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I Am an American Firefighter

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    As usual, Bucks hit the nail on the head, but I'll throw in my answers to your questions...

    What about our brothers that are from small towns, counties, or townships with a small tax base? Do not these people deserve the same kind of protection that the bigger and richer departments provide?

    No, they deserve the level of local protection they're willing to pay for locally. If they wanted a higher level of local protection, they'd pay more locally.

    Let me close this with a question, if you lived in a small town, and were already taxed to death and just making ends meet, wouldn't you want your federal government help out you local fire department?

    No, I'd want the feds to cut tax rates across the board so the local people could be taxed at a rate or donate what they wanted for the level of protection they desire.

    Now let me ask you, which one of these most closely resembles your solution?

    A) Take tax money away from better off departments and give it to the lesser off departments so that the level of fire protection can drop in the one and improve in the other? What I'm asking is should everybody be equally miserable, uh, I mean funded, to say $100.00 per person for area served?

    B) Raise the confiscation rates of the roughly 50% of us that have our money confiscated to support unconstituional entitlements by the federal government?

    Could you please explain how it is unconstitutional for the Feds to provide financial support to the locals?

    Read the whole thing and then re-read the 10th Ammendment and you'll find the answer to your question.

    I do feel that there is a multitude of federal support that goes overseas that could be better used for the US citizens.

    No arguement here, just think how low our taxes would go if we stopped...

    The local govt's are stretched to the limit,

    No, the local taxpayer is stretched to the limit.

    the fed tax dollars come from the locals anyhow, so why not give it back to where it's actually needed.

    I agree, cut federal taxes and raise them locally if that is what's needed. Thanks for making the point.


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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    To BucksEng91,

    Could you please explain how it is unconstitutional for the Feds to provide financial support to the locals?

    I do feel that there is a multitude of federal support that goes overseas that could be better used for the US citizens.

    The local govt's are stretched to the limit, the fed tax dollars come from the locals anyhow, so why not give it back to where it's actually needed.

    ------------------

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Lt. Tim -

    You said, "What is the matter with some federal funding for fire departments?"

    Well, for one thing, it's unconstitutional.

    For another, it's not practical to have Washington bureaucrats administering even a portion of your funding. Local funding, provided by local sources, controlled locally by local fire service people who understand and are familiar with the challenges you face in the local area ALWAYS beats federal funding administered by a non-fire service career political hack who can't even locate your town on a map let alone know its unique challenges and problems.

    Finally, it's counterproductive, and a waste of valuable time and energy that could better be spent in identifying, lobbying, and securing reliable local funding.

    Are those good reasons?

    You said, also: "The cops get billions to fight a war on drugs that will never be won. There is too much money in fighting drugs for them to really want to have it go away."

    Federal law enforcement funding to local departments is also unconstitutional...unless you're talking about the DEA, which is a federal law enforcement organization. Cut the federal funding to local cops, too. We agree on that. It's a bad argument though, to say, "The cops get it, so we should too." Very weak.

    Then you listed a litany of problems that some small departments face in your area. You claim that their problems are because of a low local tax base. OK, fine. Why does that oblige me (paying more than my fare share of local, state, AND federal taxes) and anyone else not from that area across the country to pay for their new bunker pants? If the problem is that there are simply not that many people in the area, maybe those departments need to look realistically at what their spending goals are addressing. Do they dream of tower ladders when all they need is a commercial pumper? I understand that departments in rural areas have a hard time securing reliable funding sources. But how much of the problem is caused by bad budgeting and lack of prioritization, if they're protecting, realistically, 100 people in 30 homes spread across 40 square miles? In addition, there are local funding options, including formation of rural fire protection districts, consolidation of departments, resource pooling, and other techniques that can ease the financial burden on individual departments. In short, if a department is counting on a couple thousand dollars from the feds to rescue their budget, then they're dreaming. They need to get real, and pursue their local options with as much vigor as they would the couple thousand from the feds. I would suggest you read the main thread on this topic, in the Firefighters Forum, where mongofire99 posted an excellent tutorial on securing local funding. Also, take a look at what California is doing with fire service grants. THESE are the kind of programs we should be getting behind.

    You said, "Are not these the kinds of departments that truely need federal money to get the job done?"

    No. What did they do for the last twenty years, before the feds offered them a couple of thousand dollars? Are you saying that they're going to just pack it in if they don't get federal tax money? What were they going to do if the FIRE Act didn't exist? Come on.

    Next, you said, "Is not the money that the federal government hands out money that came from the people?"

    Exactly. It *did* come from the people, confiscated from their legally obtained wages, the product of their hard work and sweat. But only a small portion came from small towns in Kansas. My federal taxes do nothing to protect me and my family if they're going to 3000 departments spread around the country. That is why fire service funding is fundamentally a LOCAL issue, as are law enforcement and education, just to name two other services. If the fire service is struggling to protect the people in its district, don't you think that would be important for the people in that district to know it? Don't you think that the people would be interested in helping the people who are protecting their homes and families? If not, then why ask EVERYONE ELSE to help? Do you see the problem yet?

    You wound up with, "Let me close this with a question, if you lived in a small town, and were already taxed to death and just making ends meet, wouldn't you want your federal government help out you local fire department?"

    No. I'd want the feds to cut unconstitutional programs that suck money from the federal budget, and reduce my income taxes significantly, just as the President promised during the campaign, and as he's doing now. If that were the case, then I could afford to pay more in local taxes to support local services, OR donate more money to my local volunteer fire company.

    ------------------
    J. Black

    The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    What is the matter with some federal funding for fire departments? The cops get billions to fight a war on drugs that will never be won. There is too much money in fighting drugs for them to really want to have it go away. Hell, there is so much money selling the drugs there will never be and end to it. But let's take a look at small departments that do not have the tax base to fund needed equipment to fight fire or even meet the requirements that are imposed upon us. I know of several departments in my county in Kansas who, due to a low tax base cannot afford new equipment. One department bought a used 1983 Mack Pumper, that is all they could afford. The truck seems to be in good condition and all but it is old and has seen its share of duty. They are proud of it and rightly so, it replaced an even older pumper that was falling apart. In a few short years it will have to be replaced with, I am sure, another used pumper. How many more years would a new pumper last when compared with an older truck. This same department also cannot afford new bunker gear. They purchase used or get old gear donnated from other departments. My department donnated several sets of used bunker gear to a fire department on the Fox - Sac Indian Reservation many years ago. They could not afford new gear and went looking for handouts. Now to their credit, they can afford new equipment since the government has let them open a casino on the reservation. They now have the money to spend. Not all departments are as lucky. We still help other departments who are in need of equipment by donnating items that we have replaced with new. Are not these the kinds of departments that truely need federal money to get the job done? Is not the money that the federal government hands out money that came from the people? Shouldn't this money be spent on the people of this great country? We spend billions of money on helping other countries, noble as it may be, but don't want a dime to go to a fire department that has to push start a truck because it cannot afford a new starter. Those of you who oppose this bill, what department are you from? Is it a big city, county, or township with a good tax base to earn money? What about our brothers that are from small towns, counties, or townships with a small tax base? Do not these people deserve the same kind of protection that the bigger and richer departments provide? Let me close this with a question, if you lived in a small town, and were already taxed to death and just making ends meet, wouldn't you want your federal government help out you local fire department?

    [This message has been edited by Lt.Tim (edited 03-13-2001).]

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Wow, I didn't even know this was here!

    As usual, great post Bucks! I wonder if Carter will respond? Surely he reads his own forum.

    Bush will be the worst president this country has had in 100 years.

    Come on, the worst? Just because you don't agree with him cutting the fire act? What about Johnson halting the bombing and thus practically guaranteeing we'd lose in Vietnam? What about clinton fixing a civil rights case? What about FDR for getting us into this 'entitlement' mess in the first place?

    Or how many departments are simply lacking funds due to poor or non-existent planning!

    Why is that everyone elses fault?

    Every other agency out there that gets funding would be screaming bloody murder if this was their program.

    A little more research would show you that we are too.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Bucks...yeah, returning local CONTROL for education...using our federal tax dollars.

    And check the DOJ proposal again. 1.5 billion dollars in "questionable" or outdated state and local grant money is being REDIRECTED to federal programs (good, I guess) and selected state and local grants. The 1.5 billion is not being "cut".

    I know some local PDs are currently working on federal grant applications to upgrade their computer systems and software to the tune of $50k to $200k each. Who paid for your station software?

    I actually voted for Bush and I don't think he's totally wrong. Hypocritical and inconsistent maybe, but not totally wrong.

    For the most part this issue has gotten spirited but civilized discussion on these forums...the way it should be.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Hi Ten8-Ten19:

    He is cutting federal support for law enforcement (they're losing in the billion range, if what I'm reading is right), and also returning local control to education. Check out www.whitehouse.gov for the details on the plan.

    Be safe!

    ------------------
    J. Black

    The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Bucks I have to thank you for at least getting me thinking about whether federal support of local FDs is appropriate (or constitutional).

    The thing I'm having a problem with is why we should be so noble as to say we don't want any federal money when everyone else (education, law enforcement, you pick 'em) is lining up at the trough.

    And if Bush says it's not an appropriate role for the federal government isn't he being hypocritical in advocating continued funding of all the other equally inappropriate programs?

    Is it just because the FIRE Act is new and he thinks we are easy pickings?

    I'd feel better if he defined other programs that he thinks are inappropriate and proposed to wean them off the system even if he said it could take ten or twenty years.

    Think he'll ever say that about education or law enforcement?

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Great idea, all of you who are now lamenting the FIRE Act -

    Let's all get together and protest an illegal act of Congress that was and remains a vote-getting ploy.

    Let's all line up for a chance to suck a few thousand from the federal teat and whore our votes out for that few thousand.

    Let's blame it on the cops, who get so much (also illegal) funding from the Feds.

    But let's NOT, whatever we do, concentrate our efforts where our political power is greatest - among those we actually protect. Let's certainly NOT pursue reliable local funding sources, locally controlled by people involved with and familiar with the local challenges and unique nature of our localities. No, instead let's toe the IAFF party line, and shed some tears over Mr. Carter's admittedly eloquent and moving essay, and fight like hell so a couple of thousand departments can get a couple thousand dollars apiece. And let's blame all of this on the new President, who saw this insult for what it was.

    ------------------
    J. Black

    The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    While the FIRE ACT may be only a drop in the bucket, when spread across the entire United States,and thousands of departments, it was a hard fought battle for funding for a sorely neglected service. Even a drop in the bucket is better than nothing at all, and is at the very least a beginning.

    Yes more local funding would be a better thing, but how many of you are unable to convince not only your local officials but your citizens as well that the funding is needed. Or how many departments are simply lacking funds due to poor or non-existent planning! Or do we continue with the whole idea that that we've never done it this way before, why should we do it this way now?
    One of our local departments was just turned down for funding of an additional 4 firefighters, to better staff there combination department. The very next day their city was showing off it's new city hall with it's very own fitness center.

    What we really need to do is quit pointing fingers of blame at each other and simply start asking for what is due from ALL our government bodies that still spend money on useless or porkbarrel projects that serve nothing other than to ensure re-election.

    Maybe the FIRE ACT was an election ploy, and maybe this is pay back for not supporting the man that was elected, but that doesn't mean we have to just roll over and play dead.

    Every other agency out there that gets funding would be screaming bloody murder if this was their program.

    Maybe it was a deal but I'd make a deal with the devil if it keeps my people safe and gets me more funding to do our job better.There are many departments out there where any amount of funding is better than none at all!

    We don't have to love each other, we don't even have to like each other, but if we want to get anywhere were going to have to fight together, or as they say, if we don't hang together, surely we will hang seperately

    Oh and maybe,...just maybe.., we all need a Harry Carter to come along once in a while to cheer us on and kick our mind in the butt to get us off dead center and make us think!

    However it's just my opinion, I could be wrong..........

    [This message has been edited by Fyredog (edited 03-08-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by Fyredog (edited 03-08-2001).]

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I really enjoyed Harry's heartfelt response to the fire act. I only wish that Harry had felt differently six months ago when he was deciding who to vote for. He seemed more concerned with affirmative action then which person was going to support the fire service. Bush will be the worst president this country has had in 100 years.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I usually read HC articles every week, I am starting to wonder if it is such waste of time..his articles have a good foundation but tend to drag on and become quite like you said Bucks irrelevant...just my 0.02 cents..

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Way to say it, Buck! I didn't read the whole essay. Once I realized he'd been suckered with the rest of the selfish, I quit reading. But you said exactly what I was thinking.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest started a topic I Am an American Firefighter

    I Am an American Firefighter

    Harry -

    Very nice, very inspiring, very moving essay...and totally irrelevant. The FIRE Act was and still is a vote-getting scheme. The couple thousand dollars which would wind up going to fire companies (which already have the resources to handle the paperwork and bureaucracy) is a pittance, and insult really.

    You have been played, the IAFF has been played, and all the true believers in this cynical ploy have been played, by hype over an unconstitutional piece of legislation.

    Fire service funding should be concentrated in the local area, where it can be controlled locally by people who understand the unique local conditions and challenges faced by firefighters and other emergency responders in that area. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that directs the federal government to fund local fire service. Before you retort that it has to do with the "general welfare", read the 10th Amendment.

    You were suckered. The FIRE Act is and always has been an unconstitutional vote-grab ploy which has drained valuable time, resources, and attention away from what should be the real focus here - identifying and securing reliable local sources of funding. Inspiring essays is not going to make that happen.

    ------------------
    J. Black

    The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated.

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