17 January 2007

Sayin' Somethin'

So far, I've been fairly impressed by Governor Palin. She appears to be appointing people on the basis of competence, not politics. She's visited rural Alaska. She's undone some last-minute Murkowski damage.

But I still haven't heard much from her on what she wants to accomplish or what her term will look like. During the campaign, I was one of many people who noted that she wasn't really giving us any specifics and appeared to prefer speaking in broad platitudes rather than specifics that might - gasp! - be "used to divide Alaskans."

Her chance to change that is tonight in her State of the State address. My hope for tonight is that she realizes that she is now in a safe position and can feel free to tell us exactly what she wants to do. Of course, there are going to be some people who disagree with her, perhaps even a majority of people. But she's earned the political capital and now is the time to put it to work doing what she wants to.

In particular, I'd like to hear her ideas on community revenue-sharing (which communities get it? how much? is it per capita or is there a base amount?), restoring the longevity bonus (who gets it? how do we pay for it?), how to deal with PERS/TRS (how big is the hole?), fuel prices in rural Alaska, and so on. I'm also interested in where she's going to find the $150 million dollars she wants to cut from the operating budget. And what about the declining price of oil? What does that mean for the state?

What I don't want to hear is more platitudes about uniting Alaskans, going back to the constitution, and more of the same that I heard during the campaign.

Given the lovefest going on in Juneau right now, with all the lawmakers so happy that Frank is finally gone and willing to give anyone a chance, I'm pretty sure Sarah could walk in, repeat her platitudes, and they'd stomp and cheer just the same.

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