There is a popular saying in politics; “Don’t tell me what your priorities are. Show me your budget and I will tell you what your priorities are.”
Well, Alaskans have seen Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget, and now, we know exactly what he considers important: oil tax credits for the wealthiest multinational corporations and paying a full PFD.
Everything is on the chopping block except oil tax credits. His proposed budget eviscerates K-12, the university system, Pioneer Homes, ferry system, early childhood programs and countless other programs and services that help Alaskans from all walks of life, including the most vulnerable people in our state.
In short, the governor’s budget is immoral, cruel, mean-spirited and heartless.
Dunleavy keeps saying Alaska is open for business, but I wonder, what company would dare invest in a state where the public education system is short on teachers with overcrowded classrooms due to school closures? And any new business would want their employees’ families to have access to the best health-care providers who practice at fully staffed hospitals and clinics.
A new industry would expect necessary infrastructure like roads, bridges, airports, ports and the marine highway to be in top shape and fully funded because all of these things are crucial to running a successful business.
A full PFD would be great, and I know there are many who depend on it to pay for fuel, groceries and other essentials. So although I am personally willing to forgo mine, I am not willing to make that choice for others. I believe the simplest and easiest thing to do would be to eliminate the per-barrel oil tax credit immediately and implement a progressive income tax and perhaps a sales tax.
We must have other revenue streams so we can have budget certainty in years to come. The governor’s draconian budget proposal is bad for Alaska and extremely short-sighted. Alaskans deserve so much better than this.
— Michele Vasquez, Soldotna