Governor Dunleavy Vetoes COVID-19 response funding, education, and more
Dear Neighbor,
Today Governor Dunleavy laid waste to the state operating budget, vetoing COVID-19 response, transportation, emergency response, and education funding. When announcing the vetoes, he lied in claiming that federal money can replace all the state expenditures.  
  • $5 million in COVID-19 response funding to mitigate homelessness. It is simply unfathomable to me how someone could willfully cast Alaska families onto the street after they contract COVID-19 or are unable to work because of the resulting economic catastrophe. This may go down in Alaska history as the most sadistic cut that has ever been issued by any Governor.
  • $2.7 million in COVID-19 response for the Municipality of Anchorage. Since Anchorage has a public health department, and provides more COVID-19 mitigation than other localities, this means the virus will likely expand more quickly and kill more Alaskans.
  • $30 million in education funding, which locks in larger class sizes, cuts in school nurses, and cuts in school security. This cut is morally reprehensible and puts our children at greater risk of being shot or catching COVID-19 when school reconvenes.
  • $30 million in Community Assistance, slashing local budgets at a time when Anchorage's health department, Bartlett Regional Hospital, and many other local governments are on the front lines of COVID-19 response. This veto not only endangers our health during the crisis, but exacerbates already devastating fiscal conditions for local governments, making higher property taxes more likely.
  • Veto of 17 line items supporting healthy sport and commercial fisheries, attacking an industry that will already face unprecedented harvest challenges as a result of COVID-19 workforce impacts this summer.
  • $31 million in Medicaid health care funding, including rejecting $17 million in federal funds. At a time when our smaller hospitals are struggling to survive, and all hospitals have been destabilized by suspension of non-emergent procedures, further cuts to health care are heartless and economically devastating.
  • $2.6 million for public broadcasting, effectively guaranteeing that some smaller stations will go bankrupt, eliminating the only source of emergency response information in communities that must be prepared for wildfires, tsunamis, and other natural disasters.
  • $3.4 million in Ocean Ranger fees collected from tourists, continuing the Governor's jihad against fee-based pollution mitigation.
  • $4.3 million in Pre-K funding, exacerbating Alaska's literacy challenges and punishing poor kids whose parents have less time to read to them.
  • $15.5 million for the Marine Highway, which can only be taken as an attempted death sentence for coastal communities like Cordova.
  • $100 million for state's share of school bond debt reimbursement, which transfers the tax burden onto local business and homeowners. 
  • $1 million for the Recidivism Reduction and Recovery Project....because, apparently Alaska needs a higher recidivism rate?
Last year, I wrote that the Governor's first round of vetoes were sadistic. Today, he has made clear that those previous vetoes were not merely the work of Donna Arduin, but reflects his priorities: Annihilate rural communities, particularly if they rely on ferries. Gut public health. Shift the tax burden onto property tax payers. Raise class sizes, eviscerate public schools, and then blame teachers.
Iditarod champion Jeff King wrote that it doesn't really matter whether the Governor's failed leadership is a result of "lack of empathy or intellect." He's right. Whether the Governor acts out of blindness or sadism, the results are the same: Faster spread of COVID-19, an even more severe recession, and annihilation of public institutions that have taken generations to establish. In many years of working and volunteering in politics, I have never witnessed such actions of breathtaking cruelty and destruction as the vetoes that Mike Dunleavy issued today.
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