Ever wonder what to say? Here is a great example from Linda Schandelmeier of Indivisible Alaska:
Alaska House Finance Subcommittee
On the University of Alaska Budget
The Honorable David Guttenberg, Chair and Members of the Subcommittee:
Why is our State Legislature planning to cut public education funding? This is such a foolish, shortsighted idea. The proposed cuts will have negative impacts on our state, our cities, and our citizens in so many ways.
Regarding the University of Alaska specifically, over the last three years the university system has sustained $53 million in cuts and 900 jobs have been lost statewide. According to a McDowell Group Report from May 2016, the University generates substantial economic activity statewide. In FY 2015, the university system was responsible for $1.1 billion in economic activity. But increased economic activity is not the only reason we should be supporting a strong university. Alaskan students rely on access to a quality university system because a university degree is critical to getting a good job. Others rely on the university for continuing education, or retraining. And our communities enjoy access to public lectures, performances, the museum and so much more.
On a more personal note, I was raised on a homestead near Anchorage, and after high school, I came to the University of Alaska in Fairbanks to study. That experience, especially the exposure to the wide world outside of the homestead, changed me. I suspect my experience was not unique. A university education can allow one to see beyond their sometimes narrow view of the world. It exposes you to diverse ideas, to new ways of thinking and looking at things.
It is wrong to imagine that the University of Alaska can continue to offer the same programs with less money. Our university is recognized worldwide as a leader in Arctic Research, and our students successfully compete with the best universities across the nation, but a quality university system required funding.
I urge you to pass a broad-based State Income Tax as a proven, equitable way to raise revenue for Alaska.
Contact your local lawmakers now: