Letter to the Editor: Say ‘no’ to Dunleavy’s budget cuts

To live within your means, you have to have an income.

My husband and I are longtime Alaskan residents who love our state and what it stands for. We are raising our child here and plan to remain here in Homer for the rest of our lives. Despite my fiscally conservative tendencies, I am horrified by the governor’s proposed budget and terrified for the potential ramifications for Homer, the Kenai Peninsula, and Alaska.

If House Bill 57 passes, the Kenai Peninsula Borough loses a giant chunk of its income. This money will have to be replaced if we want to continue having hospitals, schools, roads, etc. Without health care and education, where will the jobs be? Who will spend money at the privately owned businesses when our unemployment skyrockets? The borough’s only recourse will be property taxes. Taxes will go up yet fundamental services will go down. When property taxes and unemployment go up and our services go down, our property values will plummet. House Bill 57 is not good for Alaska.

And why would it be? It is the plan of the OMB Director, a woman who has only been in the state for eight weeks and who has no intention of staying. She doesn’t care if Alaska’s future will only be as strong as its education system. Her children and grandchildren won’t need to use our schools so why should she care if they go unfunded? I, for one, don’t want her, or any other outsider with no stakes in the long-term outcome, to make decisions that will effect, in her own words, every single Alaskan.

Please don’t assume someone else will make sure this doesn’t happen. We may not all be on the same side of the political blanket but we are all Alaskans. Say ‘no’ to this budget by calling and writing Sara Vance and Gary Stevens and telling them that we won’t stand for an outside hatchet attacking our future.

I wish getting rid of HB 57 would solve the whole problem, but it won’t. We also need a revenue source. We all do. If there is no money coming in, we can’t pay the bills. We have been fortunate to fund our communities with oil company funds for many years. That money is drying up. Cutting alone won’t solve any problems if there is less and less money coming in. The plan with HB 57 is to take money from the borough to increase the state income. That just shifts the burden to property taxes. I am willing to pay my share but I also want the out of state workers to pay theirs. They don’t pay property taxes. For that reason, I support an income tax where an estimated 25 percent of revenue will come from those outside workers.

— Kim Frost, Homer

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