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Tax Law

State Net Capitol Journal – September 21, 2015; Legislators Press for Federal Firefighting Funding Change

Budget & Taxes

Legislators Press for Federal Firefighting Funding Change

Last month the National Conference of State Legislatures unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the organization to lobby Congress to provide funding for catastrophic fires the same way it does for hurricanes or floods: through emergency spending.

“Every day, firefighters risk their lives to stop the spread of disastrous wildfires, while states and the federal government struggle to find funding to fight bigger and more dangerous wildfires on federal lands,” said California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D), who sponsored the resolution. “Currently, federal wildfire funding is limited, placing a burden on state coffers and land-management agencies to pick up the tab. Changing federal policy to fund catastrophic-wildfire suppression through emergency spending would help ensure that states have enough funding to put out wildfires and invest in prevention programs.”

No state may be more in need of that change than California, where three major wildfires are currently burning out of control and where there have already been 6,000 fires this year, 1,500 more than last year. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has warned that the state will have to spend more to prevent and fight fires as the climate warms (See Governors in this issue).

“Fires are not political. Climate change is not political,” Brown said at a news briefing at the state’s Office of Emergency Services. “They are real.” (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, ASMDC.ORG)

Budgets In Brief - September 21 2015

Budget Deal in NH: NEW HAMPSHIRE Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) and legislative leaders have reached a deal ending the state’s budget stalemate. Under the terms of the agreement, business tax cuts - the major sticking point of budget negotiations - would take effect in two phases, with the second phase contingent upon the condition of state revenues (UNION LEADER [MANCHESTER]). * Casinos Seeking Younger Gamblers: Younger casino gamblers aren’t as interested in slot machines - which generate more casino revenues and state tax revenues than other games - as older casino-goers, according to polling by the American Gaming Association (AGA). So the casino industry is developing new hybrid games that combine the skill associated with video games and games of chance (STATELINE.ORG). * Utah Liquor Sales Booming: Sales at UTAH’s 125 liquor outlets have grown 153 percent since 2002, from about $156 million to $396 million. Those sales generated nearly $145 million in profit for the state last year (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE).

- Compiled by KOREY CLARK

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