To the editor: Our governor certainly is getting the community riled up, and rightfully so. He apparently is unaware that state government has a huge effect on the private sector and that most of the jobs lost will not be from the public sector. His vetoes, and especially the veto of the university funding, will cause much harm to employers and employees working in the private sector.
The fiscal challenges of the state have been with us since at least 2013, and economists have studied the various options and spoken of the job losses associated with each maneuver. The least damaging apparently is taxation, a disappointment to me personally, but a reality. The worst option is direct elimination of jobs, because it leaves empty houses. Prior Legislatures developed a “safe landing” strategy, saw that you can’t cut your way to a solution and that income from the permanent fund was needed but in a measured way. The governor has replaced the measuring cup with a chainsaw.
What is little known is that Governor Dunleavy is filling his still unbalanced 2020 budget with the pot of money used for permanent fund dividends, the realized earnings reserve. His hand is in this bucket for record dividends, he hopes, and whatever is needed for his 2020 spending plan. Not a good long-term strategy for continued permanent fund dividends.
Nothing though, is as outrageous as his attack on the university. Higher education, since well before the beginning of this state, has been an Alaskan goal and priority. His cuts are so deep and so sudden and they cannot be justified. He is killing a golden goose, a job creator, and a source of trained employees. When I attended UAF in 1972-1975, pre-pipeline, the university was well taken care of and it was a great environment for those of us looking to improve our lot in life. An asset to this town and our state.
It is time to rise up and send our elected officials a strong message: Overturn the veto. We will support those who do and defeat those who don’t.