The Veto Edition
July , 2019
I hear you Alaska. I have heard from thousands of Alaskans asking me to override the vetoes. You can count on me to do just that.

I wrote an op-ed for the Anchorage Daily News which describes why we must override the vetoes for the good of our economy and Alaska's future. You can read it here.

The Details

It's been about 10 days since Governor Mike Dunleavy announced $444 million in vetoes to the Alaska State Operating Budget . That was on top of about $200 million in cuts the legislature worked painstakingly to find. The Governor's 182 line item vetoes included:

  • Cut forward funding of education for 2021,
  • $130 million from UAA and UAF,
  • 50% of school bond debt reimbursement costing the average property tax payer in Anchorage about $210 in increased taxes,
  • Eliminating the Senior Benefits program which provides monthly support to very poor seniors,
  • $50 million cut from Medicaid plus elimination of Adult Preventative Dental
  • Eliminated the Nome Juvenile Justice Youth Facility,
  • Eliminated Human Services & Community Initiative Matching Grants which fund homeless and Domestic Violence shelters including Abused Women's Aid in Crisis (AWAIC), Bean's Cafe, Catholic Social Services and Covenant House among others in Anchorage,
  • Eliminated all funding Alaska Legal Services Corporation, which is often the only legal representation that many poor and working class folks can receive
  • Cut the Court System $334,000 for enforcing the state’s right to privacy in a recent court ruling,
  • Cut $3.25 million for Village Public Safety Officers
  • Cut multiple positions in Dept of Law and the Court System,
  • Cut the entire Alaska State Council on the Arts budget,
  • Eliminated all early childhood education including Head Start, Best Beginnings and Parents as Teachers, and much more.

You can see the entire list here. These vetoes are reckless and irresponsible because they will increase homelessness, increase local property taxes, force young Alaskans to go outside for college, make Alaska less safe and end funding stability for education.
Alaskans have spoken loud and clear
Since Governor Dunleavy announced the vetoes the public has spoken out loud and clear. From the hundreds who came to the Legislative Listening Session I co-hosted with other Anchorage legislators last week, to those who attended one of many rallies held across the state (including the one outside the Anchorage Legislative Building pictured above) to the thousands who have emailed me, the reaction is clear: Alaskans oppose Governor Dunleavy's reckless vetoes.

Alaskans have been remarkably united in their opposition to the dangerous cuts proposed by Governor Dunleavy. This gives me hope.

But many politicians will need to be courageous and stand up to the Governor and their party. Let's help give them that courage by encouraging their support of the overrides.
Hundreds of Anchorage residents came out to the Anchorage Legislative Building to oppose the cuts. We did a dot voting exercise and the results were staggering.
Only 10 out of hundreds of people who came to the ALB supported Governor Dunleavy's vetoes.
The joint session to override the vetoes
The legislature will meet on Wednesday, July 10th at 11:30 am in a joint session to consider veto overrides. Like all legislative sessions held in the Capitol you can livestream the session at www.360north.org or at akleg.gov .

While I remain hopeful, we have a high bar in Alaska to override vetoes: we must have 45 out of 60 legislators come together to override vetoes. In Kansas and most other states where legislatures have successfully overridden vetoes, there is a 2/3 vote requirement rather than 3/4 required in Alaska.

It is my hope that legislators will be listening to the:

  • economic analysis provided by Mouchine Guettabi of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) which projects about 4,200 jobs lost as a result of the vetoes, and

  • Alaska Bankers Association which wrote a letter saying $570 million in cuts (the legislatures cuts plus Governor Dunleavy's vetoes) is too much too quickly and could actually reduce business activity.

You can encourage your friends and neighbors to write their legislator. If they don't know who their representative and senator are, then can go to www.akleg.gov and scroll to the bottom to the "Who Represents Me?" box.
Constituent Coffee on Saturday
Regardless of how this week's veto override votes go, you are invited to come join me for coffee on Saturday, July 13th at 10 am. We will meet at Immanuel Presbyterian as usual for conversation about budget overrides, the capital budget and more.

If you think of it, bring a canned or dried food item for the church's food pantry. RSVP and invite others here.

Keep in touch!
Phone Number: (907) 269-0123