Today, Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s office acknowledged the state legislature’s action to “accept economic stimulus funds with passage of House Bill 199, Senate Bill 75, HB81, HB113, and two legislative resolutions supporting receipt of the funds, House Joint Resolution 11 and House Concurrent Resolution 13.”
“I have been clear and consistent about my concerns with accepting economic stimulus funds as our nation incurs tremendous debt,” said Governor Palin. “As I am required to certify that stimulus dollars will create new jobs and stimulate the economy, I acknowledge the legislature’s action. And now I must make sure that, by applying for funds that they’ve resolved to accept, we do not grow government but instead put people to work and grow Alaska’s private-sector economy.”
The House and Senate finance committees held nearly 20 public hearings and worked closely with the administration to research aspects of the stimulus bill.
“We provided the public with the opportunity to weigh in and for them to understand the complicated and evolving federal requirements in this package,” Governor Palin said. “My concern remains that we must acknowledge these are one-time, temporary funds, that the federal government is deeply in debt, and that we must borrow money from other countries to fund much of government.”
The legislature agreed with the Governor that these federal funds should be used to generate new private sector jobs and not be used to create new services or programs. HB199 includes intent language to that effect: “The state will not be granting additional funds to continue the programs after the federal aid is exhausted.”
The Washington Times found last week that Alaska ranks as the top state in terms of per-capita grant aid. At $599 per capita, it trails only American Samoa at $759, the District of Columbia at $738, and the U.S. Virgin Islands at $603.
The states with the lowest per-capita grant aid so far are Colorado, at $321 per resident, and Virginia, at $324 per resident.