California’s Proposition 30 could add up to $1 billion to CAL FIRE’s budget

CAL FIRE budget

On November 8 California voters could approve a proposition that would add up to $1 billion to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection budget.

Proposition 30 would create an additional 1.75% state tax on personal income above $2 million that would used for zero-emission vehicle subsidies; zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging stations; and wildfire suppression and prevention programs.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office expects the measure would would raise $3.5 billion to $5 billion annually, growing over time. Of that, 20 percent would be spent on wildfire response and prevention activities. In general, the state would have to prioritize spending to hire, train, and retain state firefighters. The rest of the money could be used for other wildfire response and prevention activities. The proposition would increase state funding for wildfire response and prevention activities by $700 million to $1 billion annually. The state typically spends about $2 billion to $4 billion annually on wildfire activities, mostly on firefighting.

The other 80 percent of the additional revenue would be used to help households, businesses, and governments pay for part of the cost of new passenger zero emission vehicles, as well as electric vehicle charging stations at apartment buildings, single-family homes, and public locations.

In other news about California’s spending on its wildfire program, Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed $800 million over the next two years to implement various efforts to improve forest health and make communities more resilient to future wildfires.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

14 thoughts on “California’s Proposition 30 could add up to $1 billion to CAL FIRE’s budget”

  1. Why do we need a new tax when the state has a $1 billion budget surplus?? Fund CalFire’s budget from existing tax revenues. And as W said, “The devil is in the details.”. Indeed.

  2. Ohh so the revenues that emergency fire services (including the State and Counties) get from the past approval of Proposition 19 (a Prop 13) a go around are not enough! The Proposition System in California is nothing but a ruse. The titles are misleading. Just another way to fund something and not come out of the general fund and look at the surplus the state is sitting on, shameful.

  3. This is another political money grab in Ca. The current budget surplus has garnered CALFIRE significant increases already. Since Gavin took office there has been talk of a sweeping increase in State income tax. Make no mistake, this is the first step. Politicians in Ca have a torrid history of writing tax initiatives in a way that allows them to do whatever they want with the money. Just think back to the last few election cycles. The improper use of taxpayer money in Ca has gone on for years, tax and spend, spend, spend…..then cry poverty and make your state public service agencies take pay cuts. Gavin wants nothing more than to be President and he needs all the media attention he can get.

  4. Meanwhile, the sh__ lagoon that is the USFS is incessantly pressuring their district folks to burn everything in sight with NO additional help and/or resources on the ground. The Regional and Supervisors offices keep adding GS fantastics to their orgs at an exponential rate though!

  5. A spot-on assessment Steve. Like my father used to say, “If they had all the money in the world, it wouldn’t be enough”. Not only are the state’s Emergency services “employee organizations” advocating for the funding, but they are also in competition with the teachers’ unions. Anyone who lives in California knows they spend a lot on education yet rank as one of the lowest test scores in the country.

    The California Attorney General titles the initiatives and this one originated from the Legislature, so it has dubious
    self-serving motives at the start.

  6. ?? Maybe invest in re-evaluating whether or not 24hr on/off shifts for cal-fire fighters is a good idea or not.

  7. Its gonna take more than a billion to replace all the diesel powered fire engines and gas powered chainsaws that are to be outlawed

  8. Wow, imagine what a billion dollars could do for The federal fire program. Cal-Fire may as well just incorporate the whole R5 fire program into their ranks, they certainly can afford it. After being on the last couple of Fed incidents, it seems like most Federal IMTs in Ca are made up of local government anyway. The Mosquito Fire is in federal jurisdiction with a federal IMt and it’s 90% state and local government…and its PL3. Our crews are depleted, and Cal Fire is getting stronger and more well funded every year. Even in federal FRa, if there’s any type of WUI on the incident Cal-Fire is going to take over anyway. I hate to say it, but after 20+ years of watching Line Officers screw over their fire programs, if they are not going to fund us appropriately maybe Cal-Fire should just take it over.

  9. Agreed, having worked for both Feds and The State this is an objective standpoint…The 24 hour on 24 hours off is really the only thing holding Cal-Fire back. Certainly when life and property are imminently threatened, it makes sense to have resources working 24 hours a day. CalFire has a lot of great aggressive firefighters but most Large CalFire incidents I’ve worked on over the years are frustratingly disorganized, it usually takes the Divison Supervisor until 1400 just to figure out what happened from the previous shift when he was at the hotel by then the fire is blowing out. In this day and age as fires are making 10,000 acre a day runs you can’t take every other day off and fight the fire effectively. Besides every , contract, state, and fed firefighter knows that 80% of the time most firefighters are sleeping most of the night unless life and property are at risk. Why waste the money and the manpower having 50% of your workforce in the hotel on any given day.

  10. Rangetech,

    Obviously being well funded and “stronger” doesn’t make you anymore effective. And as far as “federal” IMTs being made up of mostly state and local cooperators only being a California thing, I’ll say look around a little harder.

  11. Firefighting capacity is important, in fact vital to a rounded wildland fire management program. If the fire culture doesn’t quit spending the money on “firefighting” and start spending it on fire management (there’s a 70s term) it wouldn’t matter if all budgets were doubled or tripled. The change has to come from the troops, leaders and managers.

    Why don’t the greedy understand they would make even more if they were as aggressive about prescribed fire as they are “fighting fire”. Maybe one (firefighting) is less challenging from a plan preparation, purpose and need, interdisciplinary process and implementation risk? I have wrestled professionally with the paradigm (more fires suppressed = more intense wildfire) for over 50 years. Sadly, I see negative progress on implementing the science that has been understood for the same amount of time and longer.

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