On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, 1 applaud the efforts taken by the legislature to create and agree on a budget, as we understand the gravity of the budget situation. However, the consequences of the Governor’s vetoes if not overridden, stand to reverberate negatively throughout Kodiak and Alaska for years to come.
Kodiak is an island community that, due to its rural nature, has always done more with less. The Chamber believes in fiscal responsibility for a sustainable and prosperous future, but not at the expense of basic services. A sustainable and prosperous future without adequately funding Head Start, the university system, community assistance programs, Medicaid, senior benefits, and public broadcasting threatens the quality of life and economy of our isolated island.
The mission of the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce is to provide business development for an economically strong and diverse Kodiak region. Kodiak is still trying to recover from the previous state budget cuts and the Federal Government shutdown earlier this year. These cuts and lost revenues have significantly stretched the budgets of our non-profits and the businesses that supported them. Among our current membership, both profit and non-profit members, an anticipated 20% will be directly impacted with a loss of funds. Beyond the directly impacted portion, significantly more organizations are likely to feel the impacts of funding loss due to the synergistic dynamics of the community,
Kodiak is also a proud Coast Guard City. With further budget cuts the approximately 2,500 Coast Guard and dependent residents, which had their COLA reduced 20%, potentially stand to lose local college and other needed services. When the Coast Guard suffers, the community of Kodiak suffers.
Prior to the vetoes, the budget would already have negative impacts on the Kodiak Region, but with the vetoes, the additional cuts will be devastating. Experiencing already limited transportation options services island-wide are crucial to the long-term economic health of Kodiak, including its six outlying villages. If basic levels of community service are no longer able to be offered, it will be more difficult to retain community members island wide.
The Kodiak Chamber of Commerce supports your vote to override Governor Dunleavy’s operating budget vetoes.
Questions regarding the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce position can be directed to Sarah Phillips, Executive Director at 907.486.5557 or via email - Chamber Director@Kodiak.org.