Governor Palin Calls Sarah Palin's Alaska Nontroversy "Ludicrous"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jim Geraghty's "Uh-Oh" published in NRO reveals no real uh-oh at all, if one looks at the facts. His implication of hypocrisy on Governor Palin's part which might hurt her during an election campaign falls incredibly short when weighed against the facts. His assertion is that as Governor she signed into law something that belies her stand on the proper role of government and benefits her. However, her commitment to tax breaks for media production companies filming in Alaska, which boosts Alaska's ecomony, stands up under scrutiny.

Let's first take a look at Geraghty's article. He wrote:

It isn’t too hard to imagine this becoming problematic for Sarah Palin on the campaign trail, as noted by the Tax Foundation:
In case you missed it, small government crusader and Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin’s TLC reality show “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” received a $1.2 million subsidy from the state of Alaska. The show spent $3.6 million on production in the state, meaning that Alaskan taxpayers covered a third of the cost of the show. The show will apparently not have a second season.


Everything Palin has done has been perfectly legal, but it looks problematic for a crusader for small government to end up collecting a seven-figure paycheck from an endeavor that received a seven-figure subsidy, all set up by a program she signed into law. Of course, Palin set up the subsidy in 2008, and the TLC series wasn’t filmed until the summer of 2010, after Palin resigned as governor.

Why not just stop right here and take a good look at the facts?

Governor Palin addressed this in The Daily Caller this morning:
On the Alaska tax credit for media production companies:

“I can’t speak for the film tax credit programs in other states, but the program in Alaska has been effective. The bipartisan legislation I signed into law in 2008 was borne out of elected lawmakers’ frustration with the fact that shows and films about Alaska were mostly filmed elsewhere. They wanted to incentivize production companies to film in Alaska instead of Canada, Washington state, or Maine. It worked, and as the legislation’s supporters will testify, the state’s economy enjoys the benefits of having this production money circulating right here at home. It was so successful that state lawmakers now want to renew the film production tax credits for another ten years. Keep in mind that we don’t have a state income tax, state sales tax, or state property tax in Alaska. Our state government is predominately funded by oil and gas revenue. Essentially we are using revenue generated from the development of Alaska’s natural resources in order to diversify our economy and create jobs beyond just resource development. Not only does this help promote a new film industry in Alaska, it obviously also has the added benefit of encouraging our tourism industry. These shows and films about Alaska act as perfect tourist advertisements for our state. People come here to experience what they see on the shows filmed here. The dramatic increase in Alaska-based television shows and films are testament to the fact that this legislation worked, and it’s exciting to see our state showcased and appreciated. For the record, ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ was never intended to have a ’second season.’ It was always intended to be an 8-part documentary series with a definitive end date. It was a success for all involved. It highlighted the great beauty and promise of Alaska and our amazing natural resources. I’m proud of it, and I was honored to share Alaska with the rest of the world.”

On criticism for Palin benefiting from a policy she signed into law:

“Why not ask the sponsors, drafters, and supporters of this legislation that would boost job creation if they crafted this bill years ago in order to benefit Sarah Palin? Any suggestion that I somehow did something wrong by signing this legislation is ludicrous. The accusation hinges on the notion that I signed the legislation into law knowing that it would personally benefit me. That’s absurd. Obviously I had no intention of benefiting from it when I signed it into law in 2008 because I had no idea I would be involved in a documentary series years later. If you’re going to accuse me of benefiting from legislation I signed into law, why stop there? One could accuse me of ‘benefiting’ from my administration’s oil and gas evaluation legislation (ACES) in the sense that due to that legislation the state where I live (Alaska) now enjoys a $12 billion surplus. In fact, you could say that as an Alaskan, I benefited from all of the legislation I signed as governor – just as every Alaskan benefited.”

On accusations that Palin is being inconsistent in her views on the role of government and the economy:

“It’s also a false accusation to suggest that signing this bipartisan bill somehow goes against my position on the proper role of government. I’ve said many times that government can play an appropriate role in incentivizing business, creating infrastructure, and leveling the playing field to foster competition so the market picks winners and losers, instead of bureaucrats burdening businesses and picking winners and losers. Again, I can’t speak for what other states do, but Alaska’s film production tax credit program is an effective way to incentivize a new industry that would diversify our economy. It worked. The lawmakers’ successful legislation fit Alaska’s economy, as our economy is quite unique from other states’ due to our oil and gas revenue. Perhaps it would behoove people to learn much more about the 49th state’s young economy before making broad accusations about the efficacy of business programs.”

Read here.


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