We have 2 unequal emergency medical service systems in Arizona. Folks who live in cities & towns enjoy well-performing emergency medical systems that have up-to-date equipment, staff, and training.

Residents of rural Arizona (especially unincorporated areas) don’t enjoy the same level of emergency medical services as urbanites. It’s not just because of the long distances the responders travel when responding to 911 calls. It’s because rural areas simply don’t have the resources to provide the same level of service that we take for granted in urban and suburban Arizona.

Unincorporated areas need to form their own rural fire & EMS districts with money cobbled together via a special local property tax to have access to fire and emergency medical services. They don’t have a city council to go to for funding. They’re basically stuck trying to get blood out of a turnip. As a result, rural EMS care is substandard.

The major disparity in the quality of emergency medical care in unincorporated Arizona bothered me when I was the director of the state health department, but I had no way of fixing it.

Now we have a solution. Proposition 310 will supplement rural fire districts with a 0.1% sales tax collected statewide. That’s equal to an extra dime on a purchase of $100. Rural fire districts won’t be getting a free lunch though. The lion’s share of fire & EMS district funding will still come from local property taxes.

The next time you’re driving through rural Arizona ask yourself whether you think an extra dime on a $100 purchase is worth knowing that someone would help you if something bad happens. Will they have the equipment & training they need to save your life?

If Proposition 310 passes they will, so Vote YES!