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Californians may face more insurance fees

July 17, 2008 at 12:24 PM

OAKLAND, Calif., July 17 (UPI) -- California lawmakers said they have moved forward a bill that would require residents in wildfire-prone areas to pay homeowners' insurance surcharges.

As firefighting efforts consume the state's budget, Californians are understanding some residents may have to fork over additional fees as local municipalities pay greater attention to fire threats, the Christian Science Monitor reported Thursday.

"Everybody is now realizing we are going to spend a lot of money ... and we might have to pass tax increases to pay," said Bill Stewart, a forestry specialist at the University of California, Berkeley. "We're not paying for (fire protection) out of the petty cash drawer anymore."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger presented a proposal to require people in disaster-prone areas to pay higher surcharges for homeowners' insurance.

A version of the program was taken up by a budget conference committee this week, the report said.

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