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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Tough choices

THE ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET

Who could have expected the howls and moans from the Left and the education industry about Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposal to trim $20 million from education to help pay for the tens of millions of dollars in damage caused by the Nov. 30 earthquake? Almost anybody.

Dunleavy is offering two supplemental budget bills – legislation that would amend the current fiscal year’s budget – and one includes the $20 million cut.

The $20 million in question was appropriated by the Legislature last May as it struggled to approve the state operating budget. It was to be handed out to the state’s 53 school districts and the Mount Edgecumbe school in Sitka.

But, the Juneau Empire reports: A state Office of Budget and Management document says, “the additional funding created a situation in which education was funded beyond the statutorily required amount while other programs were underfunded. This reduction is required to meet other obligations of the state.”

Dunleavy took office promising to cut spending and make the state’s books – now running $1.6 billion in the red – to balance. That means there are choices to be made, tough choices, and it will not be easy.

Alaska already spends more than $2 billion annually on education, putting it near the top of states’ education spending. Why should education in Alaska be immune to cuts? And who – other than teachers’ unions – realistically believes that cutting an amount that is less than 1 percent of the state’s education spending is undoable?

The state spends too much – no matter the howling from the Left.

Tough choices

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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