The $150 per year fire fee instituted as part of last year’s budget solution may be coming to an end, after a surprising 7-1 vote by one Assembly Committee.

The Assembly Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on AB 1506 which would repeal the $150 per structure fee. It’s a fee that some have called unfair and others have described as unconstitutional. As it stands now, residents in areas that CalFire has responsibility for delivering fire services must pay a $150 per structure fee.

However, opponents of the plan say it is unfair to charge the fee. Many residents already pay local fees and taxes for fire services, and making them pay twice is wrong.

Other opponents challenge the constitutionality of a fee they say is a tax. The tax was not approved by a two-thirds majority, and thereby violated the law.

From the Press Enterprise:

A Republican effort to repeal California’s $150 fire-prevention charge on structures in rural areas cleared its first committee Monday.

The unexpected outcome underscores some majority Democrats’ misgivings about the fire fee, just months before officials begin to collect it.

“It was surprising. But we’ve heard discussions in the building that there were growing concerns that the fee was not going to do what was originally hoped,” Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R-Lake Elsinore, said after the 7-1 vote by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.

Read the full article here.