To the editor: Last winter I decided to replace our aging deck and started saving money. Then came the governor’s budget request, including draconian cuts to the university. With my wife employed on campus, I opted to wait. After last week’s vetoes, I canceled plans altogether. Today I could be spending several thousand dollars at Northland Wood and Spenard Builders Supply. But we might need that money to move so my wife can continue her career. Thus it stays in the bank where no one benefits from it.
In conversations with various friends also facing potential job losses, I learned of a floor replacement, new driveway and $40,000 exterior remodel among other nixed jobs.
This is what results from budgetary shock therapy. Local economies suffer from the uncertainty. Tens of thousands of dollars are not circulating in Fairbanks from the four jobs I mentioned above. Who knows how many others have scrapped expensive projects. I suspect hundreds of thousands of dollars are going unspent. Ironically, this money would go to people in the trades and building industries, where support for Gov. Mike Dunleavy runs high.
It gets worse. If layoffs reach the magnitude required by the vetoes, hundreds of homes will immediately go on sale as residents flee. This will force down property values, for most people their primary source of equity. When homes can be had cheap, people willing to risk it will buy instead of building, slowing or halting new construction and putting contractors and their employees out of work. Meanwhile, businesses heavily dependent on the university will reduce workforces or close, fueling the downward spiral of unemployment, population depletion, and plummeting property values.
We know this will happen because budget director Donna Arduin did it to Kansas through the same process. Her methods are a proven failure. That once reliably Republican state is now controlled by Democrats who are undoing her work with widespread public support. Legislative Republicans not wanting this fate for Alaska will either vote to override the recent vetoes or help forge a supplementary budget rooted in basic economic sanity, something Dunleavy and Arduin completely lack.