Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) announced Thursday that she intends to turn down nearly half of the federal stimulus funds allotted to her state.
“We won’t be bound by federal strings in exchange for dollars, nor will we dig ourselves a deeper hole in two years when these federal funds are gone,” Palin said in a statement.
“Simply expanding state government under this federal stimulus package creates an unrealistic expectation that the state will continue these programs when the federal funds are no longer available,” she added. “Our nation is already over $11 trillion in debt; we can’t keep digging this hole.”
Palin will accept $514.1 million of the estimated $930.7 million provided to Alaska, some of which the state has already accepted for Department of Transportation projects. In a press release, the governor’s office said it planned to accept “just 55 percent of the available stimulus funds, all for capital projects.”
The governor said she hopes to “foster a discussion” about the stimulus and warned that the “growth of government” will interfere in the lives of Alaskans.
“We think stimulus items devoted to government agency growth and program expansion ought to be examined in light of the funding needs already being addressed with our pending budget requests,” she said. “We need to ensure that these stimulus dollars are used for job opportunities for Alaskans, while preserving the regular operating spending decisions through the normal budget process.”