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Letter to the Editor

Governor needs to help resolve Alaska’s budget

To the editor: Like many other Alaskans, I’m concerned with the state of Alaska’s budget. I support Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s objective that the state not spend more than it takes in. I do not support the wholesale cuts made in order to accommodate a $3,000 PFD.

The permanent fund was set up as a rainy day account to fund state government functions when other income is inadequate. The PFD was established to promote public interest in permanent fund management and to benefit individual Alaskans when it is affordable, not as a guaranteed entitlement. Unfortunately, public interest now mainly seems to be “Where’s my check?” and “How big is it?”

I strongly oppose the PFD being promoted as a guaranteed entitlement — whatever its amount. At the root of much government overspending — both state and federal — is a widespread, growing entitlement mentality among the public, which erodes personal responsibility and self-respect. That paves the way for social and domestic abuses, already too common in Alaska.

The amount of the PFD should be compatible with other needed government expenditures, as the Legislature has currently proposed, by reducing the PFD as well as other state spending.

The governor and the Legislature must cooperate to get the state out of debt without crippling state functions and the economy. The Legislature has tried; the governor has not.

I understand and appreciate the anger and frustration caused by the state budget dilemma. Demanding the governor’s recall is a convenient way to let off steam. But does recalling the governor solve the budgeting challenges? Recall is a long, contentious, legalistic process that will divert attention from finding fiscal resolution. Recall is certain to harden opposing views rather than promote timely, rational solutions to our common problems. It reminds me too much of “ballot box biology” — trying to manage wildlife by public initiatives.

Besides, the governor kicked off this fuss. He needs to help resolve it. He should not be let off the hook by firing him.

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