With Election Day now behind us, let’s take a look at the results of a few important ballot measures we were tracking around the country. These ballot measures primarily asked voters to increase funding for fire and other emergency services through levies and bonds with mixed success.
Below are the results from five measures from four different states.
Arizona – Proposition 310: Failed
Proposition 310 asked voters in Arizona to approve a small increase in sales tax effective over 20 years to help fund fire services state-wide. A “yes” vote meant: “the effect of establishing a Fire District Safety Fund; increasing the Transaction Privilege (Sales) and Use Tax by onetenth of one percent from January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2042 to pay for the Fund; and distributing monies from the Fund to fire districts on a monthly basis.”
While the vote was close, just under 52% of voters voted against the measure.
California – Proposition 30: Failed
This proposition in the state of California asked voters to raise income tax levels on salaries over $2 million by 1.75% that would in part go towards wildfire suppression and prevention programs. But there was a catch. The wildfire related programs were attached to electric vehicle and electric vehicle infrastructure subsidies. From a Fire perspective, the failure of this measure is likely attributed to its’ inclusion along with other green subsidies, which Governor Gavin Newsom surprisingly called “corporate welfare above the fiscal welfare of our entire state.”
59% of the electorate voted against the measure.
California – Antelope Fire District, Measure H: Failed
This standalone ballot measure was out on the ballots for residents of Mono County. The measure asked voters to levy: “…a flat tax of $120.00 (adjusted annually for inflation but not to exceed $160.00) on each parcel within the Antelope Valley Fire Protection District to fund static water supplies, staffing, training and equipment to enhance the District’s ability to combat structural and wildland fire.”
Nearly 56% of the electorate voted against the measure.
Michigan – Lansing, Michigan, Police and Fire Department Facilities Bond Measure: Passed
This ballot measure asked voters to approve issuing a bond to pay for facilities and equipment for first responders, including firefighters. It asked that the City of Lansing “be authorized to borrow the sum of not to exceed One Hundred Seventy-Five Million Dollars ($175,000,000)…” It would create a $3.90 tax per $1000 taxable valuation to be used toward rehabbing, updating, and building new public safety buildings. This includes fire departments and new “public safety technology.” Fire Chief Brian Sturdivant says “the baseline would include separation of toxic firefighting materials from living quarters and separate living space for female firefighters,” according to the Lansing State Journal.
Voters approved the measure with nearly 54% of the vote.
Oregon – Salem, Oregon, Measure 24-474: Passed
This bond measure asked voters in Salem to approve funding that would go towards several public services, including Fire. The measure “seeks approval to issue general obligation bonds to finance capital costs of projects expected to include: Fire equipment, including fire engines and ladder trucks…” and more. It asked for $300 million to be issued over “multiple series,” and would not bring Salem’s bond tax rate over $1.20 per $1,000 in assessed value.
According to The Statesman Journal, the funds would benefit fire services in the following ways:
The funds would replace 17 engines and three ladder trucks, replace rescue tools like the “jaws of life” and defibrillators, two medic units, four battalion vehicles and other vehicles for needs specific to heavy rescue, medium rescue, airfield rescue and firefighting, air support, and wildland grass fire.
The measure passed with over 65% support from voters.