Opinion: Cuts to education, social services are shortsighted

I would rather give my full PFD every year than see these budget cuts.

I am extremely concerned about Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed cuts to education and social services.

Public education and our university system are critical for maintaining a viable, relevant workforce in Alaska. Cutting education is extremely shortsighted, and does a disservice to our economy and our future. Right now, the University of Alaska Southeast is the only affordable training ground for early childhood educators, teachers and nurses, all of whom we have a shortage of throughout Alaska.

[Opinion: With Gov. Dunleavy’s budget, timing is everything]

Juneau has more homeless people than any other city in the state. The problem is far from being fully addressed, but in the past few years we have finally started to address it with solutions that will help not just in the short term (emergency shelters) but in the long term as well. Housing First is one such solution, housing 32 people who experienced long-term homelessness (10 years or more — can you imagine?). There are 250 people in Juneau experiencing homelessness, so we have a long way to go to getting these people off the streets.

[New housing summit looks at housing problems, solutions in Southeast]

As our state experiences an upward spike in the opioid epidemic, it seems shortsighted to cut social services. I would rather give my full Permanent Fund Dividend every year than see these budget cuts.

Jennifer Walker,

Juneau


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