Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

PRC Turns Up Heat On Raid of Fire Funds.(Final)(Editorial)


An arid state locked in a drought and protected by some of the least prepared fire departments in the region is a recipe for disaster. The devastating wildfires that have scorched New Mexico in recent years offer adequate proof of that.

One reason rural fire departments are unprepared is state government's ongoing raid of the fire protection fund to pay for everything but fire protection.

The fund, fed by a 3 percent tax on property and vehicle insurance premiums, generated almost $193 million during the past five years. But only $95.1 million of that less than half was spent on fire protection. Legislators and the governor have siphoned the rest, about $97. …

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