A resolution encouraging Gov. Dunleavy to sign HB 2001 failed at the Tuesday Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting. Assembly members Kelly Cooper, Hal Smalley and Willy Dunne were in support of the resolution.
HB 2001 is a budget bill that reverses about 80% of the $444 million in vetoes Dunleavy made to the operating budget in June.
“This resolution is communicating to the governor the impact some of his vetoes have to the borough,” Dunne said at the meeting. “Some of these vetoes would harm the borough.”
Dunne went on to illustrate how cuts to the university would impact projects and research in his district of the southern peninsula. He said a $6 million state cut to drug and alcohol treatment and recovery may impact agencies trying to build recovery centers in his district. A $21 million senior benefits cut is impacting Homer area seniors, too, Dunne said.
“Homer Senior Center reported that 13 seniors are slated for eviction because they cannot afford to pay their rent because their benefits have been withheld,” Dunne said.
The assembly meeting was attended by Rep. Ben Carpenter of Nikiski, who said the resolution doesn’t help solve the problem.
“This resolution, which I’m sure is well-meaning, is not helpful in the ultimate solution,” Carpenter said at the meeting. “What you’re saying is just go ahead and restore the vetoes, but you aren’t making a recommendation for how you’re going to pay for it. From the borough’s perspective you’re kicking the can to the next level to let them hash it out.”
Smalley, who served in the Legislature, said finding solutions for where the money should come from is a job for state senators and representatives.
“That is the Legislature’s responsibility,” Smalley said. “Identifying where those funds will come from — that’s their job. They need to do their job.”
The house bill was passed by the Legislature last week and is on the governor’s desk where he can choose to sign it into law, veto all or some of the bill or not sign it, allowing it to become law after the 30-day deadline on Aug. 30.