Friday, 12 August 2011

Sarah Palin's fiscal conservatism - The contradictions

Sarah Palin is the most fiscally conservative person in the whole country. Government should be small and taxing the big corporations is a horrible sin. Taxes in general are a no-no according to the half-governor.

There are many facts that contradict her fiscal conservatism:

Palin Instituted A Windfall Profits Tax On Oil Companies. In 2007, Palin raised taxes on oil company profits by $1.5 billion a year, enabling Alaska to double its oil revenue. However, in 2008 she said, “Windfall profits taxes alone prevent additional investment in domestic production.”

Palin Obtained $27 Million In Earmarks As Mayor Of Wasilla. As mayor of Wasilla, AK, Palin “hired a private lobbyist to help the tiny town secure earmarks from Sen. Ted Stevens.” “The town obtained 14 earmarks, totaling $27 million between 2000-2003.”

Palin Left Wasilla In Debt. As mayor of Wasilla, Palin cut taxes while simultaneously expanding the town’s operating budget. She ended her term in 2002 with Wasilla over $20 million in debt.

The fiscal conservative mayor must have spent money like it was growing on trees. Between debt and earmarks, that's over $47 million for a town of less than 7,000 inhabitants!

More contradictions:


According to figures provided by the city of Wasilla, the operating budget for Wasilla went from $6,050,160 in fiscal year 1996 to $9,393,768 in 2002. That's a 55 percent increase. But adjusted for inflation, it's a 35 percent increase.


According to a review of Wasilla's financial reports, the amount of revenue taken in during 1996 was $6,070,806; and rose to $8,710,166 in 2002. That's a 43 percent increase. Adjusted for inflation, that comes to a 25 percent increase.


The city of Wasilla has made available all of its budgets during Palin's tenure. So we grabbed the fiscal year ending 1996 (when Palin took the reins), which showed the city's long-term debt at $1.12-million, mostly for paving and sewer projects.

The annual financial report for fiscal year ending June 30, 2002 — Palin's last year in office — shows that the total long-term debt was $24.8-million. [$14.7-million for a new multi-use sports complex; $5.5-million for street projects; and $3-million for water improvement projects.]

Politifact made allowances for the growth in Wasilla's population during Sarah Palin's tenure as mayor, but the figures still look fiscally un-conservative.

Moving on to Sarah Palin's time as governor, I didn't want to go through all the state of Alaska budgets from 2006 to 2009, so I just looked up the state government jobs in the US Census bureau database. It's a known fact that the state of Alaska is one of the major employers in the last frontier.





Looking at these tables, Sarah Palin did cut some jobs in government in her first year, with major cuts in the following sectors:

Education - 3,029 (from 24,785 to 21,756 - 12.2%)
Health and Hospitals - 306 (from 2004 to 1698 - 15.2%)
Housing and Community Development - 121 (from 597 to 476 - 20.2%)
Libraries - 115 (from 319 to 204 - 36%)

It's interesting to compare the size of the payrolls, even allowing for inflation (all figures are for the month of March):

2006 - 219,457,710
2007 - 227,334,367 (3.5% growth, 3.1% inflation)
2008 - 239,741,012 (5% growth, 3.97% inflation)
2009 - 257,245,794 (7% growth, 3.3% inflation)

Fiscal conservative? Yes and no. She shrunk some sectors and grew others, but there was an overall growth in the size of the government payroll that exceeded the rate of inflation.

The biggest losers were people trying to get an education and other "welfare" services in Alaska. But when it comes to Sarah Palin, that's not a contradiction at all...