The Governor proposes $300 million in cuts but didn't have the courage to say how he'd achieve such massive reductions. Frankly, now that state spending is at its lowest levels since the 1970s, there is no way to cut this much from the budget without profoundly damaging proposals like shutting down UAA and all community campuses. Speaker Edgmon noted that $300 million in cuts would devastate our public health system and public schools.
Alaska is now in the worst 10 states for Covid transmission, and among the 13 states left that haven't instituted a mask mandate. Public health experts, economists, and legislators have urged the Governor for months to crack down on Covid transmission to protect human life and our local businesses. But Dunleavy does not have the courage to alienate the tiny percentage of Alaskans who are covid deniers and anti-maskers. Thus, here we are with schools and businesses shut down, and many families unable to work reliably due to childcare hurdles. Compare Alaska's incompetence to Vermont or other states that did institute smart public health measures, saving lives and investments of small business owners.
Helping Downtown Businesses:
Senator Begich and I are leading an effort supported by nearly every Anchorage legislator to re-establish direct flights from Tokyo to Anchorage. This would help for our city's businesses that rely on tourism by tapping into the vast Asian market. We're also working with local government officials and parks staff to improve pedestrian safety and expand our trail network, which also help make Anchorage an attractive destination and the kind of place people where people want to live and invest. Let me know if you want more detail on these local economic development projects.