By now, unless you have been living on the moon, you all know that the state of California is facing a formidable budget process. Of Course, as we experienced in the past, the state’s legislators are also unwilling to fix the problems they have caused by cutting state programs; so by now you also know where they will look for more money. Yep, you guessed it, the local government. Well, they are at it again – and it is going to hurt. But there are some things we can do.Before I get into those things, I think it might be time to actually say what local government is. We toss the term around a lot but it may not sink in.Local government is vital services such as police and fire protection. In our case, Truckee Fire and the Truckee Police Department. Outside the town it is Truckee Fire, or another local provider such as Northstar, Squaw Valley, or Donner Summit, and both county Sheriff departments. Others are emergency medical services, both pre-hospital (ambulance) and Tahoe Forest Hospital. Other local services are covering issues such as parks and recreation, roads in town and our libraries. The list goes on and on and each service is vital should you require and/or enjoy it. With that being said, the state is bent on taking more money to fund shortfalls in the state programs. The governor has shown us his May Revise (budget), and in a sense it beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Basically he has listed some provisions that will hurt for the short run but help in the long haul. It is the best deal when wrestling with an 800-pound gorilla. Meaning, they can take it all if they want.So, we need you to write to our representatives and tell them to support the budget package as released in the governor’s May Revise, and to move swiftly to place a measure on the November ballot to restore stability and predictability to local budgets and vital local services. Basically, constitutional reform is key to protecting taxpayer dollars and local services. If placed on the ballet, this measure will prevent the state from taking and using local funds in the future.Here are the names and addresses of our local legislators. Print this and put it on your refrigerator. Something tells me you should be writing more often.The Honorable Tim LeslieCalifornia State AssemblyState Capitol Building, Room 4164Sacramento, CA 94249-0004The Honorable Thomas “Rico” OllerCalifornia State SenateState Capitol Building, Room 5064Sacramento, CA 95814The Honorable Rick KeeneCalifornia State AssemblyState Capitol Building, Room 6027Sacramento, CA 94249-0003In closing, if this makes no sense or you need clarification, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will give you some examples of what we are looking for. In simple dollars and cents, if the governor’s proposal is accepted, Truckee Fire will lose only $110,000 next fiscal year. If many folks in Sacramento have their way, we will lose over $600,000 next year. That is about 20 percent of our budget. The same percentage could be applied to all the services I listed above. Decide which ones are important to you, get mad and get active. The effort has to come from us and they will listen. They have to.Michael S. Terwilliger is the fire chief of the Truckee Fire Protection District
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