Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s recent vetoes, if not overridden by the Legislature, will have widespread, negative and long-term effects on the state of Alaska. These impacts are completely unnecessary. The Legislature approved a responsible budget that funded critical state programs and services. While I deplore all of the governor’s recent vetoes, I will focus on the $130 million veto of funding for the University of Alaska.
As university President Jim Johnsen and Regent John Davies have said, the UA funding cut would be devastating. Many students would see the academic programs they have been pursuing terminated. About 1300 UA employees would lose their jobs in the next few months with minimal notice.
The governor has asserted that his veto of part of the UA appropriation demonstrates fiscal responsibility, but it would make little difference to Alaska’s budget. $130 million is only 3.2% of the remaining general fund appropriation of $4 billion. Further, the governor proposes to spend about $2 billion on a large Permanent Fund dividend. If the $130 million were subtracted from that proposed PFD distribution, it would be only about 6% smaller. I hope that many Alaskans will join me in urging that the Legislature overrides the governor’s vetoes.
Susan A. Henrichs
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