Minnesota homeowners pay into a special revenue account designed to help protect their well-being.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants to take $9.9 million from the Fire Safety Account, which helps pay for firefighter training, to help balance the state’s budget shortfall.
Rep. Steve Smith (R-Mound) doesn’t think that is right.
Held over by the House Public Safety Finance Division Feb. 25 for possible omnibus bill inclusion, HF2844, sponsored by Smith, would appropriate $4.4 million from the account in the current biennium for fire safety training. A companion, SF2502, sponsored by Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope), awaits action by the Senate Public Safety Budget Division.
This is a supplemental budget appropriation to support account purposes, Smith said. “The money has been available in the account since the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2009. … These are unappropriated funds that have been collected for a specific purpose.”
Fund revenue comes from a 0.65 percent surcharge on homeowner and commercial insurance properties, about $5.20 per year on an average home.
Because budget documents show that the dedicated fund, created in 2006, has a structural surplus of almost $4 million per year, the governor seeks to transfer the current balance and $3 million of the anticipated $4 million structural surplus in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. It is estimated that $1.5 million would remain in the account in the current fiscal year and $2.7 million the next.
The first year the fund was available, there were $2 million in requests and $1 million was given to the firefighter training board, and in the second year there was $2.5 million in requests and $1.4 million was given to the training board, said Tim Leslie, assistant commissioner with the Department of Public Safety. “With all the other requirements of the account — fire marshal’s office, regional response team funding — we weren’t able to meet all those needs as requested by the fire departments.”
Turn your key and breathe
House approves ignition interlock bill that would let DWI offenders drive sooner
(view full story) Published 4/29/2010
Minnesota Index: Crime and punishment
Figures and statistics on crime in Minnesota.
(view full story) Published 3/18/2010
Red River Basin: ‘Here we go again’
Flood-prone communities look to keep their heads above water
(view full story) Published 3/4/2010
At Issue: Courts and corrections backing
Public safety finance bill awaits gubernatorial action
(view full story) Published 5/15/2009
At Issue: Corrections, courts funding concerns
Omnibus public safety finance bill gets mixed reaction from House
(view full story) Published 5/1/2009
At Issue: Sex offenders, courts and corrections
Omnibus public safety policy bill headed to conference committee
(view full story) Published 4/24/2009
At Issue: Helping to find missing adults
House vote expected soon on ‘Brandon’s Law’
(view full story) Published 4/17/2009
Minnesota Index: Keeping Minnesotans safe
Figures and statistics on the state patrol and fire marshals in Minnesota
(view full story) Published 3/20/2009
Minnesota Index: See you in court
Figures and statistics on Minnesota's court system
(view full story) Published 2/27/2009
Minnesota Index: 'The Graybar Hotel'
Figures and statistics on Minnesota's prison population
(view full story) Published 1/16/2009