Dear Friends, Neighbors, and Fellow Fairbanksans,
Thank you to everyone who has emailed or called in the past few days to share your thoughts and concerns with me. The extent of the Governor’s vetoes came as a shock to many of us, especially with regards to the University. The elimination of Senior Benefits, State Arts Council, public broadcasting and reductions to Head Start and many other cuts are also devastating. I intend to oppose these vetoes and will encourage my colleagues to do the same. We will have lots to do when we begin our special session on July 8th.
Right now, members of the Legislature are having to make some tough decisions about the future of the State of Alaska, including discussions about the Permanent Fund Dividend. What solace is it to the University employee who loses their job to find out they get a $3000 PFD check? The whole thing is a mess. The Legislature has been making budget cuts for years. While we continue to look for efficiencies and make reasonable cuts each year, completely eliminating valuable programs and services is not a solution. We simply cannot cut our way to prosperity.
This coming Wednesday, if you are in town, I will be hosting a community meeting at Pioneer Park Theater in the Civic Center at 5:30pm. I will be joined by Reps. Hopkins, LeBon, and Thompson as well as other community leaders. If you can make it, I hope you will stop by and share your concerns with me before we head to a special session in Juneau on July 8.
Thanks for staying engaged during this critical time for all Alaskans.