- Associated Press - Friday, July 28, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Rural California property owners are still on the hook for a controversial wildfire prevention fee this year, even though state lawmakers recently suspended the levy starting next year.

The state Department of Tax and Fee Administration said Friday that property owners still owe for the current year and any past-due bills since the program started in 2011.

Lawmakers suspended the bills that would have been sent next spring assessing owners $152 for each habitable structure. It was part of a compromise extending California’s cap-and-trade program to address climate change.

Fee opponent and Board of Equalization member George Runner is among Republicans criticizing the compromise because it doesn’t reimburse homeowners for previous years.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is continuing a legal challenge to what it calls an illegal tax.

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