Alaska’s Future

Dear CIRI shareholders and descendants,

Along with many Alaskans, CIRI leadership has been closely monitoring the Alaska State Legislature and the governor’s work on the fiscal year 2020 budget. The actions taken by lawmakers today will meaningfully impact CIRI’s business and employees, our family of nonprofits, and our shareholders and their families well into the future.

Today marks day five of a special legislative session, the purpose of which is for legislators to make decisions related to the Permanent Fund Dividend and how to address Governor Mike Dunleavy’s proposed $444 million in vetoes to the state budget.

On Wednesday, members of the ANCSA Regional Association (ARA), which comprises all 12 of the land-based Alaska Native regional corporations, including CIRI, issued an open letter to Legislative leadership and Governor Dunleavy to express concern for the potential harm the proposed cuts will cause to the state’s economy. Specifically, ARA noted that the organization “has long supported and advocated for securing a stable financial future for Alaska, [but] the drastic cuts as proposed will plunge Alaska into a fiscal and social crisis.”

The 182 vetoes include cuts to education, health care, public safety and public assistance, including significant reductions in the University of Alaska budget. One of the vetoes would fully eliminate the state’s senior benefits program. CIRI leadership has significant concerns about the short- and long-term impacts these budget cuts will have on our state’s citizens and economy. A complete list of Governor Dunleavy’s vetoes can be found here.

Though the deadline for the Legislature to meaningfully address the governor’s vetoes is today, no matter the outcome, the process will continue to unfold over the next several months. CIRI encourages our stakeholders—shareholders and descendants, employees, and those who work for or whose lives have been impacted by our family of nonprofits—to involve themselves in the political process. Now, more than ever, our elected officials need to hear your voice.

If you are an Alaska resident, I invite you to contact your legislators and share your thoughts on the future of our state with them. You can look up your elected legislators and find their contact information here.

Your opinion matters! I encourage you to make your voice heard and engage with your leaders during this critical time in our state’s history.

Warm regards,

 

 

Sophie Minich
CIRI President and CEO