Economists: Dunleavy’s vetoes could result in job losses

One of the many consequences.

ANCHORAGE — Budget vetoes of $444 million by Alaska’s governor could cause widespread job losses, economists said.

Analysts and business leaders predict lost jobs are only one of the consequences of Gov. Mike Dunleavey’s vetoes, The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday.

Losses from the vetoes would be roughly between 4,500 and 7,000 jobs, according to an analysis by the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research.

Higher local property taxes could also result from the 182 line-item vetoes announced June 28, observers said.

“We believe by getting the government side under control, we open up real possibilities for the private sector to grow exponentially,” Dunleavy said Friday.

The state is quickly running through its savings and the Legislature has rejected attempts to increase taxes, said Dunleavy spokesman Matt Shuckerow.

Voters rejected using part of their annual Permanent Fund Dividend to pay for government when they elected Dunleavy, Shuckerow said.

Some experts expressed concerns about what the dramatic cuts will do to Alaska, which has more state government jobs per capita than most other states.

They worry budget cuts will slow the state’s recovery from a recession in which it has been mired for three years.

There is “no way” the cuts will not result in significant job losses rippling through the economy, said Jonathan King, owner of Anchorage economic firm Halcyon Consulting.

“We’re trading long-term jobs of highly educated, high-income individuals — teachers, professors, engineers, people who build roads, that sort of stuff — for a temporary bump in retail associated with the PFD,” he said.

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