Michael Allen of Opposing Views.com is pointing out a damning report from Texas ABC affiliate KVUE about Rick Perry and the funding of volunteer fire departments.
According to the original KVUE report:
State funding for volunteer fire departments is taking a big hit. It is going from $30 million to $7 million. Those departments are already facing financial strains. The State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas represents 21,000 state firefighters. The Association says more than 80 percent of volunteer firefighters are reporting taking a personal hit in the budget crisis. They have started using their own money to help pay for equipment and supplies.
“We’ve seen budget cuts, but this is the worst time that we’ve ever seen,” said Executive Director Chris Barron. “As far as the budget crisis and the fuel cost stuff for example continues to go up and it doesn’t help us out any whatsoever, so with the rising fuel and the budget cuts from the state it’s taken a great effect. I think the citizens and the public is going to see that.”
You can see their full report here.
According to Perry yesterday, an area the size of Connecticut has been destroyed by wildfires in Texas this year. 1,000 homes have been burned. Countless people have been evacuated. Also according to Perry the fire is exactly 0% contained.
Monday in a press conference Perry had a chance to sing the praises of his small government, budget slashing style of government as his state burned (btw, TX is getting federal funds to fight the fire… comments hit around 5:56)
To our firefighters again, I want to remind them of the just great gratitude that the people of this state have for you. People from California, from all across this country are here helping us.
I mean, this is the classic example of neighbor helping neighbor. And our prayers are with them and for their well-being and certainly for their success in this – in this mission.
Alex Pareene of Salon has another good write up on this.
****UPDATE**** According to AP:
Wildfire season in Texas most costly on record
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – State officials say 2011 will go down as the
most expensive wildfire season on record in Texas, and the price
tag is still climbing.
The Texas Forest Service said Wednesday that fighting wildfires
have cost an estimated $61.5 million in the last few months alone.
That’s on top of $121 million lawmakers gave the agency in June to
help pay for wildfires earlier this spring.
Robby Dewitt, the forest service’s finance official, says it’s
the most Texas has spent on wildfires since records started being
kept in the mid-1990s.
Dewitt said at least $33.5 million in federal grants is expected
to help offset costs.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday that 53
fire assistance grants authorized for Texas this year is one short
of the record set in 1996.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
APTV 09-07-11 1420EDT