Opinion: Be hard on the problems, not the people, in budget debate

Opinion: Be hard on the problems, not the people, in budget debate

Let’s be the good capital city.

Many Alaskans were shocked and upset at the details in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget as it was released last week. We understand those concerns; the issues and proposals are indeed dramatic.

The governor laid out a budgetary vision for the state that matches spending with revenues and does this through huge cuts to state services and programs. But this version of the budget is just the first of many steps in a long political process that will consume this legislative session. By now, we must all accept that we have structural problems in the state budget and must acknowledge that complacency will not solve these problems.

[Budget cuts could damage local efforts to battle homelessness]

We have seen some troubling and aggressive posts on social media, and we appeal to your better senses. Let’s be the good capital city that we work so hard to be. Democracies are about the debate and consideration of ideas. Take faith that the best ideas will prevail, and channel your energy into explaining and defending those ideas. Participate in legislative hearings. Call and write legislators.

Whether or not you support some or all of the governor’s approach and philosophical theory, as Alaskans we are all in this together. Let’s be hard on the problems not on the people. Your participation in the public process is essential to the good health of our democratic process. We have a long way to go before the state’s budget is finalized.

Mayor Beth Weldon and City Manager Rorie Watt

• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.