The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly will hold a special meeting Monday to ask the Legislature to override Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s line-item vetoes to the state’s budget for the current fiscal year.
Dunleavy issued 182 vetoes on June 28, of which many “directly and adversely affect the Fairbanks 18 North Star Borough and other municipalities and jeopardize the future of our 19 communities and state,” according to the resolution, which is being introduced by Assemblymen Matt Cooper, Andrew Gray and Shaun Tacke.
Although Cooper said all of the vetoes will affect the state, he wanted to focus the resolution on a few specific ones.
“I went through the list of the vetoes, and I really tried to highlight the ones that had the most direct impact on the borough,” he said.
In particular, the resolution discusses cuts to the community assistance fund, school bond debt reimbursement, the University of Alaska and other educational sectors, and the elimination of Medicaid services, the senior citizen benefits program and public and homeless assistance.
“While these vetoes balance the budget today, they are at the expense of Alaska’s future because they erode the bedrock principles of our state and our community, including economic opportunity, public education, a state university, and public health and welfare,” the resolution reads.
Cooper said he set out to make a resolution because the vetoes will harm the borough disproportionately to the rest of Alaska.
“Looking at the overall scope of the vetoes, I mean the impact on Fairbanks is huge,” he said, adding that the cut to the university alone will affect the local economy.
Tacke also mentioned the $130 million veto of funding to the University of Alaska as one of the bigger cuts affecting the borough.
“We’re fighting that one because of how majorly impactful that will be for our community and for the entire state as a whole, honestly,” Tacke said.
“My hope is that we can get some unified support in the Legislature to actually override the governor’s vetoes and come up with those 45 votes required from our Interior delegation as well as the rest of the Legislature in the state,” he said, adding that the impact of the vetoes could lead to long-term negative consequences for the community.
Tacke said he hopes people can put party politics aside in order to stand up for the community.
With the legislative special session set to begin Monday, Cooper said he hopes to let lawmakers know how vetoes will impact the borough.
“I hope it passes it unanimously and then we need to get it off to the legislators first thing Monday or Tuesday morning once it’s adopted,” he said.
The Borough Assembly will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Mona Lisa Drexler Assembly Chambers at 907 Terminal St.
Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7510. Follow her on Twitter at: twitter.com/FDNMlocal