In what many will undoubtably take as a signal that she is positioning herself for a White House run in 2012, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has announced that she will reject nearly one-half of the stimulus funds allocated to her state:
Gov. Sarah Palin just told reporters that she’s accepting only 55 percent of the federal economic stimulus money being offered to Alaska. The governor said that she will accept only about $514 million of the $930 million headed to the state.
“We are not requesting funds intended to just grow government. We are not requesting more money for normal day-to-day operations of government as part of this economic stimulus package. In essence we say no to operating funds for more positions in government,” Palin said.
The biggest single chunk of stimulus money that Palin is turning down is $160 million for education. There’s also $17 million in Department of Labor funds (vocational rehabilitation services, unemployment services, etc.), about $9 million for Health and Social Services and about $7 million for Public Safety. The full list and the specifics aren’t available from the governor’s budget department yet.
Palin said she’ll work with the Legislature if it decides that it wants to go ahead and accept the money (although she didn’t rule out vetoes). But the deadline for the Legislature to decide could be April 3. Legislators from both parties said, if that is the deadline, it doesn’t leave them much time to sort through it all.
In doing this, Palin is following in the footsteps of Governors Mark Sanford and Rick Perry, both of whom have already announced that they were rejecting sizable portions of the stimulus money directed toward their states. It also seems fairly clear that she’s positioning herself with them in an effort to increase her viability in the run-up to 2012.
And if you don’t think Sarah Palin is thinking about running for President in 2012, then tell me why she’s apparently polling in New Hampshire and Iowa already.