Categorized | Commentary/Editorial

Governor Palin–Leading the Fight on Debt and Liabilities

This week has yielded several rather disappointing pieces of news when it comes to America’s long term fiscal health.  A disappointing debt ceiling compromise was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President earlier this week.  As Governor Palin put it on Hannity earlier this week, “ [w]hat they have just done to this country, Sean, is hand the most liberal president we’ll probably ever see in our lifetime an opportunity to spend even more money that we don’t have. To create more debt thinking that’s going to get us out of debt?” The debt ceiling deal was “supposed “ to quash economic fears and provide stability, but it has done nothing of the sort. Yesterday, the Dow fell 513 points yesterday. Tonight, a report was just released stating that Standard and Poor’s is going to downgrade America’s credit rating. News also came out today that the deficit for this fiscal year has surpassed $1 trillion with two months still to go.  With all of this sobering financial news and with an election horizon, would it not  behoove the American people to elect an executive who is willing to make tough choices with the budget and address the debt and liabilities that America holds?

Governor Palin was a frugal budgeter as the Governor of Alaska. During her tenure, she cut spending 9.5% while also vetoing nearly half a billion dollars in spending. She did this during strong economic times.  It should be noted that in addition to the traditional budget and capital budget that states are responsible for implementing, state governors are also responsible for managing their state debts and liabilities. These are often tied to bonds (both state and municipal) and state worker pensions and the like. Stacy has addressed this before, but  Pennsylvanians4Palin has a great post  that expands upon this topic by comparing and contrasting the records of Governors Palin, Perry, Pawlenty, Romney, and Huntsman in dealing with state debt and liabilities. Compared to all other candidates and potential candidates, Governor Palin increased the debt at a much slower rate and reduced total liabilities at a much higher rate than any of her fellow governors. Pennsylvanians4Palin shares:

Of the five governorships examined, Alaska under Palin saw the smallest increase in total debt outstanding (12.7% cumulatively, 4.2% per year). Texas under Perry performed worst, with total debt increasing 20.5% annually, almost tripling during his term (a cumulative increase of 184.2%).

On a per capita basis, only Utah under Huntsman performed slightly better than Alaska under Palin. Utah experienced a cumulative increase of 6.8%, versus 7.4% for Alaska (1.4% per year for Utah, versus 2.5% per year for Alaska). Again, Texas under Perry ranks last, with an astonishing cumulative increase in debt per capita of 140.4% (15.6% on an annual basis).

Cumulative Change in Debt Outstanding During Governorship

Average Annual Change in Debt Outstanding During Governorship

Total Liabilities

Alaska under Palin was the only state to see a reduction in total liabilities (34.6% overall, 11.5% per year), due in large part to the Governor’s insistence that the State’s surplus be used to pay down unfunded pension obligations and forward-fund education. All other states experienced cumulative increases in total liabilities, ranging from 19.5% for Massachusetts under Romney to 60.6% for Texas under Perry. On an annualized basis, other states showed increases ranging from 4.9% for Massachusetts under Romney to 8.2% for Utah under Huntsman.

Under Palin, Alaska’s total liabilities per capita fell 37.7% (12.6% per year). All other states experienced cumulative increases, ranging between 18.7% (Massachusetts) and 34.3% (Minnesota), and annual increases, averaging between 4.0% (Texas) and 4.9% (Minnesota and Utah).


During the fiscal years for which Sarah Palin exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Alaska (FY08 through FY10)

•   Debt outstanding increased 12.7%, or 4.2% per year

•   Per capita debt outstanding increased 7.4%, or 2.5% per year

•   Total liabilities decreased 34.6%, or 11.5% per year

•   Total liabilities per capita decreased 37.7%, or 12.6% per year

During the fiscal years for which Jon Huntsman exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Utah (FY06 through FY10)

•   Debt outstanding increased 21.0%, or 4.2% per year

•   Per capita debt outstanding increased 6.8%, or 1.4% per year

•   Total liabilities increased 41.1%, or 8.2% per year

•   Total liabilities per capita increased 24.5%, or 4.9% per year

During the fiscal years for which Tim Pawlenty exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Minnesota (FY04 through FY10)

•   Debt outstanding increased 66.0%, or 9.4% per year

•   Per capita debt outstanding increased 58.5%, or 8.4% per year

•   Total liabilities increased 40.7%, or 5.8% per year

•   Total liabilities per capita increased 34.3%, or 4.9% per year

During the fiscal years for which Mitt Romney exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Massachusetts (FY04 through FY07)

•   Debt outstanding increased 44.3%, or 11.1% per year

•   Per capita debt outstanding increased 43.3%, or 10.8% per year

•   Total liabilities increased 19.5%, or 4.9% per year

•   Total liabilities per capita increased 18.7%, or 4.7% per year

During the fiscal years for which Rick Perry exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Texas (FY02 through FY10)

•   Debt outstanding increased 184.2%, or 20.5% per year

•   Per capita debt outstanding increased 140.4%, or 15.6% per year

•   Total liabilities increased 60.6%, or 6.7% per year

•   Total liabilities per capita increased 35.8%, or 4.0% per year


Please read the whole post (which includes more tables and graphs) from Pennsylvanians4Palin here.

As  Pennsylvanians4Palin mentioned in their post, Governor Palin reduced Alaska’s liabilities in part by addressing their pension system. Governor Palin wrote in a Facebook post in December of 2010:

My home state made the switch from defined benefits to a defined contribution system, and as governor, I introduced a number of measures to build on that successful transition, while also addressing the issue of the remaining funding shortfall by prioritizing budgets to wrap our financial arms around this too-long ignored debt problem. When my state ran a surplus because we incentivized businesses, I didn’t spend it on fun and glamorous pet projects for lawmakers – though that would have made me quite popular with the earmark crowd. In fact, I vetoed more excessive spending than any governor in our state’s history, and I used the state’s surplus to bring our financial house in order by paying down our unfunded pension plans that some other governors wanted to ignore. This fiscal prudence didn’t make me popular with the state legislature. In addition to vetoing hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending, I put billions of dollars into savings accounts for future rainy days, much like most American families do in responsibly planning for the future. I also enacted a hiring freeze and brought the education budget under control through a commitment to forward-funding. I returned much of the surplus back to the people (it was their money to start with!) through tax relief and energy rebates. I had proven as the mayor of the fastest growing city in the state that tax cuts incentivize business growth, and though the state legislature overrode some of my veto cuts and thwarted an additional tax relief request of mine, the public was supportive of efforts to rein in its government.

It’s one thing to veto spending and reduce the size of government when your state is broke. I did it when my state was flush with revenue from a surplus – though I had to fight politicians who wanted to spend like there was no tomorrow. It’s not easy to tell people no and make them act fiscally responsible and cut spending when the money is rolling in and your state is only 50 years shy of being a territory and everyone is yelling at you to spend while the money is there to build. My point is, if I could fight this fight in Alaska at a time of surplus, then other governors can and should be able to do the same at a time when their states are facing bankruptcy and postponing this fight is no longer an option.

Governor Palin had courage enough to take on pension reform and reduce spending when times were good. Now, with the economy circling the drain, America is in need of a leader who is willing to do the same…again. That is why she has spoken of the need to reform entitlements. That is why she called out President Obama for his hypocrisy and inability to prioritize spending during the debt ceiling debate. That is why she criticized Governor Romney for weighing in on the debt ceiling only after a deal had been reached. Now is not the time for hypocrisy, incompetent leadership, or retrospective armchair governing. Now is the time for a President who already has “womaned up” and led on a state level and is ready to do the same on a federal level.

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  • Whitney Pitcher

    Major props to Pennsylvanians4Palin for their superb analyses! 

    • PressingOn

      Absolutely.  Great job, Pennsylvanians4Palin!  Press On!

  • John Norton

    And while rome burns where is congress or the president…?

    • GrmaTX

      …on the golf course?

    • toughluck2

      Partying and charging 30,000 plus per person for admission

      • wodiej

        the man has no shame.

  • TexasRayGunner

    BREAKING NEWS:  S&P Downgrades US Credit Rating to AA-Plus – – –

    • Guest

      The perfidy of the Beltway Elites knows no limits

    • Eagles8

      Obama will place the blame squarely where he thinks it belongs: everybody else.

      • David Zimmerman

        Eagles…..that is truly rich!

    • SooDohNim

      If only there was someone out there that could, with one major announcement, halt the downward slide of the psyche of this country; restore hope in American greatness; and unambiguously put those bent on destruction on notice that their plans are futile and will no longer be tolerated.  One whose shout of "we are Americans!" would inspire all; the older to remember what was, and the younger to learn and appreciate, and carry forward that which has, and will in the future make America a beacon of freedom and liberty.

      If only there was someone like that.

      Oh, wait…

      • bradkarr

        YEP!!!   SHE’S THE ONE!!!!

      • mistah charley

        the thing is, no one is giving gary johnson any attention – they ignore him completely – his nickname is "who the h*ll is gary johnson" – if his message could reach the country, it might really be inspiring – but the reporters won’t even come to his press conferences

        if only there was someone with a similar message who is already known, and has no problem getting media attention – that would be great, don’t you think?

  • Guest

    And this is the woman that the GOP insiders are rejecting! She can help restore us to fiscal sanity.

    • mistah charley

      Matthew 21:42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

      • Guest

        Yes. I thought of that, too. WTG, mistah charley!

  • Sue Lynn

    "It’s a matter of public record I did not go to Harvard but I can add" Sarah Palin.

  • Dan C

    Amazing how HotAir touts Perrys record when he jacked up the debt HUGE! Palin reduced liabilities and he raised them!!!!

  • Reloading

    Whitney Pitcher’s stats need to be available on this site in printable form.  It should also and probably more inportantly be in a pdf format so it can be criculated via internet.  It is apparent that alot of work has gone into this with the graphs and all.   This info should not be just for the choir.  This is the type of information we need to "drive a stake in the heart caribou Barbee".

    A Hobbit RELOADING

  • RedDaveR

    After the events of this week, it’s becoming clearer that this is her time. All it requires is that enough people discover the truth about her record.      Palin 2012!

  • RichardNC

    I just retweeted this article.

    Heh! Actually I retweeted Governor Palin retweeting this article.

    Game on!

    Way to go Whitney!!

  • SooDohNim

    Congratulations on the big re-tweet!

  • Carol Carr

    Way to go Whitney! You and Steelbo77 are awesome!

    Palin 2012!

  • Palinpower

    Congrats on the re-tweet by Sarah Palin. She checks the site, although I saw that she re-tweeted @TammyBruce’s re-tweet of this article. Sarah follows Tammy on twitter.

  • elkonv

    Great job Whitney—Sarah loves it.

  • Nicole Olmstead Coulter

    Makes me proud to live in Pennsylvania … Way to go Steebo!

    And awesome job Whitney, of bringing it all together, with your own suberb research and links!

  • M_Baker

    Blaming this on one party or one President is not looking at all the factors of how our debt accumulated.  Our debt is the responsibility of both parties and every president since Reagan by spending more than we took in from revenues.  If you look back at what presidency created the highest debt as compared to GNP, its Reagan.  Reagan also first lowered taxes, but after he saw the consequence to our debt, he raised taxes.  You can selectively look in our past at what you want to see, but doing so doesn’t allow a true and accurate look at the history of our deficit spending and the resulting debt. 

    BTW, I don’t think I’ve ever heard what she would do to bring down our debt. If anyone knows please let me know. Thanks

    • Whitney Pitcher

      Neither I nor the folks at Pennsylvania4Palin blamed a certain party, but Pres. Obama adding more to the debt in a half a term than Washington through Reagan combined doesn’t help our credit rating nor our fiscal health. Also, both parties are at fault for not cutting spending enough with this debt deal. Cut, Cap, and Balance would have likely prevented downgrade. The House GOP passed that, but the Senate did not. Big spending is a bipartisan problem; you’re right. 

      What this post focused on is the solution to the problem though, and the best person to solve the problem is the one who has done the most to solve similar issues on a state level–Governor Palin. 

      • M_Baker

        You should go back and look up the facts on how much Obama has raised the debt.  Your comment about debt from Wahington to Reagan is a falsehood spead mostly by Michele Bachmann.  Even her past campaign manager tried to get her to stop speading that falsehood and never could.  Our drop in credit rating, like I said, is not the fault of anyone president or party.  It’s from both parties and every president from Reagan to Obama.

        And to be perfectly honest, the State of Alaska has advantages that no other state has that was not mentioned in the article.  They don’t need to tax income or real estate because of the money they receive from big oil.  Alaska also receives the most Federal subsidies than any other state, although that has been cut down recently, as it should have.  With those two revenue steams they can run their state and still have money left over.  With the money left over they dispurse to the citizens and still have enough left to created a giant savings account in the billions.  What other state has that type of revenue coming in?

        • juju341

           THE USA….and the Pres. and congress keep spending it….Palin didn’t do that…she cut spending.

        • Whitney Pitcher

          It should also be noted that Gov. Palin reduced federal earmark requests by more than 80% , so while historically Alaska has received a lot of federal money, she actually reduced this.

          • M_Baker

            Your correct, she did.  But Alaska was still the state getting the highest earmarks of any state, and they were the one state that needed earmarks the least.  Her reducing earmarks was done after the country learned about the earmarks and how much money they were getting from oil.

        • elkonv

          When you go against Whitney with facts you will lose–She is sharp.

          • M_Baker

            You can’t lose when YOUR using the facts.

      • wodiej

        Amen….well said.

    • juju341

      For one thing ….DRILL BABY DRILL. Also, she had a line item veto power which she used a lot. The Gov. of AK., by law, is the chief executive officer and she had more power and more responsibility then most Govs. and she used that wisely.

    • icenogle

      Are you kidding me? When Reagan cut taxes revenue came rolling in but the problem was that the Dems were spending money faster than it came in.Yes , Reagan increased taxes, but that was because the Democrats promised that they would cut spending, which was a big lie.He also wanted to get rid of some government agencies  and cut spending but was unable to because the Dems stopped him.Everytime the Republicans tried to reform entitlements they got the crap beat out of them by the Dems and media." The Republicans want to throw grandma out on the street and starve little children." That’s what the Dems and media would say.
              Bush 43 agreed to raise taxes to balance the budget because the Dems promised to cut spending, and the Dems. reneged again. This cost Bush the election because Perot entered the race and threw it to Clinton.It was the Republicans that balanced the budget under Clinton when they slowed down the rate of spending, even though the Dems called that a cut, and forced Clinton to sign welfare reform, which saved alot of money even though the Dems said it would lead to women and children being thrown out on the street. Remember when Clinton closed down the government? Well it wasn’t because the Republicans were spending too much money, but because he wanted to spend more. Unfortunately the Republicans got coopted by Washington and believed that the way to get reelected was to bring home the pork.

      • M_Baker

        Keep in mind, Congress can’t pass any spending bills with our the President signing on.  Even if the Democrats said they would cut spending, Reagan continued to sign their bills.  Reagan was also requesting and getting huge increases in spending for the military.  Concerning entitlements, look at the polls that were done recently and you’ll see people want their entitlements left alone.  I doubt that changed during the Reagan and Bush 43 administration. 

        What cost Bush 43 presidency was the statement "Read my lips, no new taxes."  People remembered that statement after he raised taxes and it played a large part of him not getting re-elected.  Bush also lost votes, like you said, from Perot.  Concerning Clinton, your again trying to give credit to just one party when it was both parties and the president who signed spending bills into law. 

    • wodiej

      Uhm….how many times has she said "stop spending and increase revenue?" If you don’t know how she plans to do that, then you haven’t been paying attention.  Increase oil drilling, decrease business taxes and regulations and that is just for starters.

      • M_Baker

        She’s currently in a confortable position where she can say what ever she wants.  The real question is how she’ll do it, and I’ve havn’t heard that yet from her.  Every president would like to cut spending, but once their in office they find it’s not all that easy because they also have to deal with Congress.  As we just saw, cutting spending in entitlements is difficult and the people don’t want their entitlements touched.  Recent polls made that very clear. Increasing oil drilling has very little to do with cutting spending. We do get some taxes from oil, but it won’t help our budget or cut spending.
        The argument used for increased oil drilling is that it’ll make us more oil independent. The problem with that idea is that no matter how much we drill, we can not produce enough oil to become oil dependent. Currently we get 60 to 65% of our oil from outside the U.S. We just don’t have enough oil deposits to make up for the 60 to 65%. Decreasing business taxes and regulations also decrease spending, but it actually cuts our revenue. We were told under Reagan economics, or "reganomics" we would increase our economy by deceasing taxes on business. We’re still under Reaganomics and we still have not seen what they said would happen. Onviously, lowering taxes on business does not increase business like they predicted. Regulations are needed, and from my business and professional background to decrease deaths and environmental disasters. Even with the current regulations, small business and especially privately owned business only follow the regulations when the regulators are looking. Look at some of the mining and environmental disasters that have occured recently, along with the violations they didn’t follow. Many lives continue to be lost due by companies not following even our current regulations. I’m personally not confortable with losing so many lives, and taking childrens fathers away simply because a company didn’t want to follow a safey regulation. Also look at the Gulf oil disaster, or any environmental disaster and you’ll always see their cause is because the company was not following regulations.

  • Whitney Pitcher

    Big congrats to PA4Palin on the Palin re-tweet! They did all the hard work and analyses! I just added a few words and stuck on C4P, TheSpeechATimeforChoosing, and my little blog. 

    Most importantly, the post was a bit of a call for Palin to run, and she re-tweeted it. Why would she do that if she wasn’t running? ;)

    • latinchic

      She clearly is getting ready to….open a coffee shop in Wasilla.

    • RebinTexas

      Yep – Whitney – right on……….though I have believed that for a long time. I am doing all I can to help spread this most important info…………and I don’t hesitate to tell people that Gov Palin will run – sure, I readily admit she has not whispered in my ear – but then I give them numerous examples of why I believe it……..not had one person refute me yet. As hard as it is for me – a simple man – to admit – I’ve also said….that Sarah is "the best man for the job"!!

  • Dan C

    Her record on jobs is superior and her record on debt is superior. Ignored by the greater conservative blogosphere. 

  • Ceejay

    Downgrade will be Joe Biden’s fault, Leave it to Joe, I think Obama right now is looking for someone to blame.

    Sarah 2012!

  • exodus2011

    It’s certainly significant that Gov Palin retweeted this article of Whitney’s featuring Steebo’s research.

    She wants the details of her record to get out there – she has said that the Electorate should be able to compare and contrast the governing records of the GOP Candidates, and this article is right in that wheelhouse ….. There is very little chance that the LSM journalists would bother to do the work that Steebo and Whitney have done …… the NEW media journalists are leading the way

    (MB cannot be compared at this level – she has zero CEO experience ….. sorry MB)


    • Carol Carr

       Excellent post!!!

      Game on Sarah!!!

      Palin 2012!

  • Carol Carr

    Now is the time for a President who already has “womaned up” and led on a state level and is ready to do the same on a federal level.


    Palin 2012!

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