Simpson said most of the $59 million in the Volunteer Fire Fighter Assistance Fund, which is collected from a tax on property and casualty insurers based on insurance policies, will be held by the state to certify the budget. The present budget appropriates $13.5 million to departments. Simpson wants at least $30 million for departments.
Volunteer departments were understaffed and inadequately supplied during last year’s wildfires, he said. The supplemental appropriations bill includes $161 million in reimbursements to the Texas A&M Forest Service and out-of-state contractors.
“Brave men and women from our communities spend their time and effort protecting us from wildfires and fires in our homes,” he said in a release. “This is a vital, core function of government, and we need to ensure that firemen are well trained and equipped properly.”