The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

December 15, 2010
Legislator wants to ban "crash tax" in California

Sacramento's "crash tax" could hit a big roadblock if a state lawmaker gets his way.

State Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, introduced a bill today that would prohibit local governments from charging a fee or tax to nonresidents to recover costs for the emergency response.

Several cities in California already have such fees. Sacramento is still mulling one, though it delayed a vote last month to give newly elected City Council members more time to study up on it.

SB 49 would not be retroactive, but would cover Sacramento if it were passed before a city ordinance took effect.

"Hardworking Californians are already struggling to make ends meet and simply cannot afford yet another tax," Strickland said in a statement. "People who work hard and who budget carefully for a family vacation should not have to spend their hard-earned money on even more taxes."

"Californians, regardless of the city in which they live, work, or visit, should be awarded certain public safety protections," Strickland added. "They should be allowed to commute to work or travel on vacation without having to worry about a bill waiting for them when they get home."

The Sacramento proposal is now in its third version. At first, the plan was to bill out-of-town motorists. After protest, the city narrowed it down to only nonresidents who were at fault for a wreck. The latest iteration would dock all drivers who cause wrecks, residents and nonresidents alike.

The city's argument is that a motorist clearly at fault for a wreck is using up a fire crew that could otherwise respond to another emergency.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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