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Letters to the Editor

Letter: CARES Act aid delays

  • Author: Andy Josephson
    | Opinion
  • Updated: August 28, 2020
  • Published August 28, 2020

Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Commerce Commissioner Julie Anderson wrote an opinion piece, published on Aug. 21. In it, they claimed that a baseless lawsuit was filed concerning the governor’s previous efforts to distribute CARES Act dollars to businesses.

While it is true that a lawsuit was filed, it wasn’t baseless. In fact, at a minimum, it got the Legislature to convene and ratify the governor’s spending proposals, as written by him. This fact, our convening, was critical in the Superior Court approving the entire package as lawful. This helped make them presumptively legal and therefore was helpful to the governor himself.

But the governor and commissioner also claimed that the lawsuit held up the distribution of funds to the businesses. That is a 100% false statement. The plaintiff, Mr. Forrer, did file a motion for an injunction holding up the distribution, but withdrew it 48 hours later, after the Legislature ratified the spending proposals, way back on May 20. Mr. Forrer later sought an order that the state distribute CARES Act dollars exactly as approved by the Legislature. But no such court order was ever issued.

Here’s the bottom line: No order was ever issued stopping the distribution of the CARES Act dollars to businesses. These funds were known to be coming as early as March 27. The delay is almost entirely the governor’s delay. After dozens of hearings by my colleagues in the State House during the late spring and all of this summer, and after extensive discussion in the public and media about the slow pace of distribution (and about how the governor’s program precluded some businesses from receiving monies), the governor, very tardily, has decided to fix the distribution mechanism. Fine. Great. But he shouldn’t blame his error on someone else.

Rep. Andy Josephson

Anchorage

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