Finally, a rough budget proposal from Gov. Mike Dunleavy in writing. Although it is the bleakest budget in Alaska’s history, it does bring attention that Alaska is in a budget crisis.
Balancing the budget with cuts is a shortsighted solution to our budget crisis and would have long-lasting negative affects for all Alaskans.
Arguably, Gov. Dunleavy won his race by promising a whopping $6,700 dividend. But at what cost? We are now faced with the threat of higher local taxes and massive layoffs at the university, local school districts, the health care industry and public safety.
Reducing costs by outsourcing API management at $1 million per month, reducing public safety officers and sending prisoners to the Lower 48 again — really? How would crime be reduced with fewer resources to fight it?
No one wants to pay more for the same services, but the alternative is far bleaker. Massive budget cuts would result in a statewide recession like we have never seen. There would be massive job losses and thus massive numbers of Alaskans leaving the state.
All this, while at the same time proposing the largest dividend in Alaska’s history — the irony. A larger dividend would actually hurt Alaskans more than help. This is a classic bait-and-switch scam.
The fact is we need at least a three-pronged budget solution to our $1.6 billion deficit that includes reducing petroleum incentives, reducing the dividend and increasing taxes. It is in the hands of the legislators to do what is right for Alaska’s future. We cannot balance the budget entirely with savings. The status quo is no longer acceptable.
Wake up, Alaska! Time to fight for our future.
— Tom Bronga
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