To the editor: Every resident of Fairbanks is here for different reasons. I came to attend UAF and stayed because it was a good place to raise a family, but we all made long-term decisions based on reasonable expectations of the future — should we take a job in Alaska, should we raise a family, should we buy a house, should we start a business, should we enroll at UAF, can we afford to retire in Fairbanks? We all made those decisions in good faith, but now the governor’s vetoes needlessly and maliciously pull the rug right out from under us and devastate Alaska families.
Businesses hate uncertainty and so do families, and these budget vetoes create a huge amount of uncertainty. Students and employees at the university won’t know if their program or campus will survive, families won’t know if their house value will plummet, parents won’t know if their child can get a decent education and business owners won’t know if their revenues will collapse. This uncertainty causes great stress and hardship in the short term and in the long term it causes families and businesses to make different decisions and move somewhere else.
These cuts seem tailor-made to inflict the most damage on the poor, on the sick, on our elders and on our economy. They don’t even save money; they just shift costs or ignore problems that will cost more later. Because they will result in the loss of federal research grants at the university, federal Pittman-Robertson funds for the Department of Fish and Game, and federal Medicaid matching money, the total cost to the Alaska economy will be much higher than the amount added by the PFD (some of which will be lost as federal taxes anyway). The near total devastation of UAF will cut off a major economic engine for Fairbanks, ensuring we are a poorer community for decades. These vetoes are a betrayal of the people who chose to live in Fairbanks, and that betrayal will scare families and businesses away from Alaska for a long time to come.