Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was able to secure $7.1 million out of the $9 million she had requested for preparatory work on an in-state gas pipeline. This amount represents 78% of the money requested (Legislative Accomplishments, 2009, Â¶9).
Governor Palin had submitted bills to consolidate six electric utilities in the Railbelt region. The utilities generally agree, but could not finalize anything in time for this year’s legislative session. The Railbelt bills will be on the table for the 2010 session (Legislative Accomplishments, 2009, Â¶8).
Additionally, “[t]he legislature approved $100 million in FY2009 grant awards from the Renewable Energy Fund. The grants will allow utilities across the state to advance more than 80 generation projects utilizing wind, solar, hydroelectric, hydrokinetic, and bio fuels. Another $25 million in grants are included in the FY2010 capital budget appropriation bill (Legislative Accomplishments, 2009, Â¶10).
Governor Palin secured $1.2 billion for 140 highway, aviation, and transit infrastructure projects (Legislative Accomplishments, 2009, Â¶16).
The Governor’s education budget initiatives were approved. These include a $23 million increase in “base allocation” for the general student population, and $22 million for intensive needs students. An additional $600,000 was approved for school districts needing improvement in reading and math (Legislative Accomplishments, 2009, Â¶11-14).
Governor Palin made significant reductions in the proposed spending plan for the next fiscal year, given the decline in general fund revenues projected for Fiscal Year 2010 — from $5.3 billion estimated in the fall of 2008, to $3.2 billion in the spring of 2009. The leaner proposal reflected the governor’s fiscal philosophy of slowing government growth, keeping expenditures within the state’s means, meeting core spending obligations and saving as much as possible for potentially leaner times (Legislative Accomplishments, 2009, Â¶3).
From all appearances, both houses of the Alaska Legislature has was going to toss all of Governor Palin’s key pieces of legislation in favor of bills on things like marmots, malamutes, and bestiality. Fortunately, in the end some common sense prevailed. As noted in a prior entry, the Railbelt delay is not the legislature’s fault — it’s the utilities involved that need more time. Governor Palin secured 78% of the money she requested this year for the in-state pipeline. This is a major win for her. Governor Palin is an expert financial administrator — knowing her, she’ll find a way to stretch that $7.1 million to give her the $9 million in results she is seeking.
Not mentioned in her release, but forthcoming — the Alaska legislature voted for taking 100% of the stimulus bill. Governor Palin rejected roughly 33 1/3% of that money as being poisoned — resulting in un-funded state mandates, greater federal control over state affairs, or both. It is critical that Governor Palin use her veto powers against the poisoned funds, even if her vetoes are overridden. A veto formalizes for the record that she absolutely was against taking these poisoned funds.
Governor highlights accomplishments of legislative session. (2009, April 20). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved April 20, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1779