I came to Alaska 45 years ago and I have watched over time as the state built needed programs. Programs were built to address the real needs of education, heath and the safety of all Alaskans.
Education is the basic building block needed to build a future anywhere. Our children and youth across Alaska have been short changed when it comes to education for years. Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed cuts will destroy our education system. By cutting funding for rural schools, Dunleavy is adding another hurdle that people will have to overcome. Life is already hard enough as the number of suicides will attest to. We as a state should be building skills that lead to hope, not taking away all hope in the future.
A person’s health often determines how well they do in life. Dunleavy’s cuts to mental health are misplaced. Alaska has a very high suicide rate and suicide often grows out of depression. People need to be able to talk and get help before they take their lives. Our state’s rates of alcohol and drug addiction are high. We need more treatment beds, not cuts, to help our fellow Alaskans.
A person’s safety affects everything else. The governor’s veto of funding for safety issues makes no sense. The federal government is sending millions of dollars to Alaska to cover unmet needs. They are sending millions of dollars to pay for safety officers in villages where there is not one at this time. Now Dunleavy wants to cut funding to village safety officers!
These are just three examples of the harm Dunleavy’s cuts will do. I don’t want a full PDF at the expense of our state’s future. What I want are strong state programs that deal with the everyday needs of all Alaskans. These programs Dunleavy vetoed will save money down the road. Cutting programs that are needed by Alaskans cripples all of us and costs us more in the long run. Personally I don’t want to see Alaska go backward; the state has worked too long and hard to build a sound structure to better the lives of my fellow Alaskans.
First, cut the money Alaska gives the oil companies because they have plenty! Then tax me to help provide services to my fellow Alaskans. In 1974 I paid an income tax and a school tax. I don’t need a full PFD! What I do need is a state that addresses the needs of Alaskans in the areas of health, education and safety.
• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.