Palin rejects nearly half of federal stimulus money
by Rhonda McBride
Thursday, March 19, 2009
JUNEAU, Alaska -- Gov. Sarah Palin says she will accept only 55 percent of the federal stimulus money available to Alaska.
Palin says she's rejecting the other 45 percent because it would subject the state to more federal control and would force state government to grow its budget in the future.
The Palin administration's budget director, Karen Rehfeld, estimates federal stimulus funds available to Alaska at about $931 million. Of that, Palin is requesting $515 million for capital projects and turning away about $177 million in education funds.
Included in the money the governor is accepting is $262.6 million in transportation and aviation projects. She's also asking for $20.7 million for education and job training, $68.6 million for water and sewer projects and storage tank replacements, $3 million for the Alaska Vocational Training Center, $2.5 million for fire fuels and forest management and almost $40 million for public housing projects through the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. There's also $116 million requested for a University of Alaska Fairbanks research vessel.
Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, says it's irresponsible for the Governor to reject Federal education funds, especially in a state with one the highest drop-out rates in the nation.
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