I am beyond distressed about the recent budget vetoes by Gov. Mike Dunleavy. There is not a sector or person in this wonderful state that will remain unscathed from his scorched-earth policy — except maybe the oil companies. This is especially unconscionable, as they continue to reap excessive benefits while Alaska’s citizens bear the brunt of their good fortune. ConocoPhillips posted a $1.8 billion profit for the first quarter of 2019, of which Alaska is given credit for helping.
Many of these cuts, like senior benefits, seem paltry in their savings, and many are huge, such as education and social services. Everyone in this state will be affected even though Dunleavy says, “it’s going to be tough for a short period of time here, but we’re going to get through it.”
Who are the “we”? He and his family and friends? I don’t believe there are very many beyond that magic circle who will come out unscathed.Our state is facing massive challenges. Village Public Safety Officer funding for villages is being cut. Funding to reduce homelessness took a huge hit just as the problems in Anchorage are escalating along with the frustration level of its citizens. What about seniors whose small benefits may make the entire difference in their quality of life or those who are finding the cost of their housing skyrocketing? And what about all the concerns of losing our students to higher education out of state? Who wouldn’t consider it in light of the draconian university cutbacks? This is especially puzzling as it is being done by a person whose career was in education. The list goes on and on.
The talk seems to be about taxing us more — but how — and about the amount of the Permanent Fund dividend. Why isn’t anyone speaking out about getting the oil companies to help our economy? They benefit from our resources, our infrastructure, and our workforce — many who are educated in the state university system. Why do Alaska’s citizens have to bear the brunt of funding our state’s needs when there is a good solution?
— Cherie Northon
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