Privatize fire departments

John Seiler:

We pay massive taxes to subsidize, among other things, massive pay and pensions for firemen. In Orange County, firemen receive on average an incredible $175,000 yearly pay, perks, and pension package.

Now, around the state, fire departments are starting to charge for services that taxpayers already have paid for. The chutzpah of it all! The Bee reports:

Drivers in California who cause crashes may find their pocketbooks dented as well, courtesy of local fire departments.

More than two dozen fire agencies, struggling for ways to boost sagging budgets, have begun tallying service charges at crash sites and sending bills to drivers or their insurance companies.

Is a pumper truck called to the scene? That’ll be $400. Traffic cones and flares needed? Another $20. An incident commander to oversee? That’s $75 an hour.

Roseville, Woodland and at least a half dozen smaller Sacramento area fire districts have imposed such fees in the past year. The city of Sacramento expects to start this fall. And, beginning July 1, Placer County Fire will charge non-local drivers or their insurance companies for crashes that require fire agency response.

Well, if we have to pay extra for it — on top of our taxes — then why not privatize it? Turn every fire department into a private company. Allow competition from other companies. And charge for services.

And, of course, cancel all the taxes currently paying for the services, including the massive compensation packages — and refund the money to taxpayers.

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  1. DavidfromLosGatos
    DavidfromLosGatos 26 June, 2010, 15:33

    It’s too bad, since we would all like to hold firefighters up on a pedestal. It’s a tough job, and they do get injured and killed on the job from time to time, as do police. We want them to be there to save our lives and property, if needed. Their unions have played this card well. They will never agree to a real pay cut (e.g., 25%), and will be perfectly happy to lay off the more junior (and less expensive) guys so that public service is reduced and threatened. They will run television ads showing your house burning down because of lay-offs. They will show heroic fireman saving babies (OK City), inferring that with the cuts and layoffs, babies die. Perhaps some 9-11 thrown in for good measure.

    So it goes.

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  2. John Seiler
    John Seiler 28 June, 2010, 07:03

    Thanks, David.

    With governments having caused the ongoing Depression, I suspect a lot more cuts are coming — soon, to the governments themselves.

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  3. Peyton Farquhar
    Peyton Farquhar 28 June, 2010, 09:00

    If the union doesn’t wise up and agree to its members paying a portion of its retirement and health bennies ::JUST LIKE:: every one else has to, privatizing the FD and any other public services is exactly what will happen. And while we’re discussing bloated salaries/bennies, let’s also include the state legislature in that equation. Reduce it to PT status and make them pay for their own bennies. They’re all millionaires anyway.

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  4. Kevin Sarkasian
    Kevin Sarkasian 21 December, 2010, 18:50

    Let’s face it: firefighter is the BEST job in America; think about it, if a job is tough to get, then it MUST be great….I, for one, have NEVER heard of a firefighter quitting his/her job….ever see a billboard advertising that city XYZ is looking for fierfighting help?

    Half of them, it seems, are on disability anyways further screwing the public while they do construction on the side….Great gig, firefighters, but you’re not fooling me….

    Another note – you work the wildfires charging OT like crazy then retire based on that income – gives us all a break…

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