Maybe it was the spirit of Christmas Future that this week spurred former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to unload on potential "insolvent states." Because those like California failed to heed her warnings that President Obama's economic stimulus "was equivalent to a federal bribe with fat strings attached," she posted on Facebook, there is now talk of failing states and bailouts from Washington, D.C. -- something that hasn't happened since the Great Depression.
If only the other states had followed Alaska's lead -- added Palin or her ghostwriter. There is really no way to know who exactly wrote what -- Palin or her staff -- on Palin's Facebook page, which the half-term, ex-governor uses to push her public policy agenda to millions. Alaska, it was posted on Facebook, knew how to manage a budget back when Palin was governor and "ran a surplus because we incentivized [sic] businesses, I didn't spend it on fun and glamorous pet projects for lawmakers -- though that would have made me quite popular with the earmark crowd. In fact, I vetoed more excessive spending than any governor in our state's history, and I used the state's surplus to bring our financial house in order... "
Earmarks are government expenditures dictated by the legislative branch of government instead of the executive branch. Alaska's legislature doesn't do earmarks, which left some legislators wondering about Palin's earmarks comment. More baffling, though, was the reference to "incentivized businesses." As governor, Palin did start in motion a reduction in the business license fee from $100 to $50, but the old $100 fee wasn't exactly hampering commerce. And besides, everyone in Alaska knows precisely where Palin's huge budgetary surplus came from.
It came from oil. The state has always imposed significant taxes and royalties on oil. Oil pays for about 85 percent of state government through taxes, royalties and fees. And the state's cut is tied to the price of crude, which was going for about $130 a barrel when Palin was governor. Given those prices, Alaska was looking at a tax windfall even before Palin and state Democrats upped the ante.