Texas Severely Cut Back Funds for Volunteer Firefighters Earlier in the Year

Via KVUE in Austin from March 23, 2011:  Volunteer firefighters in Texas struggle with financial crisis

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.”

Most of the State of Texas is protected by volunteer departments. There are 879 volunteer departments compared to 114 paid departments and 187 departments that are a combination of both paid and volunteer firefighters.

The story notes that some bills were before the legislature that might alleviate some of the above-described problems, but I do not know if they were passed or not (given the austerity in Texas this year, I am guessing not).

This is combination of an example of bad timing and of the consequences of pretending like cuts to services have no impact.


h/t:  Rawstory.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. legion says:

    Texas, like many states, has been saving money by cutting its state budget and begging for replacement $$ from DC for things they can no longer afford to do themselves. Who do Republicans (and Perry in particular) expect to top off federal funding when they cut the crap out of that too?

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Well, them there firefighters are big gubmint, you know.

    Kind of the classic case, really. Perry doesn’t want to admit he needs to raise taxes so the state burns down. And this we would describe as “conservative.”

    What a maroon. Doesn’t he know you don’t cut emergency services? You cut schools because it takes years before anyone realizes their kids aren’t getting an education. Or you cut everything and anything to the poor because Perry’s corporate overlords don’t care. But rich people need fire departments, too. Never cut services to rich people.

  3. matt says:

    @michael reynolds: They are making massive cuts to schools…

  4. john personna says:

    Hey, government spending is an nonproductive segment of the economy. I heard that just this morning.

  5. Gustopher says:

    You get what you pay for. Or you get raging fires when you don’t pay for fire departments.

    Sucks to be them, but they brought it on themselves. Perry’s “Pray Away The Drought” plan worked about as well as expected.

    I hope the federal government intervenes to prevent the raging fires from crossing any state lines, but just lets Texas carry its own weight. And easily forseeable consequences of Texas’s own actions shouldn’t be declared a federal emergency.

  6. john personna says:


    Don’t forget, we’re supposed to de-fund FEMA as well.

  7. anjin-san says:


    Literacy is overrated…

  8. legion says:

    Literacy is overrated…
    Reedin is no gud.


  9. Tlaloc says:

    what kills me is with all the kvethching about “entitlement mindsets” the tea party seems the biggest bunch of entitled brats ever. They demand they get all their services but shouldn’t have to pay anything for them. It’s a temper tantrum on a national scale.

  10. WR says:

    Hey, what’s the big deal here? After all, these are volunteeer firefighters. They’re doing this because they want to — and they want the people of Texas to kick in and pay for all those hoses and trucks and gasoline? If they’re going to volunteer, they should pay their own way.

    Oh, and if they let my house burn down, I’m going to sue them for everything they’ve got and more. Because they volunteered to save me, so they’d better damn well do it.

    And if they get burned fighting these fires, I don’t want them crawling back to me whining about how their health insurance got cancelled and they can’t afford millions of dollars for skin grafts. If they’re real Americans, they’ll make it on their own, and not suck off the teat of the government.

    This message brought to you by Jay Tea, Jan, and the rest of the Tea Party Fans.

  11. anjin-san says:

    This message brought to you by Jay Tea, Jan, and the rest of the Tea Party Fans.

    Shockingly, they seem to have nothing to say on this topic…

  12. Hey Norm says:

    Who needs firemen (or women) when god’s got your back…oh…wait…