To the editor: The budget vetoes by Gov. Mike Dunleavy are an example of the moral bankruptcy of this administration. He eliminates senior benefits that go to the most needy and cuts our already meager behavioral health treatment funds and Medicaid when we have the highest suicide rate in the nation and so many with mental health and addiction issues. He cuts funding that supports nonprofits who already do so much with so little. He cuts special needs and disability housing as well as funding for homeless people, including children, and significantly cuts Medicaid. How mean-spirited.
Does he have any sense of what it means to be poor or to have health or mental health issues? Sure doesn’t look like it. How about commitment to Alaska children? His vetoes severely cripple UAF and UAA, and the best and brightest of our professors, staff and students will head elsewhere. What do young people do whose families can’t afford to send them Outside? What about the UAF cutting-edge research with matching federal funds? He vetoes money for rural schools. Village public safety officers — vetoed! How about new agriculture? He vetoes help for that. His vetoes decimate quality-of-life issues by eliminating public radio and television and the state Council on the Arts. By vetoing half of the state obligation for school bond debt he reneges on a state promise, and we have less money for local issues because the borough will have to make up the difference.
And for what? To give everyone a $3,000 or more PFD instead of a $1,200 one? While giving away billions to the oil industry? As has been said before, there are some things we must do together that individuals can’t do on their own even with a massive PFD. That includes the services he is cutting. We are not a poor state, and the legislative budget preserved essential services. So, please encourage your legislators to do the right thing and override these vetoes and preserve what we need for a livable Alaska.