Some thoughts on Governor Palin's State of the State:
- Nothing unexpected in the sections on ethics and the natural gas pipeline, really. It was refreshing to hear her say that she'd share credit for an ethics bill and that it should apply to all branches of government.
- I thought the sections on the important rural Alaskan issues - substance abuse, violence, revenue-sharing, the longevity bonus, PERS/TRS, public safety, and so on - got little more than a pro forma passing mention. I know you can only fit so much in a speech but I would have listened for another ten minutes to hear more about these topics.
- I was surprised - and pleased - by how she highlighted the need to pass the education funding bill early in the session so school districts can plan better. I know a lot of districts will appreciate that. It's just an idea that makes sense. Now if only she can convince lawmakers to go along.
- One minor annoyance: the state wants to build a natural gas pipeline, not a "gasline." That word does not exist in any dictionary I've checked. And now it's going to be codified in Alaska law in the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act.
- One funny moment: I heard her say: "The primary focus of our long-term energy plan can be summed up in three words: the natural gas pipeline." That reminds me of Dan Quayle's (in)famous line, "There's one word that sums up the responsibility of the vice-president and that one word is: to be prepared." Sarah's not quite as bad but it's almost as funny.
- Finally, where's the $150 million she wants to cut going to come from? All I heard about was spending increases. $150 million in cuts has the potential to do a lot of damage. Let's start talking about it now.