Les Gara writes:
Then there’s the claim by Senator McCain that our Governor has been a “maverick” fighting federal earmarks. We didn’t know that either. Alaska takes more federal earmarks per capita than any state in the country. Governor Palin asks for them. She, like her predecessors, happily accepts them. Alaska’s budget contains hundreds of millions in earmark dollars. Alaska politicians love earmarks, and campaign on their ability to get them.
We also heard at the Convention that Governor Palin’s been a budget cutter. But in Governor Palin’s two years as Governor state spending has gone up by 20%. She did veto projects, and I supported those vetoes. But after vetoes, there’s still been a 20% budget hike. Depending on your views, a 20% spending increase might be defensible. It’s not defensible to make people believe you cut the budget when you didn’t.
Here’s what else I know about my state. We have the third worst children’s health insurance program in the nation. The Governor wouldn’t support cost-effective measures to extend insurance to the 10,000 children of Alaskan working parents who cannot afford coverage. She campaigned against a recent proposal to prevent large strip mines from spilling toxic chemicals into Alaska’s salmon waters – something that’s raised the ire of fishermen and Alaska Natives in remote Southwest Alaska communities. Thirty-five to forty percent of our kids don’t graduate from high school, and we can’t convince Governor Palin to join the 41 other states that have accepted the science showing statewide pre-k education helps kids succeed when they don’t have other good options at home.
There are a lot of important issues to discuss this campaign. They should be debated honestly. So far, as Senator McCain’s joined Barack Obama’s call for change, he’s only succeeded at changing the truth.
Anchorage Rep. Les Gara (D) is a frequent contributor to Mudflats.
(Rdan here….bolding is mine…the special education budget was cut 60%…imagine that)
It is possible the amount is more complicated than stated. Will get back to you as I research.