A message from Laurie Wolf, President and CEO
Today, Governor Dunleavy used his line-item veto to cut over $400 million from the FY2020 state budget, adding to $280 million in cuts already made by the legislature. These cuts represent some of the largest we have seen to health and human services in our state’s history. And these figures do not take into account the loss of $22 million in matching federal funds. Let’s be clear, these cumulative cuts will have an impact on every Alaskan. As we have been saying for some time now, Alaska only truly works when we work together – nonprofits, business, and government.
These cuts will mean the loss of essential services, and our most vulnerable will be the most harmed. More people will go without homes, without food, and without healthcare. Our children will be less protected. Our families and our seniors will be more stressed. Our environment will be harmed. Simultaneously, we will be less informed as the state pulls away from public radio and television. We will also be less able to express ourselves as artists, and the organizations that celebrate and create opportunities for artistic expression will no longer be funded. These budget cuts erode the very nature of the way we understand the multi-sector commitment that has worked in Alaska since statehood.
Many Alaskans might believe they will be unaffected by these cuts. Unfortunately, that is just not true. If you are upset and concerned by seeing people living on the streets, be prepared to see more. If you like quality-of-life experiences in your community, be prepared for less. If you are troubled by the rate of property taxes, be prepared for those to go up as costs shift to local governments.
If you are leading or working in a nonprofit today, know that your work matters. Know that we see you saving lives and caring for people with real challenges. Know that we see you celebrating artists and creating vibrant communities. Know that we are with you as stewards of our environment and its resources. Know that we are tuning in, listening to our radios, and watching TV. You are our lifeline in an emergency, and we will navigate the path forward together. We share your sadness that Alaskans in every community will be hurt by these decisions. Today and every day to come, we are standing with you. Together let’s raise our voices. Let’s pull together in this stressful time. Let’s stand up for the Alaska where we all benefit. As nonprofit leaders, let’s show our fellow Alaskans what kind of Alaska we want to live in together.