To: Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
December 16, 2012
Re: State Responsibility Area (SRA) Tax
We are 4 generations living in a rural area theoretically ‘served’ by CDF (now Cal-Fire). Throughout those generations, it is we who have been held responsible for our own safety, even to the point of CDF telling us that, other than for a fire starting on public lands and threatening our private property, and even then only on a ‘backup’ basis, they were under no obligation to defend our property from an internal fire and would likely not even show up. In reality, our location is generally inaccessible within a reasonable time and means making their effectiveness virtually nonexistent and any onerous extorted ‘fees’ paid completely meaningless, even if they were willing to assume responsibility, which they are not. That lack of benefit is true not only for us but for a great many within our region also threatened with financial survival. Therefore, the most ‘benefitting’ entity becomes the very State which unilaterally imposed this effective ‘tax’ upon and without a vote of the people.
It is with great distress that I write this appeal. The SRA ‘tax’, no matter what other name the tax may be called, being imposed upon the rural public is unconscionable, unethical, and questionably legal. It drastically fails the tests of credibility, fairness, equity, logic, and in fact all other effective aspects except governmental greed. It was approved in spite of majority opposition by those knowledgeable, affected, and to whom the ‘service’ is supposedly ‘provided’. In obvious reality to anyone reading this shell game legislation, the SRA is simply a massive ‘tax’ under a fictitious name, stealing monies already paid by the public for said ‘services’ so that the State may break its public promise by instead confiscating already budgeted monies for yet even more unaccountable special interest state allocated purposes. Now the State is again breaking its most recent promise to the people that the ‘fees’ of $150 per dwelling non-voluntarily levied upon 825,488 citizens would be spent ‘exclusively’ upon services provided those taxpayers, services which, at least for the discriminatorily targeted individuals, often do not even exist. Cal-Fire is paid for out of general budget to ‘protect’ PUBLIC LANDS, NOT private property. If not true, then the State would be responsible for private property losses for services failed to be performed, a concept laughed at in the halls of government. In fact, even the Bill’s publically placating promised ‘regionally earmarked grant’ monies are being confiscated until at least 2017 for ‘administrative purposes’. This is NOT a supplementary tax willingly voted upon by the affected tax base for specifically provided beneficial services. Instead, this is a premeditated raping of an unequally represented affected minority by a benefitting bureaucracy that believes such selective injustice will be unopposed by the unaffected majority, regardless of ethics or breach of law.
The only ways this shameful example of subterfuge could be made equitable is if;
- The objective was structured as a special supplementary service tax, where appropriated funds would be used to provide personal coverage exclusively for the benefit and requiring a vote of the affected people or;
- The State expands Cal Fire ‘service’ options, assuming additional responsibility and liability for protecting those VOLUNTARILY participating private interests on an individually paid basis, much as any other service business would operate or;
- If implemented under the current Bill provisions, that those wishing not to participate may choose to opt out on a property by property basis, which is technically feasible as ‘coverage’ districts and properties are already determined on an individual basis.
Knowing none of these equitable and Constitutionally compliant options are likely to be pursued, we can’t implore strongly enough that every effort be made to completely repeal this inherently untenable Act.