Quotes of the day

“Gov. Sean Parnell, Ms. Palin’s fellow Republican and former lieutenant, has announced that it is his top priority to undo parts of major oil tax increases that Ms. Palin made law. He argues that high state taxes, not just federal regulations, are preventing oil companies from exploring new drilling in Alaska and therefore jeopardizing future state revenues…

“And the project Ms. Palin once portrayed as her principal legislative triumph, a plan to build a 1,700-mile natural gas pipeline that she said would transform the economy of Alaska and contribute to America’s domestic energy supply, seems an increasingly distant dream, undercut by low gas prices and more practical projects in other states.

“‘She made it an issue,’ said Mike Chenault, the Republican speaker of the State House, who has sponsored a bill that would end Ms. Palin’s pipeline plan if firm evidence of progress is not documented by this summer. ‘That was the way that Alaska was going to move forward. As of yet, we haven’t, in my opinion, moved one step forward.’…

“‘We’re probably the most fiscally sound state in the union,’ said Bert Stedman, a Republican who is co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and one of the Legislature’s most influential members. ‘I’d say she had little to nothing to do with it.'”

“The reality doesn’t match up to the Governor Parnell’s claims. The number of oil companies filing with the Alaska Department of Revenue has doubled indicating that competition has indeed increased. Alaska has the second most business friendly tax set-up — up two spots since the passage of ACES. Additionally, a report from Governor Parnell’s Department of Revenue indicated that 2009 yielded a record high in oil jobs. Even more recently, the newest employment numbers from Alaska show that oil job numbers were higher in January 2011 than in January 2010, indicating that jobs are growing at the seasonal level. Parnell argues that state revenues are in jeopardy, but it is estimated that his proposal would reduce revenues by $100-200 million. Governor Parnell is right on other issues, but the numbers tell a different story than he asserts when it comes to ACES…

“Let’s take a look at Senator Stedman’s voting record, shall we? Stedman voted ‘No’ on ACES, which did contribute to Alaska’s $12 billion surplus. However, Stedman did vote ‘Yes’ on Governor Murkowski’s corruption-tainted oil tax plan. Stedman also voted to override Governor Palin’s veto of stimulus funding in 2009.

“Also, as a part of the both the Senate Finance and Legislative Budget and Audit committees since 2005, Stedman helped craft and voted for every operating and capital budget proposal brought before the state Senate. Governor Palin vetoed hundreds of millions of dollars from the FY2008 capital budget alone, and in full made the largest veto cuts in the state’s history. Additionally, Governor Palin cut the state budget by 9.5% during her time as Governor compared to Governor Murkowski, indicating that Governor Palin’s fiscal restraint, not legislative spending, was the cause of Alaska’s fiscal strength. It’s quite obvious that Governor Palin’s record shows far greater fiscal responsibility than Senator Stedman’s, and Governor Palin can rightly take far more credit for Alaska’s fiscal health than Senator Stedman.”

“The New York Times just can’t seem to get much of anything right lately. No wonder they’re facing economic and reputation woes. Their article today falsely reporting on my record as governor is full of spin, and I shall call them out on it

“Alaska enjoys a $12 billion surplus thanks to ACES and the sound fiscal policies of my administration. I put billions of dollars aside in savings accounts (though I could have easily spent those billions and made a lot of friends with big-spending legislators on both sides of the aisle), and I continued to veto excess spending and Obama stimulus funds, and chopped earmarks by 86% – much to the chagrin of liberal legislators who were used as “sources” in the article. It’s kind of amusing to see state legislators claim credit for the surplus when they didn’t vote for ACES, and they cried to high heaven when I vetoed their wasteful spending on their special interest projects.

“Of course, I could have made a lot more friends in Juneau if I had spent the surplus. But I chose to put billions in savings for a rainy day and return a portion to the people of Alaska. (It was their money after all.) I paid down hundreds of millions of dollars into our under-funded state pension plans, then set aside another billion for forward-funding education. I fought the union’s demands for more benefits, engaged in hiring freezes, and cut frivolous state expenditures – again, much to the chagrin of those who spend other people’s money recklessly. That’s sound fiscal policy. I’m proud of it, and Alaska is stronger today because of it.”

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Duane Patterson 10:01 AM on November 28, 2022