Trump’s budget: How it concerns Alaska’s funds

The Denali Commission, introduced by Congress in 1988, overlook infrastructure and economics across Alaska operate in Peterson Tower located downtown. Photo credit: Jay Guzman

President Donald Trump recently sent out his first budget proposal to the U.S. Congress, that involves many federal funding cuts that affect Alaska’s fiscal income. The Trump administration calls it the “America First Budget.”

Due to the state’s evident financial problem, those in the congressional delegation have a lot on their shoulders, a requirement to inform locals.

Rep. Don Young’s response to the budget proposal was short and to the point.

“This budget isn’t going anywhere. The President has an obligation to propose a budget, but it’s Congress’ responsibility to write the budget and set spending,” Young said in a prepared statement.

Alaska’s three Republican representatives have been vague as to whether they support the proposed statement or not. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan have both released statements regarding what they do support, but also aspects that they will not be on board with.

If passed, the proposed budget would eliminate funding that is necessary for many corporations including the Denali Commission, the Essential Air Service and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

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In addition to these services that provide a substantial amount of business all over the state, commerce funded by the arts, education, marine fisheries and weather service may be affected.

Trump said the reason for the budget trading was to “prioritize rebuilding the military” — and to possibly help fund the border wall with Mexico.

Anchorage Sen. Bill Wielechowski stressed the impact that Trump’s proposed budget would have on the state.

“Every year we’re in the top two or three in the nation in the funding that we get from the federal government, so cuts from the federal government will affect Alaska disproportionality over almost any other state in the country,” Wielechowski said.

Wielechowski said that the President’s budget would have a negative impact on many states, but considering the state’s current financial situation, Alaska would be adversely affected.

“Under the Obama Administration, our shrinking military has been stretched far too thin. The military has been forced to make aging ships, planes, and other vehicles last well beyond their intended life spans. The President will reverse this dangerous trend. From rebuilding our armed forces to beefing up our border security and safeguarding our nation’s sovereignty, this budget makes security priority one,” Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a recent budget blueprint.

Despite the hardships that Alaska could experience if the proposed budget passes, the state’s military could be positively impacted.

An outline budget regarding the military was released, stating the Trump administration would enhance defensive spending by $54 billion — a 10 percent increase, which would come out of the overall spending of the government.