As others see it: Fire-safety fund raid is bad ideaMinnesota firefighters are crying foul at one of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proposed budget balance moves — a government switch-a-roo.
By: West Central Tribune, Worthington Daily Globe
Minnesota firefighters are crying foul at one of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proposed budget balance moves — a government switch-a-roo.
Pawlenty has proposed as part of his supplemental budget a plan to raid a fire-safety training fund and transfer nearly $10 million over two years to the general fund.
This is not a good idea, especially for rural and city volunteer fire departments.
In fact, this training fund raid could actually endanger the safety and experience of Minnesota’s 20,000-plus firefighters and the citizens they serve as well.
Minnesota volunteer firefighters not only battle fires in the state, but also often are among the first responders to accidents and/or medical emergencies. Continued fire safety training is needed throughout the state.
The fire safety account is a specialty revenue account generated by a 0.65 percent surcharge on homeowner and commercial insurance policies since 2006. The fund’s specific purpose was to help pay and support fire-safety training.
This training support is critical, especially in rural township and small city departments where most training budgets are limited.
Pawlenty supported this firesafety training surcharge when it was implemented in 2006 for this specific purpose.
Now he wants to gut the firesafety training fund generated by Minnesota insurance surcharges. This move would short-circuit firefighter training around the state.
This Pawlenty budget switch-a-roo is simply a boneheaded proposal. The Legislature should reject it. It is a bad budget proposal that puts Minnesotans and firefighters unnecessarily at risk.
West Central Tribune