Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget proposal presented Feb. 13 will leave Alaska morally and economically bankrupt. As I watched Dunleavy deliver his budget proposal, I saw a man not up to the challenge of his elected office. He completely failed to do any of the analysis or hard decisions associated with building an actual, sustainable budget. Instead he abdicated his responsibilities as a leader and cowered behind slogans and ideological talking points.
By proposing a budget that is so devoid of any basis in reality, or at least any reality that folks would actually want to live in, Dunleavy has simply removed himself from the conversation reasonable Alaskans need to have to appropriately balance revenues and expenses. A budget is not sustainable if the population will clearly revolt within a few years and demand the services that are standard throughout the rest of our country. No business is going to invest in a state with such clearly unmet civic needs. Until we have a truly balanced budget, where actually needs are covered by revenue, no business will subject themselves to that uncertainty.
Dunleavy has revealed a cynical, nonexistent vision of Alaska’s future that seeks to curtail our potential and simply divide up the spoils of the past generation for those who want a quick buck before they head out of town. It is now up to the Legislature to do the actual work associated with crafting a sustainable budget that protects Alaska’s economy and our most vulnerable citizens — one that provides young families with the hope that their lives are going to improve, and their children are going to succeed.
Alaska desperately needs to move toward a sustainable budget that promotes and evolves with a growing and thriving Alaska economy. We need state policies that will attract investment and provide the services that Alaskans and Alaska businesses depend upon. We do not need a thoroughly bankrupt budget that eliminates items that are cornerstones of a functioning society, such as an adequate (if not high-performing) K-12 education system, a capable university system, and a health care system that cares for our sick, elderly and neediest Alaskans.
Alaska has amazing potential and tremendous economic opportunities. But we have to embrace that opportunity and build a budget that will grow with our economic success. Let’s work together and encourage our Legislature to make smart decisions. Let’s tell them they cannot start the analysis by saying that certain options are off the table. They need to analyze the impacts of the options before them and then show the leadership to take us to a successful new structure.
• Alyse Galvin is a mom, an Alaskan, a community leader, and a fighter for working families across our state. She is a former small business owner and a leader in Great Alaska Schools. Alyse is an Independent who was the Democratic Party’s nominee for Congress in 2018. My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.