Assemblymember Fong: Sacramento fails to learn from past mistakes
CALIFORNIA — With California facing what experts project to be the worst drought in the state’s history, Assemblyman and vice-chair of the budget committee Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) wrote an article for CalMatters in which he urges Californians to “be vocal” about the current proposed state budget.
Fong wrote, “California should not have to endure another heartbreaking wildfire season or drought before the governor, and legislative Democrats take action.”
Though budget talks are still ongoing, according to Fong, the current state of the proposed budget lacks any commitment at all to water storage, significantly reduces funds for wildfire prevention and response efforts, and lacks critical details necessary to fight record heat-waves, dry forests, and alarmingly low reservoirs.
Fong calls out failed promises, such as the $2.75 billion which voters approved in 2014 as part of Proposition 1 in order to fund water infrastructure projects for which there is little to show seven years later. He also highlights missed opportunities to mitigate wildfires and prepare for drought, such as delayed fuel reduction and reservoir projects.
Fong writes, “As drought and wildfire conditions accelerate at unprecedented rates, Californians are left watching the two trains collide. Sacramento could have used this year’s healthy budget to take action to prevent future disasters. But our elected officials did not.
The impacts of wildfire and drought are no longer confined to select regions of California. Californians across the state need to be vocal, and the time is now. We have to get the basics right in the state budget.”
The piece is available to read in its entirety here.