SACRAMENTO – Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) today expressed disappointment in the Joint Legislative Audit Committee’s (JLAC) denial of his request for an audit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), specifically the monies collected from the fire tax. Senator Gaines was able to generate strong, bi-partisan support for the audit, however, it was not enough to move the request forward.
“My district contains as many as 160,000 properties in State Responsibility Areas, whose owners have been paying the fire fee for the past six years. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be adequate accounting for the money collected – its total, its balance, and its administration.
“Although the collection of the fee is now being suspended, hundreds of millions of dollars have already been taken from largely rural taxpayers and they deserve to know what happened to that money, and if it was spent in a manner consistent with the law and their expectations.
“It was my hope that an audit of Cal Fire’s fire fee would assure me, my constituents and the public, that taxpayer interests are being served. It’s unfortunate that this information will remain in the dark and that government transparency will continue to be elusive.”