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Sarah Palin To Accept Most Stimulus Funds For Alaska

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will sign bills accepting most of the federal stimulus funds available to the state, her spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Palin initially said she would accept only about two-thirds of the $930 million available to Alaska.

Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said the governor changed her mind after the public weighed in during legislative hearings prior to lawmakers passing bills to seek almost all of the funding.

Palin had warned about the state having to finance projects created by the stimulus funds after the federal money runs out. She earlier called the stimulus package "an unsustainable, debt-ridden package of funds."

Alaska's Legislature conducted more than 20 public hearings on the federal stimulus package, and legislative leaders said they couldn't find any of the strings attached to the funds that Palin had warned about.

They passed bills accepting nearly all the funds before the April 19 adjournment.

"I thank legislators for their work on the federal economic stimulus package and the public for participating in the process," Palin said Tuesday in a statement.

The only funds Palin will reject, Leighow said, will be nearly $29 million for a State Energy Program she says are tied to adopting a statewide energy code.

Alaska's vast expanse and wide-ranging conditions are not conducive to such an energy code, Palin said.

Leighow anticipates the legislative bills covering the stimulus will be sent to Palin by early next week. She will have 20 business days to sign or veto them.

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