How well has Sarah Palin done during her 21 months as Alaska's governor? Here are excerpts of Anchorage Daily News editorials about some major issues and challenges during her tenure.
THE FISCAL RECORD
Aug. 5, 2008
The last time the legislature's spending impulses got so far out of control, Gov. Sarah Palin stepped in to exercise some "adult supervision" with her veto pen.
That probably won't happen this time -- because Palin helped start the frenzy.
She floated a plan to give every bona fide Alaskan $1,200 worth of energy debit cards over the next year. Add in electricity subsidies and a holiday on the state's 8-cent-a-gallon gas tax, and Gov. Palin invited lawmakers to spend more than $1 billion.
The party was on.
May 24, 2008
Gov. Sarah Palin cut $268 million from the capital budget on Friday. That's a lot of money, but still less than 10 percent of the entire $3 billion capital budget.
For the most part, the cuts make sense ... The governor's cuts weren't perfect, but by and large she was right to stick with her criteria and cut accordingly.
July 16, 2007
Gov. Sarah Palin struck a modest blow for fiscal restraint with her $231 million of vetoes to this year's near-record capital budget.
The governor didn't show the same discipline with the operating budget, though. She let that $6.6 billion of spending slide through unscathed, even though months earlier she said she'd seek $150 million in budget cuts.
OIL TAX REFORM
Nov. 18, 2007
It took almost all of a 30-day special session, but the Alaska Legislature passed a financially responsible fix to Alaska's corruption-tainted oil tax.
The final measure went beyond Governor Palin's proposal, with tighter deductions, stricter enforcement provisions and a steeper windfall profits surcharge. ...
To pass any reform, Republican Gov. Sarah Palin needed cross-party support from Democrats. To the Democrats' credit, they backed away from plans to return to a tax on gross oil production instead of profits. To the governor's credit, she was flexible enough to accept significant enhancements in her initial proposal.
OPENNESS IN GOVERNMENT
May 18, 2007
Gov. Sarah Palin got elected pledging to change the way business was being done in Juneau. Her commitment to open, transparent government is a stark contrast to the prevailing ethic in the Alaska Legislature.
June 6, 2008
Gov. Sarah Palin won office with the promise of running an open and transparent government. But when it comes to the state's work on the polar bear conservation controversy, her administration is closed and opaque. ...
She should intervene and let Alaskans hear or see what state scientists had to say (about the global warming threat to polar bears) -- before the politicians got involved.
ALASKA'S $500 MILLION NATURAL GAS LINE PARTNERSHIP
June 15, 2008
The Palin administration has good reason to push for an independently-owned gas pipeline from the North Slope.
June 8, 2008
The $500 million (that Gov. Palin needs to finance her proposed natural gas pipeline deal) buys Alaska a way to break that hammerlock on our gas. It buys Alaska an experienced, multibillion-dollar partner that can help get our gas produced sooner, on terms that protect Alaska's interests.
May 29, 2008
Gov. Palin's gas line team did an impressive amount of homework before recommending a state gas pipeline license for TransCanada Alaska.
July 22, 2008
It's clear the governor should have supervised her family more closely and made sure they, or any members of her administration, did not use official channels to press the family's complaints.
The big question is whether (public safety commissioner) Monegan was sacked for not doing the Palins' bidding and firing Trooper Wooten. If so, that would be an abuse of office. ...
An impartial investigator will have a lot more credibility than politically charged legislative hearings.
Let an investigator sort it out.
Aug. 21, 2008
Gov. Palin's ethically compromised aide Frank Bailey gets to stay on the state payroll, despite doing dirty work on the governor's behalf (in the trooper scandal), but she gives the hook to the ethically upright public safety commissioner who refused to do Bailey's bidding.
What kind of message does that send to Alaskans?
July 24, 2008
If it comes to the point that you have to say, "I am not a sex harasser," then you have no business being the state's top cop. The facts unfolding about new Public Safety Commissioner Chuck Kopp confirm that he is not the person for the job. ...
Gov. Sarah Palin should withdraw the appointment and take time to carefully vet possible replacements before choosing a new commissioner. If she doesn't, the Legislature should reject his appointment.
Kopp was quickly appointed the day after the governor fired Walt Monegan -- and the firing is proving to be a political disaster for Palin in its own right, regardless of who might replace him. For no apparent reason, she sacked a popular career cop with a reputation as a straight shooter.
PALIN'S FIRST LEGISLATIVE SESSION
May 18, 2007
From beginning to end, the first session of the 25th Alaska Legislature was a personal triumph for Gov. Sarah Palin.
Legislators, after initial reluctance, approved her Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) with only occasional whimpered doubts. ...
Ethics reform, sneered at by a few lawmakers and many lobbyists, is now a reality. Gov. Palin's fingerprints are all over the bill and to the public she is the face of ethics reform. ...
Alaska's rookie governor had a heckuva first legislative session.
Dec. 30, 2006
Despite her personal views to the contrary, she announced she would accept the state Supreme Court order that the state must provide benefits to same-sex partners. ...
It's unfortunate that the Legislature and Gov. Palin support a million-dollar special advisory election in April to stir up public opinion on prohibiting benefits for same-sex partners of public employees. Less than one-half of one percent of state employees have applied for the benefits, and it certainly seems that Alaska has more important issues to debate than this.
May 28, 2008
Alaska's political leaders generally condemned the listing of the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Gov. Sarah Palin joined the deniers and plans to launch a legal counteroffensive. The state will file suit against the listing decision, she says, because the science is "uncertain," "unproven" and "arbitrary." ...
All this oppositional energy and effort is sadly misplaced. Instead of fighting the listing, Alaska's political leaders should be fighting to reduce the threat of global warming.