As a member of the Alaska Chamber, past chair of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and a business owner, I too applaud Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposal to bring revenue and expenditures more in line. My applause, however, is lackluster at the chosen approach.
The governor released a budget developed in a vacuum by staff unfamiliar with the inner workings of not only Alaska state government, but also the ripple effect of dramatic reductions to state spending in all corners of our state. By not involving members of the community to be engaged in the development of the budget, discussing intended and untended consequences, the governor has positioned himself as a separatist bystander while the Legislature is forced to assume the leadership role the governor was elected for.
Other governors have been faced with tough budget decisions as well, yet they chose to engage those who would be most affected by reductions or restructuring into the room for dialogue on solutions. Great ideas come from collaboration and engagement. Bad policy and harm to individual citizens comes from closed doors.
— Sandra Heffern
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