27 October 2006


I asked a few days back for some issues-based coverage of this election, asking particularly if Sarah Palin's repeated claim that the state can balance its budget on $33/barrel an oil for the next five years is accurate.

Well, I got my answer:

Had she done the math, she would have learned that:

• Assuming the state budget stays flat from this year's level;

• Assuming the state picks up next year's retirement system increase, but nothing additional in the years ahead; and

• Assuming $33 per barrel oil -- her number, not ours;

• Then the state would empty its budget reserve fund in less than a year and a half. And that counts the higher oil revenues from the production tax overhaul approved by lawmakers in August.

Five years of cushion at $33 oil? That's a dream.

Unfortunately, it comes from a rather suspect source, the ADN's editorial page. While I don't doubt their numbers or their argument, given their previous anti-Palin diatribes I'm disappointed such an important conclusion (Palin's blowing smoke) couldn't have come from their news department.

Plus, they link it with their editorial on Don Young's campaign donations to some sketchy folks. I don't mind reporting in the editorial page but this seems to take it a little too far, as if the ADN is just looking for something - anything - they can throw against Don Young in the waning days of a campaign. The timing is odd, too: why didn't the ADN in some capacity report on this or editorialize on these donations when they happened, rather than when Don Young's Democratic opponent and the Democratic party start making political hay of the matter?

The ADN took a great opportunity to criticize Sarah Palin and Don Young and made themselves look like partisan hacks. At least I got an answer.

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