Sacramento, CA — This week the Assembly budget committee voted unanimously to increase CAL Fire’s budget by $20-million to both remove dead trees and conduct prescribed burns.
It will help offset some of the loss of revenue in the Governor’s May revised budget for localized tree mortality efforts. We reported recently that the Governor’s latest proposal cuts tree mortality localized funding from the planned $52-million down to only $2-million during the fiscal year that starts July 1st. Those figures still remain the same, however, as the new funding goes straight to CAL Fire, as opposed to being available in a pot for more localized county-type efforts. During this week’s committee hearing, Republican Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno requested that at least $10-million of the localized tree mortality funding be restored, but the request was denied. Patterson says he was disappointed because projects ranging from skate parks to K9 retirement accounts were approved.
He adds, “Making sure these trees are removed before they fall on their own must be a greater priority for this legislature. Adding an extra $10-million for local tree mortality efforts is a drop in the bucket in comparison with our state budget. This is about public safety for families, firefighters and people who visit our mountain communities.”
Patterson says the committee did, however, also make a change that will help counties in California’s “high-hazard” areas fund tree removal projects through the California Disaster Assistance Act without putting up a mandatory 25% funding match.