In 1994 a half-cent sales tax was enacted to help alleviate the effect of the state's money grab of property taxes from local governments and districts because of the 1993-94 budget problems. To get the public to pass Proposition 172, advertisements depicted firefighters and the police saving lives and property. It's obvious that law enforcement and fire services are the primary entities providing public safety. Both should benefit from Proposition 172.
According to the state controller's office, Stanislaus County has received $72 million in Proposition 172 funds in the last two years; none of this money went to any fire district. In the current budget, the Sheriff's Department gets $25 million; the district attorney's office $5 million; and the probation department $7.9 million. Fire districts get $0.
There have been articles and comments from our county supervisors that depict the dismal financial situation some fire districts are in. County supervisors feel that fire districts are not part of the public safety program. All supervisors were e-mailed with my concerns; only Jim DeMartini contacted me.