Beginning in 2015, the state will no longer take money out of a pair of special accounts to help shore up the General Fund.
The fire safety account and the construction code fund, both of which are funded by special surcharges, have been tapped in recent years to help balance the state’s budget. Critics say this has diverted money away from these two funds’ legitimate purposes: firefighting activities and building inspections.
Effective July 1, 2015 unless otherwise noted, a new law will end the statutory transfers of money out of these two accounts. It will also reduce the respective surcharges that fund them. Specifically:
• the 0.65 percent surcharge on homeowners’ insurance that funds the fire safety account will be reduced to 0.5 percent, effective July 1, 2013; and
• the $5 building permit surcharge that funds the construction code fund will be reduced to $1, effective July 1, 2015.
Sponsored by Rep. Carolyn McElfatrick (R-Deer River) and Sen. Al DeKruif (R-Madison Lake), the law also establishes base funding for the state fire marshal and for firefighter training and education for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. It also appropriates $4.5 million for fiscal year 2013 to the Department of Public Safety for fire-related activities.
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