Monday, December 24, 2007

The High Cost of Tax Cuts

What if you called the fire department and only one guy showed up? A fire truck with one firefighter and that's it. Ridiculous, never happen, right?

That is happening in cash-strapped towns in Massacheusetts. From the Boston Globe:

At a fatal fire in Gloucester earlier this month, a single ladder operator drove to the blaze alone - a situation that officials there say is common. In the financially troubled town of Randolph, firefighters have been forced to ride alone as well, said Captain Jim Hurley.

And firefighters in other communities say they routinely roll to fires with as few as two people onboard ladder trucks or fire engines, leaving one to go into the burning home alone while the other mans the water pumps outside.

The combination of municipal employee healthcare costs, pension costs, and rising utility rates, as well as voters' reluctance to approve property tax increases through Proposition 2½ overrides, means that Massachusetts communities have had little choice but to make cuts to services, including fire protection.

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