To the editor: Alaskans need to write our legislators (www.akleg.gov/poms) telling them to override Governor Dunleavy’s budget vetoes. A single dividend check in October cannot make up for the many lost services. All Alaskans will suffer if the Legislature doesn’t override the vetoes.
How will it help a village resident if they’re in danger and their VPSO has been laid off? Where will homeless veterans and families find shelter throughout the winter? Will it help our seniors keep food in their refrigerators and Depends in their drawers? Will families of young children be better off paying for 12 months of day care than they were with programs such as Best Beginnings and Head Start? Will we be better off without behavioral health services or funding for local arts?
What are all of the people seeking higher education and workforce training supposed to do when campuses close, degrees are discontinued, faculty and staff leave, and UA is left so crippled that it’s three universities can’t remain accredited? Alaska’s businesses will be hard-pressed to find qualified employees.
How will $3,000 dividends help those Alaskans? On July 1, 2019, the University of Alaska sent furlough notices to nearly 2,500 employees, and if the Legislature doesn’t vote to override the vetoes, professors and other state workers will also be furloughed or laid off. How are those people supposed to support their families?
One effect of these budget cuts will be an exodus from Alaska. Real estate agencies, electric companies, construction companies, restaurants, grocery stores, landlords, diesel home-delivery companies, medical clinics, youth sports’ teams, and others will see fewer customers and less revenue. Businesses will suffer.
Anyone who thinks they will be better off in Alaska with a $3,000 dividend instead of sustainable state services is misguided. Our legislators need to override Governor Dunleavy’s dangerous budget cuts. Write or call them now.