Posted by | March 20, 2009 17:33 | Filed under: Top Stories

Some Alaskans are miffed and angry that Alaska’s governor is rejecting 30% of the stimulus money being offered her state.  While Palin is saying the funds she is not taking are those that “grow government,”  those dollars would go to schools, energy assistance and social services.


The news Thursday drew anger from those who accused Palin of putting her national political aspirations ahead of the state’s interests, and admiration from others who say she has courage to turn down money that would expand government. The state Legislature will have an opportunity to override her decision.


Palin is not taking about $288 million of the $930.7 million that Alaska is due in the federal stimulus. Palin said she is accepting the federal stimulus money that would go for construction projects, but not funding directed at government operations.


The news Thursday drew anger from those who accused Palin of putting her national political aspirations ahead of the state’s interests, and admiration from others who say she has courage to turn down money that would expand government. The state Legislature will have an opportunity to override her decision.

 

Palin is not taking about $288 million of the $930.7 million that Alaska is due in the federal stimulus. Palin said she is accepting the federal stimulus money that would go for construction projects, but not funding directed at government operations.

 

Palin at first said she would reject 50% of the money, but later conceded that she left out of the equation Medicaid money that she is taking,  bringing the rejected figure down to 31%. 


The biggest single chunk of money that Palin is turning down is about $170 million for education, including money that would go for programs to help economically disadvantaged and special needs students. Anchorage School Superintendent Carol Comeau said she is “shocked and very disappointed” that Palin would reject the schools money. She said it could be used for job preservation, teacher training, and helping kids who need it.

 

Anchorage Democratic Rep. Les Gara says there’s no reason to reject the money and that Palin is more concerned about her political future by pandering to voters outside the state than the well-being of Alaskans.


Acting Anchorage Mayor Matt Claman said he’s disappointed Palin chose to turn down funding that would create jobs and maintain services. “Her rationale is like turning down a gift card because it expires in two years,” Claman said in a written statement.

 

Palin is turning down money for weatherization, energy efficiency grants, immunizations, air quality grants, emergency food assistance, homeless grants, senior meals, child care development grants, nutrition programs, homeless grants, arts, unemployment services, air quality, justice assistance grants and other programs.

 

Palin said some funds she turned down have federal strings attached: Up to $64 million in energy funds would require the state to mandate a building code change, her office said, while $15 million in unemployment help requires the state to expand eligibility for benefits. Alaska should decide these things, Palin said.


And Alaska will decide these things, because the governor could be superseded by the legislature on this. Unclear is whether there would then be a veto if the legislature doesn’t do what she wants.  Also unclear is whether this helps or hurts Palin in the long run.  Interestingly, Governors Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Rick Perry of Texas are also rejecting stimulus money, perhaps also with with eyes on the national stage.

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Copyright 2009 Liberaland
By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.