The Legislature cut the agency's funding this year to $83 million from $117 million, according to Robby DeWitt, the forest service's associate finance director.
Chris Barron, executive director of the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association of Texas, said: "It's very frustrating that they don't have the proper tools and resources to fight these fires. If fire departments had enough funding, if the forest service had enough funding, we wouldn't be in this predicament over each and every year."The issue is drawing more attention in part because of the sheer scope of the Central Texas wildfire, which has destroyed more than 1,500 homes and killed at least two people. There's also a new political component as critics charge that the budget cuts are proof that the fiscal restraint Gov. Rick Perry is touting on the presidential campaign trail comes at a price.
Update 9/10: It's even better than I thought. H/T to the LW.
In some cases, fire officials say, firefighters have had to pay out of pocket for basic necessities like proper protective gear and fuel to get them to the scene. One fire department that battled the blazes in Bastrop County had to pay for a hose, recalled Bastrop City Fire Chief Henry Perry, speaking to The Huffington Post during a break from working the wild fires.
"That fire department has been on this fire every day," he said. "Before this fire, they were having to buy stuff out of their own pocket." Perry said he knows of at least one other department whose firemen had to pay for equipment maintenance and engine fuel.
In libertard paradise Texas, volunteer fire fighters get to not only risk their lives fighting wild fires, they also get the honor of paying for their own equipment, maintenance, and fuel to get to the fire. All of this so that corporations can enjoy a business environment unfettered by burdensome taxation. Brilliant! Maybe next time one of those miraculous businesses will burn to the ground.
Of course, the Texas miracle is utter bull shit, and Perry is a politically shrewd, though otherwise not particularly bright, sociopathic opportunist who takes pride in his 243 executions, and because of them garnered the largest applause of the night from the conservative lizards in the audience at the Rethug deba
“Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times,” NBC’s Brian Williams told Perry as the conservative audience broke into cheers and applause. “Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?”
“No, sir, I’ve never struggled with that at all,” Perry flatly stated. “In the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you’re involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas, and that is you will be executed.”
Does the rest of the country love state-sponsored murder the way Texans and the rest of the Jebus-loving conservatard lizard-people do? Will it even be an issue in the presidential campaign? It should (emphasis added) in this trombonist's humble opinion.
Perry has commuted the death sentences of 31 inmates. The great majority of those commutations — 28 — involved cases in which the defendant was a juvenile at the time of the crime. Perry begrudgingly commuted those sentences in 2005, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could not execute those who were younger than 18 at the time of their crime. “While these individuals were convicted by juries of brutal murders and sentenced to die for their heinous crimes, I have no choice but to commute these sentences to life in prison,” Perry said at the time.
In two other cases, Perry commuted to life in prison the death sentences of inmates who were proven mentally retarded, another group of individuals the nation’s highest court has excluded from the death penalty.
Perry deeply regrets not being able to legally murder children and the mentally impaired. If he gets to be President, not only can we ALL be like Texas, Perry will get to name even more radical right wing lizard-people to the Supreme Court. I am SO looking forward to that.