Reading this Times piece on the flooding in the tax-burdened Southern Tier of New York, and reading local items about the work of the many local volunteer first responders who are returning from helping with Irene flooding, and will probably help with the current flooding, I’m reminded of how Texas is enjoying their low taxes:
Severe cuts have also hit assistance grants to volunteer fire departments throughout Texas. The grants decreased from $30 million per year in 2010 and 2011 to $13.5 million per year in 2012 and 2013. These are cuts that firemen are now dealing with.
“I don’t agree with it. I understand what Governor Perry did,” said Henry Perry (no relation). “Do I like it? No. I don’t like it at all.”
The cuts come at a time when Texas fire departments have already been slowing purchases of new fire trucks and other critical equipment as a way to save money, said Guy Turner, president of the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters. The association had endorsed Perry in his re-election for governor in 2010.
“What I fear will happen is equipment will start to fail and put our members at peril,” Turner explained. “You can imagine if you’re inside a structure fire and your engine quits.”
Every little town in my part of New York has a remarkably well-equipped and well-staffed volunteer/professional fire and ambulance company. Our taxes are high, but we’re not worried about whether the fire truck’s pump will break, or whether the ambulance will start, when we call 911. When some natural disaster hits, we have enough capacity to send our fire and ambulance companies to the rest of the state, and if a disaster strikes here, we know we can rely on the other cities and towns to send theirs. I seem to be one of the few who remembers that when the conversation turns to the supposedly crippling high taxes that we pay.