Yesterday, Governor Sarah Palin's administration released preliminary plans for a combination of investments and spending for the upcoming fiscal year's projected surplus of $4.6 billion. The biggest slice would go into a $2.5 billion insertion of funds into the education sector. But the section that immediately caught my eye was the $250 million proposed for:
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY FUND
For projects recommended by a strategic energy plan, which could include hydroelectric, wind, geothermal, biomass and tidal power.
I can remember the last slim Alaska state budget, that for FY 1979, before the Prudhoe Bay revenues started pouring in. I think it had just over $50 million for all capital projects. $250 million now is about the same as $50 million then was. A quarter of a billion dollars devoted to this subject is a phenomenal bridge to our state's future if spent and applied wisely.
Also of interest to me is that the very conservative, but slightly pragmatic GOP state Representative Bob Lynn "was the only member of the state House to come hear Palin's announcement. He sat at a desk near the front of the class and afterward said he was impressed by what he heard from Palin." It looks like Lynn is positioning himself for a bigger leadership post in the upcoming shakeup of legislative leadership.
Also, it looks like Gov. Palin forgot to set aside the $50 million or so Conoco-Phillips appears to be getting ready to force the state to spend to keep the state from controlling development of our natural gas resources on the North Slope. I don't think these guys can handle this uppity woman.
photo - Gov. Palin with the President of Iceland, H.E. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson