Another Left-Wing Lie: The 50% Cut in Texas Wildfire Funding That Wasn’t

Note: My numbers below are somewhat off…but those of critical commentators are also off. See this post for the complete breakdown of Texas Forest Service/Wildfire Fighting and Prevention Funding. The bottom line is that it was increased by 80%.

You may have noticed several fires breaking out in Central Texas due to the prolonged drought and high winds. You may also have noticed liberals crowing about how the latest Texas budget cut wildfire response by 50%. That would indeed seem to be shortsighted, except for one tiny fact:

It isn’t true.

Evidently the myth arises from pieces like this one from earlier in the year, citing unnamed sources in the midst of budget negotiations saying such a cut was proposed. Not passed, mind you, but proposed. And it doesn’t say by who.

But when you look at the actual numbers for the passed budget, they tell a radically different story.

First, let’s look at funding for the 2010-2011 biennium passed by the 81st Legislature, where the Texas Forest Service was allocated $38,550,563, most of which was for wildfire fighting and prevention.

Next let’s look at the 2012-2013 biennium passed by the 82nd Legislature; sorry, I was only able to find a PDF, but the relevant information can be found near the top of page 15, where it states that the legislature allocated $81 million for the Texas Forest Service for wildfires.

So not only did the Texas state legislature and Governor Rick Perry not reduce the amount for wildfire fighting and prevention, they actually doubled the amount spent on it.

So a real natural tragedy is being used by opportunistic liberals to slander politicians (and let’s face it, a state) that they already hated. The original Think Progress etc. pieces were merely half-baked rumor. Repeating them today, however, makes them an actual lie.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but no one is entitled to their own facts.

Edited to add: The Texas State Fiscal year starts on September 1st, so the state is operating under the 2012-2013 biennium budget now.

Tags: , , ,

15 Responses to “Another Left-Wing Lie: The 50% Cut in Texas Wildfire Funding That Wasn’t”

  1. ps says:

    The numbers above are bogus. According to the Legislative Budget Board’s website, the Legislature allocated the following for wildfires:
    2008-9 $96 million
    2010-11 $86 million
    (http://bapm.lbb.state.tx.us/main.aspx?FiscalYear=2011 )

    From SB 2:
    SECTION 29.  Texas Forest Service. In addition to amounts   appropriated to the Texas Forest Service in House Bill 1, Acts of   the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, 2011, there is hereby   appropriated $40,000,000 in General Revenue in fiscal year 2012 to   the agency for combating wildfire. Any unexpended balances as of   August 31, 2012, are hereby appropriated to the Texas Forest   Service for the fiscal year beginning September 1, 2012, for the   same purpose.
    (http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/821/billtext/html/SB00002F.htm )

    NOTE: HB 1 was left in committee, so no additional money there.

    So…
    2011 $43 million
    2012 $40 (current year)

    That’s a 7% cut according to my math…

  2. Holly Hansen says:

    Thanks for doing your homework on this! We cannot let the Left get away with creating these ‘urban/political myths.’

  3. Lawrence Person says:

    1. I get an error when I try to download a file from that page.
    2. The page itself says “Report Generated on 2/8/2011 (Does not necessarily reflect up-to-date information)”. That, and the “81R Reporting” being the most recently listed piece of information (which would, I think, still be the 81st Texas legislature, not the 82nd), would tend to indicate that the information presented there is out-of-date.

    What evidence do you have that the report done by the Texas A&M Office of Governmental Relations is “bogus”?

  4. Corey Leamon says:

    Actually, ps is right (albeit he didn’t show it very explicitly). Your post had me curious. I appreciate your desire to provide sources and agree that people should be providing them with their “tweets”, but it doesn’t seem that A&M has calculated properly.

    If you look at HB1 for estimated general appropriations, you will see that Texas Forest Service received $37,779,849 in allocated funds.
    http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Bill_82/1_Recommend/Bill-82-1_Senate_Recommend.pdf
    The pdf comes from here: http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/
    (why it’s on a separate site is beyond me)

    Then, in HB4 (when they decided to open “rainy day” funds), an extra $1,407,378 was allocated, including firefighter pension funds.
    http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/html/HB00004I.htm

    In total, that is $39.2 million.
    I looked through the entirety of the bills, because I wanted to get at the truth as much as you. Have a look yourself, and make updates to your post as you see fit. The A&M file ironically didn’t list their sources. Their only listed sources is an “analysis team” consisting of a couple people for each category.

  5. Marjorie Nye says:

    You can’t just pick numbers out of context and apply them to your biased argument as needed. The $38 million for the forest service is their total budget. Below that is the figure for wildfire prevention, copied directly from the same text: – Texas Forest Service: $7 million for Texas Wildfire Protection Plan

    Moreover, it should be noted that Perry is now bemoaning the lack of monetary response from the feds for Texas crisis. How hypocritical of Perry to propose a budget cut at the state level while expecting the entire nation to chip in for his “smaller government” bull cr*p.

  6. John Bryans Fontaine says:

    APPENDIX D: SUMMARY OF BIENNIAL STATE BUDGET, Page 39 :

    ESTIMATED/BUDGETED E/B BIENNIAL
    2008-09 2010-11 Change % Change
    Texas Forest Service 76,370,730 38,550,563 (37,820,167) (49.5)

  7. Lawrence Person says:

    Interesting, but we’re not in the 2010-2011 budget, we’re in the 2012-2013 budget as of September 1.

  8. [...] my original post, there seems to have been some confusion over the exact budget numbers for Texas Forest Service and [...]

  9. [...] for 2012/2013.  Fortunately, Battleswarm Blog can both think and do research – as seen here and here – which means that I don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting this time.  [...]

  10. [...] of this month). Fortunately, Battleswarm Blog can both think and do research – as seen here and here – which means that I don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting this time. [...]

  11. [...] of this month).  Fortunately, Battleswarm Blog can both think and do research – as seen here and here – which means that I don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting this time.  [...]

  12. [...] of this month).  Fortunately, Battleswarm Blog can both think and do research – as seen here and here – which means that I don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting this time.  [...]

Leave a Reply