There’s been some question as to whether Sarah Palin supports the stimulus–er, “stimulus” –bill working its way through Congress. I asked her office whether she supported the bill, and they referred me to this statement from yesterday, which primarily focuses on whether Alaska is getting its fair share:
“Alaska and other states need to be treated fairly,” Governor Palin said. “Much of the stimulus plan we’ve seen focuses on spending for government programs that would be a burden on states to continue funding, and doesn’t focus enough on spending that actually does put people back to work and stimulate the economy. Working with our D.C. staff, I took advantage of the opportunity to speak with Democrats and Republicans to voice my concerns. I appreciate their time and assistance in paying attention to our state.”
Governor Palin discussed troubling elements in the stimulus package including provisions that punish Alaska for forward-funding education, the mass transit funding formula that will limit Alaska opportunities but will pour money into other states, and the “shovel-ready” criteria for projects that northern climates might not be able to accommodate consistently due to the shortened construction season.
The governor continues to express concerns first identified in a Jan. 7 letter to the Alaska congressional delegation about the overall level of spending and the hugely increased deficit our nation is growing. Under the legislation, the U.S. would continue sending money to OPEC nations even as it continues to borrow and miss opportunities to develop domestic supplies of energy.
“Worst of all, the stimulus package rewards states for not planning when it comes to prioritizing for things like education, as Alaska has planned ahead by forward-funding 21 percent of our General Fund dollars for this very important priority,” said Palin. “It appears only those states that did not plan ahead with education will benefit. States like Alaska should not be punished for being responsible; yet that’s what the plan means for Alaska right now.”
The governor has asked the nation’s leaders to look at these issues to ensure fairness in the stimulus package and that the package does not harm the long-term fiscal health of the nation. Contrary to some news reports, she looks forward to continuing to work with Alaska’s congressional delegation to accomplish the state’s goals.
So she sees problems with it, but doesn’t come out and say definitively that it ought to pass or ought not to pass. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what comes out of the Senate.