Gov. Sarah Palin dropped the hammer today on $80 million from the state budget. Her cuts include the $28.6 million in federal stimulus money designated for energy relief. Even though Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage municipalities are already complying with the federal building codes, Palin turned money down for weatherization and energy assistance to avoid the building requirements statewide. The governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, negotiated taking the money without a statewide code.
Alaska has the highest energy costs in the nation. Alaska has two seasons; winter and construction. Now would be the best time for window replacement, weatherization, etc.
In a "bring it on" move, Palin dared the legislature to over-ride her veto. I just spoke to a state legislator about the chances of a special session being called. It is possible, if not, the next session is January 2010.
Last fall, Governor Palin allocated $740 million in one time "energy bail-out" checks to every citizen in Alaska.
This year, $28.6 million is turned down.
Democratic Alaska Senator Mark Begich responded quickly, pointing out the hypocrisy of the Governor's position, asking for earmarks and rejecting the stimulus.
"With Alaskans facing the highest energy prices in the nation, it's disappointing that our governor is turning thumbs down on federal funding that could help our families and communities reduce their energy bills.
"The Republican-led Alaska Legislature determined that our state already meets the standards necessary to accept this funding. This notion about some onerous federal mandate seems to be little more than a political red herring targeted at an agenda other than Alaska's.
"Of the more than nearly $5 billion in requests from Alaska communities and non-profits for federal funding my office has received so far this year, I'd estimate a third of them relate to reducing energy costs. My agenda will continue to be securing federal assistance to help Alaska families reduce their high cost of living."
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