JUNEAU, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin submitted her federal economic stimulus appropriation bill to legislators today to provide jobs and needed infrastructure improvements in Alaska under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.
Palin is accepting just 55 percent of the available stimulus funds, all for capital projects. This amount includes the funds the state accepted last month for Department of Transportation projects.
“We will request federal stimulus funds for capital projects that will create new jobs and expand the economy,” Governor Palin said. “We won’t be bound by federal strings in exchange for dollars, nor will we dig ourselves a deeper hole in two years when these federal funds are gone. For instance, in order to accept what look like attractive energy funds, our local communities would be required to adopt uniform building codes. Government would then be required to police those codes. These types of funds are not sensible for Alaska.”
The legislation does not include funding requests for government operating programs. Governor Palin has indicated the state will not stand in the way of local governments or other entities pursuing stimulus funds directly from the federal government.
“The law requires me to certify that the requests I forward for legislative approval will meet the requirements of the ARRA to create jobs and promote economic growth,” Governor Palin said. “Legitimately, I can only certify capital projects that are job-ready. Alaska has seen unprecedented increases in the level of state funding for education because that is our priority. I don’t want to automatically increase federal funding for education program growth, such as the National Endowment for the Arts, at a time when Alaska can’t afford to sustain that increase.” “Simply expanding state government under this federal stimulus package creates an unrealistic expectation that the state will continue these programs when the federal funds are no longer available,” said Governor Palin. “Our nation is already over $11 trillion in debt; we can’t keep digging this hole.”