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Governor Signs Bill Imposing $150 Rural Fire Fighting Fee

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Kings Canyon National Park firefighter Paul Staley (L) tips over a burned-out tree stump that he and Richard Sinkovitz cut with a chain saw June 27, 2007 in South Lake Tahoe, California. An estimated 1,900 firefighters continue to battle the 3,000 acre Angora wildfire near Lake Tahoe that has destroyed more than 200 structures. Officials say the fire is 44 percent contained.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Kings Canyon National Park firefighter Paul Staley (L) tips over a burned-out tree stump that he and Richard Sinkovitz cut with a chain saw June 27, 2007 in South Lake Tahoe, California. An estimated 1,900 firefighters continue to battle the 3,000 acre Angora wildfire near Lake Tahoe that has destroyed more than 200 structures. Officials say the fire is 44 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a $150 annual wildfire protection fee for property owners in rural areas of California.

 

The Democratic governor announced Friday that he signed the bill to ensure rural property owners pay their share of the state’s wildland firefighting costs. The state has spent an average of $177 million a year for firefighting over the past decade.

 

The fee is expected to generate $50 million during this fiscal year and $200 million annually in the future.

 

It was one of two fees the Legislature’s Democratic majority approved as part of the state budget. The other is a $12 hike to the vehicle registration fee.

 

Anti-tax advocates say they plan to challenge the Legislature’s ability to impose fees without the two-thirds vote required for tax increases.

 

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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