Unfortunately, our governor’s office didn’t come equipped with a Gen. John Kelly who could capably recognize a moron when he saw one and take action to prevent harm. So, here we are, poised at the precipice hoping vainly that enough Republicans in the Legislature will have the common sense to override all of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s vetoes and save the state from complete stupidity.
The effect of the governor’s cuts will be the removal of $2 billion or more from the Alaska economy, the loss of thousands of jobs, the loss of services and expertise in a multitude of state agencies and the devastation of our public University. But you might wonder: It’s only $444 million dollars in cuts, how can the impact be so great?
Well, let’s look at a seemingly innocuous example like the State Council on the Arts, which receives $700,000 in direct state appropriation. Cut that and the state loses another $2.1 million of matching revenue. That in turn means fewer arts events, which in turn means fewer people going out to dinner and other associated arts event spending (National average: $24.60 per person/event). For illustration, the loss of each sold-out concert in the Atwood Concert Hall would cause an additional loss of $50,000 to the local economy.
So, to put it more kindly than Gen. Kelly might, Dunleavy is penny wise and pound foolish. This economic multiplier effect is even greater for the university and is present in most other state agencies targeted for cuts. Consequently, Dunleavy is not saving money but actually losing money while causing the state’s economy to catastrophically shrink. At this point, the only question is, are the Republicans smart enough not to go down the Dunleavy rabbit hole?
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