What others say: Who’s going to pay

Mexico should start writing checks for our border wall — and soon. Because if we fund it, the money will be taken from federal services that are actually useful, like the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Trump administration’s draft proposal developed by the Office of Management and Budget would cut the Coast Guard’s budget by 14 percent — about $1.3 billion — to help pay for the wall.

Other agencies that would have substantial cuts include the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, both of which would see budget reductions of 11 percent under the Trump proposal.

We’re not too familiar with TSA and FEMA, but Ketchikan is an official Coast Guard city and long has been the base of most Coast Guard operations in southern Southeast Alaska. From that perspective alone, we don’t believe whacking the Coast Guard budget by 14 percent is a good idea under any circumstance.

We know firsthand that the Coast Guard takes its motto, Semper Paratus (Always Ready), quite seriously. As a maritime community, we are grateful that Coast Guard personnel and equipment are here and standing by around the clock to assist in times of emergency. All marine traffic in this region relies on aids to navigation maintained by the Coast Guard.

Like it or not, the Coast Guard enforces federal laws and regulations. That includes rules regarding fisheries, and in ensuring that foreign vessels aren’t harvesting seafood illegally in waters controlled by the United States. These enforcement efforts help protect American lives at sea, guard our fish stocks and economic interests, maintain a viable environment, and prevent the inflow of illegal immigrants and substances.

The Coast Guard accomplishes these things in Ketchikan and nationwide on an annual budget of $9.1 billion. That’s a lot of money. And we know that the nation gets its money’s worth and much more from the Coast Guard. So much so that it’s easy to understand how the agency would be hobbled by losing $1.3 billion from its annual budget.

Conversely, we know there would be value in boosting the Coast Guard’s annual budget — especially given its key roles in homeland defense and security, not to mention the need for an expanded Coast Guard icebreaker fleet and presence in the Arctic region.

When one hears that cuts such as these are being proposed for services like the Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather operations, and the Sea Grant program that’s active in Alaska, one must wonder about the administration’s priorities and promises.

Americans were told time and again that Mexico would pay for the wall. Whether anyone believed that during the campaign is an open question. But if Mexico won’t be writing the checks, it’s becoming clear who actually will be paying and how that will affect places like Ketchikan across these United States.

— Ketchikan Daily News, March 10

More in Opinion

Larry Persily (Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: State’s ‘what if’ lawsuit doesn’t much add up

The state’s latest legal endeavor came July 2 in a dubious lawsuit — with a few errors and omissions for poor measure

The entrance to the Homer Electric Association office is seen here in Kenai, Alaska, on May 7, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Speak up on net metering program

The program allows members to install and use certain types of renewable generation to offset monthly electric usage and sell excess power to HEA

Gov. Mike Dunleavy signs bills for the state’s 2025 fiscal year budget during a private ceremony in Anchorage on Thursday, June 25, 2024. (Official photo from The Office of the Governor)
Alaska’s ‘say yes to everything’ governor is saying ‘no’ to a lot of things

For the governor’s purposes, “everything” can pretty much be defined as all industrial development

Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. board members, staff and advisors meet Oct. 30, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: The concerns of reasonable Alaskans isn’t ‘noise’

During a legislative hearing on Monday, CEO Deven Mitchell referred to controversy it’s created as “noise.”

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Crime pays a lot better than newspapers

I used to think that publishing a quality paper, full of accurate, informative and entertaining news would produce enough revenue to pay the bills

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo
Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom addresses the crowd during an inaugural celebration for her and Gov. Mike Dunleavy at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Jan. 20, 2023.
Opinion: The many truths Dahlstrom will deny

Real conservatives wouldn’t be trashing the rule of law

Gov. Mike Dunleavy discusses his veto of a wide-ranging education bill during a press conference March 16 at the Alaska State Capitol. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Governor, please pay more attention to Alaskans

Our governor has been a busy guy on big issues.

Priya Helweg is the acting regional director and executive officer for the Region 10 Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
Happy Pride Month

This month is dedicated to acknowledging and uplifting the voices and experiences of the LGBTQI+ community

A roll of “I voted” stickers sit at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Juneau in 2022. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Strengthening democracy: Native vote partners to boost voter registration

GOTNV and VPC are partnering to send over 4,000 voter registration applications this month to addresses and P.O. boxes all over Alaska

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower after he was found guilty of all counts in his criminal trial in New York on May 30.
Opinion: Trump’s new fixers

Fixers from Alaska and elsewhere step in after guilty verdict

Ballot booths are set up inside Kenai City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Perspective from an election worker

Here is what I know about our Kenai Peninsula Borough election system

Apayauq Reitan, the first transgender woman to participate in the Iditarod, tells the House Education Committee on March 30, 2023, why she opposes a bill restricting transgender rights. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: The imaginary transgender sports crisis

House Bill 183 is a right-wing solution to a problem that doesn’t exist now and never will.