Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer displayed remarkable willful ignorance and selective amnesia in his commentary claiming that the “Dunleavy-Meyer administration” is “making the right decisions.”
First, Mr. Meyer would have Alaskans believe that his role and that of Gov. Mike Dunleavy in state government began in January 2019, and that the current fiscal crisis did not arise and deepen on their watch. Quite to the contrary, both spent years in the Alaska Legislature, in the majority party, as the crisis unfolded and 75% of our budget reserves were spent down. Meyer, in fact, was Senate President for two years. At no time as savings were being depleted would Dunleavy, Meyer or their Republican colleagues in the Legislature even consider modifying the state’s generous oil tax structure to secure a more fair share of revenues for the citizens of Alaska. Neither would they eliminate the oil tax credits, which totaled more than $1 billion this year.
Let us not forget, as apparently he has, that Meyer’s full-time employer during his entire time in the Legislature was ConocoPhillips. Let us also not forget that after an ethics rule sleight of hand that permitted him to participate, Meyer voted for Senate Bill 21 in 2013. That legislation restructured Alaska’s oil tax system to the benefit of ConocoPhillips and other companies while its supporters promised thousands of new oil field jobs and sufficient new revenue to offset declines. Those promises have not been realized.
In a bold move, and with impressively straight faces, Meyer and Dunleavy now often trumpet the pure fantasy that their proposed draconian budget cuts were offered merely for the purposes of stimulating a long-overdue serious discussion of spending priorities. Neither seems to recall the Dunleavy-Meyer campaign promises that funding for the state ferry system, public education, senior programs and the university system would not be cut. Drastic cuts to all were immediately proposed.
Mr. Meyer is correct about one thing. Alaskans are actively discussing the first year of the Dunleavy-Meyer administration. That’s why there is an active, ongoing, bipartisan effort to recall the governor.
— Tom Lohman
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