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Kevin Jeffries Denounces 'Sun Tax'

"I can't imagine defending a policy of this nature, let alone spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend it in the courtroom. It is simply reckless," Jeffries said.

A lawmaker from Lake Elsinore seeking to unseat Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster in the November election today denounced a county policy to assess fees on solar power companies.

"The backers of these renewable energy projects are asking the courts for relief for what they believe to be an illegal tax masquerading as a fee, and fear that this added cost ... could doom a number of projects and cause them to move to other counties that are more competitive and job friendly," said Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore).

"Our region has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state; we cannot afford to let overzealous county fees and regulations chase jobs away," said Jeffries, who is being termed out of office and is contesting Supervisor Buster in what's shaping up to be a tight race for his First District seat.

Buster could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jeffries acknowledged that developers should pay "for the impacts they create on traffic, public safety and other infrastructure," but he said the board's policy was the wrong way to go about it.

"I can't imagine defending a policy of this nature, let alone spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend it in the courtroom. It is simply reckless," Jeffries said. "Trying to cash in on industries attempting to create new jobs and investment in Riverside County is short-sighted. It kills jobs and does nothing to protect our county from impacts."

Buster joined his fellow board members last November in unanimously approving the policy, which is

The industry groups are seeking to have the policy invalidated because, they argue, it amounts to a tax, and any tax must be approved by voters under Proposition 26.

The plaintiffs also allege the assessment violates the state Mitigation Fee Act of 1987, which permits local agencies to charge developers a fee for the use of public services. However, according to the law, the fee must compensate for a specific project impact, and it must be reasonable.

If neither of those standards is clearly met, the fee can be declared a special tax, requiring voter approval.

County officials have noted that solar projects consume space that might otherwise be used for farming, recreation and housing. The supervisors have defended the policy as necessary to compensate the county for the use of its resources.

Around 20 solar projects are in the works, planned within a 118,000-acre area extending east from Desert Center to Blythe.

The policy requires that any solar power company -- with the exception of those producing 20 megawatts or less -- enter into development agreements and pay an annual $450 per-acre fee for access to public rights-of-way and for altering desert landscapes.

A trial on the lawsuit is slated for January.

"Our elected leaders have a dual duty to both protect our hard-earned tax dollars from any industry seeking to take improper or unethical advantage of taxpayer subsidies, and to simultaneously allow the private sector to flourish and create new jobs and clean energy free of excessive taxes and regulations," Jeffries said.

Danny Boy September 27, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Ya Michelle, I agree with you also. Although Horsethief Canyon Ranch was approved 10 or 15 years before Buster was in office, he has done a good job keeping the crime rate down, the fire response up and the needs of the people first.
In my opinion, there should be a user fee associated with using any public land in for-profit business operations. Not charging a user few, however small, is gifting of public lands which is illegal under current law. The county provides oversight of non-incorporated lands. The cost of this oversight should not be borne by the taxpayers alone. Let's help eco-friendly businesses, to be sure. A small user fee would help cover the cost of the infrastructure needed to support these business operations.Best Regards -- PAUL ANGULO / RIVERSIDE COUNTY AUDITOR-CONTROLLER / UNITED STATES ARMY VETERAN
Winston Mason October 31, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Pt 1 Kevin Jeffries For Supervisor? http://www.thebugle.net/images/stories/webcbmay2011.pdf http://www.thebugle.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=11&Itemid=140&lang= A surgeon observed the easiest patients to operate on are Politicians. There’s no guts, no heart, no balls, no brains, and no spine, -- and the head and the ass are interchangeable. To see if you agree that this describes Kevin Jeffries perfectly read on and visit www.thebugle.net for more “Because You Asked” answers to public inquiries. One other important point is that he illegally used the title of fireman as a ballot designation for years - which is probably why he was ever elected to the Western Water District in the first place. When he ran for State Assembly using that ballot designation, which is only allowed if it is your profess... ion, vocation or occupation, none of which is true for volunteer work that you do occasionally and especially when you can’t do the job and they assign you sit it out in a vehicle while the brave and dedicated volunteers do all the work. Ask the brave volunteers with the Department of Forestry in Lakeland Village about Jeffries’ performance and his photo ops. Anyway, the California Department of Forestry successfully sued Jeffries in 2006 for trying to use “Fireman” as his profession saying “we could not stand for voter deception”.
Winston Mason October 31, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Pt 2 Kevin Jeffries For Supervisor? http://www.thebugle.net/images/stories/webcbmay2011.pdf http://www.thebugle.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=11&Itemid=140&lang= “we could not stand for voter deception”. Jeffries having no profession, occupation or vocation to list as a ballot designation - remember he is a Lake Elsinore high school graduate from the days then the school had a very low rating for academic achievement - Jeffries assigned himself the title of “businessman”. He claims that title for helping his mother collect rents for commercial property that she inherited from a former husband. Worse, how about milking the Western Water District ratepayers for meeting stipends that you just show up for in order to be recognized and leave before the meeting even starts saying to Manager. Rossi, “You can handle it from here.” When I witnessed this travesty and called the District they said there is no policy on how long you have to be at the meeting to get paid. It is just understood that you should attend the full session. Understood by honest public servants maybe but not this one apparently. Is Jeffries a real scum bag or what?
Winston Mason October 31, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Roberto how can you say that?????? There IS a FIRE STATION right there at SYCAMORE CREEK! Indian Truck Trail - / Horse Thief Canyon - Riverside County Sheriff & CHP patrol the areas! TOTAL FAIL on facts from you...

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