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LA Times misleads on upcoming tax hike

The Los Angeles County Fire Department will ask voters to approve a property tax hike in March. The department has cited an increase in medical calls, as well as the need for new communications systems and rescue equipment, as justification for the proposed tax increase.

Readers of the Los Angeles Times, however, might think recent wildfires are to blame, in light of recent headlines like:

  • Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Times described the proposed tax hike as something that would help the fire department “tackle increasingly destructive wildfires and a growing volume of medical calls.”

As I explain in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Daily News, it is wrong to blame wildfires for soaring overtime pay and the county fire department’s alleged need for a tax hike.

Overtime pay increased the most when wildfires fell to record lows:

LACountyFireChart

All types of fire incidents, including wildfires, make up only 3% of total call volume:

FireCallType

The state reimburses the Los Angeles County Fire Department for responding to wildfires:

CalFIRE_Reimbursment

So if wildfires aren’t to blame, what is? Read my op-ed in the Los Angeles Daily News to find out!