Tim Donnelly held court Wednesday night, attacking fellow members of the California State Assembly, railing against "illegal" taxes and urging angry taxpayers to join suits against the state.


The first-term Republican 59th district assemblyman held a town hall meeting at the at the Hesperia Branch Library, answering questions from constituents on his views on pending and recently approved legislation and the direction Sacramento is heading.


"The budget is based on 'I hope so,'" he said, particularly as it's balanced based on the state seeing faster than expected growth in the coming year. "Whatever happened to cutting down our budget to within our means?"


Donnelly spoke for roughly an hour and a half to a crowd of about 100. He had promoted the evening as a chance for constituents to learn about a new fee imposed on residents living in unincorporated areas of the county, although the dialogue quickly moved onto other topics.


ABX1-29, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in July, will charge property owners $150 per structure on state wild lands, called State Responsibility Areas. The law would affect about 850,000 structures outside city boundaries or federally protected areas.


Local portions of the SRAs include Phelan, Pinon Hills, Wrightwood, Oak Hills, Lucerne Valley and southern unincorporated Apple Valley.


Brown has said the bill will require homeowners to pay their share of wildfire fighting costs. State spending on fire protection has increased from $583 million in 2001-02 to $1 billion in 2011-12, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, partly because of increased development in wild land areas. The bill aims to raise $50 million in revenue in its first year and another $200 million annually in following years.


But opponents question the legality of the legislation and whether local residents would benefit directly from the additional revenue.


"I feel your pain," Donnelly said, imitating former president Bill Clinton.


He characterized ABX1-29 as an illegal tax hike, since it wasn't passed with the two-thirds majority required for tax hikes. He encouraged angry constituents to join the lawsuits several organizations are threatening over the bill.


The assemblyman will hold a special town hall meeting on the fee hike in Apple Valley at the end of September, but no date has been set at this time.


Donnelly also decried what he said was the short-sighted greed of his fellow legislators, who attempted to get sales tax revenue from out of state online stores. In response, companies like Amazon terminated their affiliate programs that allow Californians to get a commission on products sold their websites.


"I can't believe the governor and the ruling party reached for the two in the bush," trading the income tax generated by Amazon Associates (and users of similar programs) for sales tax revenue they'll never get. "We've just blown a $4 or $5 million hole in our budget."


He also spoke out in favor of legal immigration, outsourcing prisons and defended the Democrats of the 59th district as not being accurately represented by "extremist" Democratic politicians in Sacramento.


"We're Americans. Not only that, we're Californians, the best and brightest, because we came from all over to be here," said Donnelly, a transplant from Michigan himself. "We are going to stand up and fight for this state. We are going to make California great again."


Staff writer Natasha Lindstrom contributed to this report.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.