Longview — A state fund to equip and train volunteer fire departments should do just that, state Rep. David Simpson says in a rider he attached to the House budget bill.
Some $59 million sits in a fund drawn from fees that insurers pay on homeowner policies — an amount predicted to reach $90 million by the end of the fiscal year in August.
“But we’re only appropriating $13.5 million (a year for the 2014-15 budget),” Simpson, R-Longview, said Thursday.
Lawmakers in 2011 — just as historic drought fueled a wildfire season that taxed volunteer fire departments statewide — used the Volunteer Fire Fighter Assistance account as a ballast to balance the 2012-13 budget.
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