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Sarah Palin's "Alaskanomics" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fact Checker MaximusNYC   

Claim: Sarah Palin turns down federal money and is fiscally responsible
Truth: Under Palin, Alaska receives more federal dollars per resident than any other state
Truth: Alaska gives its residents $3,200 from oil revenues while still accepting federal funds
Truth: Palin even charges the state for meals she eats at her own house!

Alaska is the ultimate welfare state: it receives more federal tax dollars than any other state in the union. It gives its residents handouts, thanks to a windfall profits tax on oil (a tax supported by Obama and opposed by McCain!). Sarah Palin has been at the forefront of making all of this happen.

Back to reality. Of the 50 states, Alaska ranks No. 1 in taxes per resident and No. 1 in spending per resident. Its tax burden per resident is 2-1/2 times the national average; its spending, more than double. The trick is that Alaska's government spends money on its own citizens and taxes the rest of us to pay for it. Although Palin, like McCain, talks about liberating ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, there is no evidence that being dependent on Alaskan oil would be any more pleasant to the pocketbook.
Alaska is, in essence, an adjunct member of OPEC. It has four different taxes on oil, which produce more than 89% of the state's unrestricted revenue. On average, three-quarters of the value of a barrel of oil is taken by the state government before that oil is permitted to leave the state. Alaska residents each get a yearly check for about $2,000 from oil revenues, plus an additional $1,200 pushed through by Palin last year to take advantage of rising oil prices. Any sympathy the governor of Alaska expresses for folks in the lower 48 who are suffering from high gas prices or can't afford to heat their homes is strictly crocodile tears.
Under the state constitution, the governor of Alaska has unusually strong powers to shape the state budget. At the Republican National Convention, Palin bragged that she had vetoed "nearly $500 million" in state spending during her two years as governor. This amounts to less than 2% of the proposed budget. That's how much this warrior for you (the people) against it (the government) could find in wasteful spending under her control.

Time Magazine: Sarah Palin's Alaskanomics 

Palin didn't actually fire the governor's personal chef. She just transferred her to another department in state government (where she is still a chef).

A story in the Anchorage Daily News on Friday about her sacking her chef, Stefani Marnon — who has told friends, the newspaper says, that she will remain employed by the state

Voice of the Times - "A Conservative Voice For Alaskans" 

Remember the long-time executive chef who lost her job at the Mansion when Sarah decided to live mostly in Wasilla instead of Juneau? Stefani Marnon was first reassigned as a "constituent relations assistant" in the governor's office and later to the state museum.
[...] she's finally landed where they really appreciate a good chef: the Legislative Lounge.
Lawmakers were smacking their lips in anticipation, according to Sen. Kim Elton's newsletter.

Anchorage Daily News - Alaska Ear 

She billed the state for a "per diem" travel allowance, for nights spent at her own home.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.
The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.
Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official "duty station" is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by The Washington Post.

Washington Post - Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home

She talks about being opposed to federal pork-barrel spending.  But as mayor of Wasilla, she hired a lobbyist who raked in $27 million in federal dollars for the town of 6,700 residents.  (That's $4029 of our taxes given to each Wasillan.)
A $1.9 million transportation hub and $15 million for a rail project in a town with 6,700 residents?  How many small town mayors are getting funding from the feds for projects like that?

The Political Chase - Palin Hired Lobbyist to Get Millions in Earmarks 

When she was first elected mayor of Wasilla, the town was debt-free. When she left, the town had $20 million in debt.

Palin, who portrays herself as a fiscal conservative, racked up nearly $20 million in long-term debt as mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla — that amounts to $3,000 per resident. She argues that the debt was needed to fund improvements.

Politico.com - Dems armed with Palin opposition 

As mentioned elsewhere on this site, she was in favor of the "bridge to nowhere" before it become a national embarrassment; then she turned against it. But guess what? She kept the money, and spent it on other road projects (including the "road to the bridge to nowhere", which currently leads up to an empty beach).
Gov. Palin's claim comes with a serious caveat. She endorsed the multimillion dollar project during her gubernatorial race in 2006. And while she did take part in stopping the project after it became a national scandal, she did not return the federal money. She just allocated it elsewhere.
"We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge," Gov. Palin said in August 2006, according to the local newspaper, "and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that's so negative."

Wall Street Journal: Record Contradicts Palin's 'Bridge' Claims

The Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them "nowhere." They’re still feeling pain today in Ketchikan, over Palin’s subsequent decision to use the bridge funds for other projects - and over the timing of her announcement, which they say came in a pre-dawn press release that seemed aimed at national news deadlines.
"I think that’s when the campaign for national office began," said Ketchikan mayor Bob Weinstein on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Weinstein noted, the state is continuing to build a road on Gravina Island to an empty beach where the bridge would have gone - because federal money for the access road, unlike the bridge money, would have otherwise been returned to the federal government.
Boston Herald: Palin for 'Bridge to Nowhere' before she was against it 

Also mentioned elsewhere on this site, she didn't sell the previous governor's plane on eBay. It was listed a few times, but no one bought it. Ultimately, state officials sold it at a $600,000 loss.

But in fact, the jet did not sell on eBay. It was sold to a businessman from Valdez named Larry Reynolds, who paid $2.1 million for the jet, shy of the original $2.7 million purchase price, according to contemporaneous news reports, including a story in the New York Times.
Dan Spencer, the director of administrative services for Alaska's Public Safety Department, said that the Republican speaker of the Alaska House, John L. Harris, brokered the deal.Reynolds made campaign contributions to both Palin and Harris in 2006 and 2007

Washington Post - Plane Not Sold on eBay 

(This report was initially researched and written by MaximusNYC. Additional editing and quote collection was added by The Fact Checker.) 

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