Sarah Palin's Complicated Relationship with the Stimulus

So is Sarah Palin rejecting stimulus money or not? The March 20 headline in the Anchorage Daily News seemed to make the answer pretty clear: "...
by | March 25, 2009

So is Sarah Palin rejecting stimulus money or not? The March 20 headline in the Anchorage Daily News seemed to make the answer pretty clear: "Palin rejects over 30% of stimulus money".

From that article:

JUNEAU -- Gov. Sarah Palin is refusing to accept over 30 percent of the federal economic stimulus money being offered to Alaska, including dollars for schools, energy assistance and social services.

You might be surprised to learn, then, about the message coming out of the Palin administration, as reported by the Juneau Empire:

Karen Rehfeld, director of Palin's Office of Management and Budget, said the governor's comments last week, which many observers took to mean she was rejecting stimulus money, was not that at all.

"The governor has not rejected any funds," she said.

There is actually a reasonably good explanation for this apparent contradiction. Palin isn't signing off on certain parts of the stimulus for Alaska. But, she's also not demanding that the legislature uphold her decision -- it seems likely they will take some additional funds.

Every Republican governor seems to have a different approach to the stimulus, from eager acceptance, to grudging acceptance, to rejecting a small piece, to rejecting larger chunks, to wavering back and forth on whether to accept it (Jim Gibbons). Palin's approach of deferring to the legislature (or selling her rejection as a deferral to the legislature) is a whole new iteration.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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