



Sacramento, California ____ Monday June 13, 2016, the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources approved on a bipartisan vote Senate Bill 1136 (link is external), authored by Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga), to require that the legislature and the public annually receive more detailed information regarding the spending of money generated by the controversial fire prevention fee.

“I and others continue to maintain that the fire fee is an illegal tax that should either be repealed or overturned,” said Morrell. “However, until that happens, property owners paying the fee should know how and where their money is being spent. SB 1136 is about transparency and keeps the books open.”

The fire prevention fee was enacted by legislative Democrats in 2011 as part of the state budget and is assessed on property owners in State Responsibility Areas (“SRAs”), which are areas of the state where the State of California is financially responsible for the prevention and suppression of wildfires.

Cal Fire is currently required to submit to the legislature an annual expenditures report detailing spending of this fee revenue. SB 1136 would further direct the department to report to the legislature a detailed description of each program, subprogram, and element for which the department uses funds generated from the fire prevention fee, including an itemized accounting of expenditures related to equipment and positions as well as its budgeted expenditures for the current fiscal year. This bill also extends the sunset date of the reporting requirement to 2021. 

Earlier this legislative session, Morrell’s SB 198, which would have repealed the fire fee, was killed by the majority party in its first committee hearing.  A class-action lawsuit challenging the legality of the fire fee is currently working its way through the courts, with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association leading the effort. 

To learn more about its status, visit is external).

SB 1136 passed the committee 8-0. It will next be considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. 



Spends More While Fixing Less

Senator’s Vote 2016-17 Budget

 Senator Morrell sharing with friends left to right: Heather & Jay Assemblyman Obernolte, Mary Jo Jahn, Simeon Prophet, Senator Michael & Joanie Morrell.  Photo courtesy of Millener Productions 

Wednesday June 15, 2016, Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga) today issued the following statement in response to the passage of the 2016-17 State Budget:

“With all the recent talk about the need to fund our roads and highways, it is disappointing that this budget instead prioritizes spending $1.7 billion on high-speed rail, allocating $1.3 billion for state office buildings in Sacramento, and increasing the vehicle registration fee on Californians by $331 million to pay for more bureaucracy.

“Bottom line, the Governor and legislative Democrats have crafted the largest state budget in the 166-years of our state, one that spends more while fixing less, imposing $140 million in fees on Californians, like you and me, to pay for unlimited texting and data plans and spending millions more on welfare cash cards for drug felons.

“The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has ranked California the 44th state for fiscal strength, largely because of its debt. By growing government at a record pace, this budget risks the financial future of California at the expense of taxpayers and continues to leave a wall of debt to younger generations.”