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Willisms

« Myths and flat out lies about Texas and Rick Perry- Education. | WILLisms.com | Texas Debt Versus U.S. Debt. »

Texas Forest Service Budget As High As It Has Ever Been.

Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 940 -- Texas Did Not Slash Firefighting Capabilities-

There's plenty of (almost joyful, schadenfreude-inspired) chatter out there on the left, relishing the wildfires in Texas. One of the arguments liberals are making right now is that Texas "slashed" its wildfire fighting budget. So, is that so?

No:

texasforestservice.gif
click for larger version
The Volunteer Firefighter Assistance Account appropriation for the 2012-13 biennium is comparable to amounts included in previous budgets signed by Gov. Perry. A one-time increase in funding for the 2010-11 biennium included funding for recommended capital costs like new equipment. Included below are the appropriations amounts for the Texas Forest Service for each budget signed by Gov. Perry. The Volunteer Firefighter Service Account is included in the total Texas Forest Service appropriation.

The Texas legislature traditionally makes supplemental appropriations to provide additional funding to cover unexpected costs related to disasters, including wildfires. This year, the legislature approved $121 million in supplemental spending of this sort. The threat of unpredictable natural disasters including as wildfires is precisely why Gov. Perry insisted that Texas’ 2012-13 budget not include any spending from the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which currently has an estimated balance of $6.5 billion.

Texas Forest Service appropriations

Biennium Total (in millions)

2002 – 2003 $43.5

2004 – 2005 $70.6

2006 – 2007 $72.4

2008 – 2009 $75.2

2010 – 2011 $109.2

2012 – 2013 $75.4

This bunk about wildfires and "slashed" budgets reminds me a lot of the other bogus, misleading, and ignorant reporting about the Texas budget, usually by non-Texans, over the past several months.

Texas didn't "slash" anything. If anything, the state firefighting budget is as high as it has ever been, and the Texas Forest Service is as well-equipped and well-prepared as it has ever been, with more recently-trained volunteer firefighters than ever before. There was a one-time surge in Texas Forest Service spending for equipment, from 2009 stimulus dollars, into the 2010-2011 biennial budget. That temporary surge was never intended to be a new baseline. It was for one-time capital expenditures.

You wonder why there's a spending problem in Washington? This mentality of never, ever being able to return to the normal baseline of spending after a supposedly temporary injection of stimulus is a perfect example of why budgets are out of control in Washington and balanced in Texas.

UPDATE:
And here's a video version of this graphic:

-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Shattering Texas Education Myths.

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Posted by Will Franklin · 7 September 2011 06:13 PM

Comments

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Posted by: Steve at September 7, 2011 11:05 PM

Story on Rick Perry cutting of firefighting budget in International Business Times.

The Texas Forest service has only 200 fire fighters. The forest service is primarily responsible for stewardship and fire mitigation.

Rueters:

Volunteers -- two of whom were killed in fighting this year's fires -- make up nearly 80 percent of the state's fire-fighting force and are first responders to roughly 90 percent of wildfires in Texas.

"Volunteer programs are our No. 1 defense," Forest Service Director Tom Boggus told Reuters.

-------
Rick Perry cut the Texas volunteer fire fighting from $30 million to $7 million.

According to KVUE-TV, the state of Texas, under Gov. Rick Perry, cut state funding for the volunteer fire departments that protect most of the state from wildfires. Firefighters have actually been dipping into their own pockets to fight fires.

Volunteer departments that were already facing financial strain had their funding cut from $30 million to $7 million. There are 879 volunteer fire departments in Texas; 114 are paid fire departments, while 187 departments are a combination of volunteer and paid.

At a press conference Monday, Perry promised to seek federal disaster relief and said that FEMA would be in the state by Wednesday.

Posted by: Truth at September 8, 2011 08:47 AM

Your point? Again, there was a one-time stimulus that bumped up budgets in 2010-2011. They went back to normal baselines in 2012-13. The infusion in 2010-2011 trained a lot of new volunteers and equipped them.

And Texas separately appropriates dollars for disasters like these.

The meme that Texas "slashed" budgets is absurdly false.

Posted by: Will Franklin at September 8, 2011 09:59 AM

I'm happy to report that you actually understate the amount in the budget for the 2012-2013 biennium; counting the amounts added in the special session (and before the budget took effect September 1), the total amount for 2012-2013 was $196.2 million:

http://www.battleswarmblog.com/?p=8337

Posted by: Lawrence Person at September 8, 2011 08:02 PM

A very usefull post - Thank you very much I hope you dont mind me blogging about this post on my blog I will also leave a linkback Thanks.

Posted by: Friend at September 9, 2011 04:25 AM

Yeah, Lawrence, that's when you include that extra $121 million. It's not really part of the Texas Forest Service budget, it's more of an emergency fund. But, yeah, it's there, and it's large. The liberals should really apologize for getting this one extremely wrong.

Posted by: Will Franklin at September 9, 2011 08:55 AM

So in the end it was a net zero this year and next, (forest service increase, volunteer FD decreased by ~the same) then in 2013... that balance is gone... how is that not cutting funding? (It would have been better to reduce the FS and increase the FD instead... again a bad policy of putting what few resources we have in the WRONG place.)

Posted by: Charles Lupton at September 9, 2011 12:29 PM