Letters to the Editor

Letter: Alaska is failing

I’ve lived in Anchorage for more than 50 years and, all things considered, the state and city are in the worst shape since we arrived in 1970. The University of Alaska has been crippled by funding cuts; public schools have been crippled by funding cuts; municipal financial assistance from the state has steadily decreased; we suffered through the worst (we hope) of a worldwide pandemic; food and gasoline prices have reached historic highs; our population is steadily decreasing; roads, bridges and highways around the state are falling apart; and driving in Anchorage’s snow-filled roads lined with high berms is the worst it’s ever been. And that’s only a partial list of our ills.

So what is the Legislature considering in light of this disastrous situation? Why, to adopt a “spending limit,” as presented by Sen. James Kaufman. He is worried about the state overspending when we have more funds available (I’m not making this up!). “Less is more.” So, if the state gets in better shape, let’s spend less than we need to — and then what? Pray?

Many legislators adopt a similar approach to improving the public schools; they know that education funding was seriously cut by Gov. Mike Dunleavy early in his term.

They know that most students both missed a great deal of school and struggled through at-home learning for months. And, “My goodness, reading scores are down! If the schools get more funding, they must show something for it,” legislators think, therefore many want to minimize the funding. Less is more!

What the Legislature really needs to understand is that only more is more. We need more revenue, and oil and gas are clearly not the long-term answer. We had a state income tax in the 1970s — it was a low percentage of your federal income tax bill. We also had a minimal school tax — funds designated to go to public schools. More income for the state is just common sense. We need to wake up and reject the “less is more” nonsense.

— Tom Nelson


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