ANCHORAGE – Today, Governor Dunleavy issued his vetoes of the Fiscal Year 2022 budgets. Many of the vetoes contained services and projects that had bipartisan and bicameral support in the legislature. These vetoes include public broadcasting, pre-Kindergarten grants, Alaska Marine Highway, front-line social workers, tourism, and the Permanent Fund Dividend, among other essential services. Members of the Alaska Senate Democrats issued the following statements:
“Earlier today, I spoke with Governor Dunleavy with the other legislative leaders. In that conversation, he said we would not be happy with his budget vetoes, but hoped we could all work together on crafting the budget. But to say I am not happy with these vetoes is an understatement. I’m disappointed that the governor has turned his back on the legislative process – especially after the hard work of all four caucuses – Independents, Republicans, and Democrats – over the last six months to resolve a crisis that we need not have faced. Now we face a new crisis. Instead of working to resolve the broader fiscal plan, the need for a redefined Dividend, and a stable budget for all Alaskans, we are going to spend the next weeks and months focused on reversing these devastating vetoes and fixing a budget he just broke,” said Senate Democratic Leader Tom Begich (D-Anchorage). “Make no mistake, most of these vetoes were not necessary. When the governor asks the legislature to ‘put their pettiness aside,’ he should start by setting an example. These vetoes reflect the pettiness of his first year in office and only hurt Alaskans. We, as a legislature – all parties, both bodies – have come together with a commitment to working toward the future. These vetoes stand to reverse that progress.”
“After three years of not delivering on campaign promises to pay Alaskans their statutory PFDs, back PFDs, or to make any meaningful cuts, Governor Dunleavy is now resorting to lashing out and vetoing projects he himself introduced,” said Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage). “The Long Trail was a project supported by Governor Dunleavy in his own general obligation bond package. When he failed to persuade the legislature to support that bond package, the legislature put it in the budget, and now the governor has vetoed it. This was a project that would put Alaskans to work, provide another legacy project Alaska can offer the world, and bring in countless tourism dollars into the state.”
“Alaska needs leaders with a vision for our future. But this governor took his vetoes out of the hides of child protection and health care, education and local taxpayers. He vetoed economic development and basic infrastructure – and he refused to protect billions in the principal of the Permanent Fund. A vision for our future has to go beyond just this fall’s check—it should show the way to build the state for the next generation. Alaskans deserve both: a dependable PFD and safe, educated kids living in a prosperous state. Too bad this governor seems to think it’s one or the other,” said Senator Jesse Kiehl (D-Juneau).