Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, R-Hesperia, introduced a bill Thursday to extend the due date for fire fees from 30 days to 60 days.

Assembly Bill 288 will give rural homeowners in California more time to pay or dispute their fire prevention fee.

“I believe the fire prevention fee is an illegal tax, and I am hopeful that the courts will strike it down. However, in the meantime the current payment timeline is entirely too short, often making it difficult for rural homeowners to comply,” Obernolte said.

The fire fee was created to address a $50 million budget deficit in the 2011 budget bill.

CalFire identities households in State Responsibility Areas of fire protection and the Board of Equalization bills these homeowners on a rolling basis with a due date of 30 days from the postmark. Therefore, the assessment often comes unexpectedly, giving homeowners little time to plan for the payment.

Under current law, if a homeowner does not pay or file a dispute within 30 days, they will incur penalties and interest.