At her speech before the Republican National Convention, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made this heartfelt-seeming claim, via CBS News online:
Palin: “To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.”
Sarah Palin might have changed her mind on this one recently. However, a comment here notes that Palin actually slashed funding for schools for special needs kids by 62 percent. Budgets: FY 2007 (pre-Palin), 2008, 2009 (all pdfs).
Analysis from Momocrats:
The facts here show Governor Palin cut funding for special needs kids dramatically.
In 2007, before Palin assumed her office of governor, the State of Alaska FY2007 Governorâ€™s Operating Budget for the Department of Education and Early Development Special Schools Component Budget Summary (this department provides services—not just school but services—for children with severe disabling conditions) includes approved and necessary budget increases to help special needs children. This budget was released in December, on the 15th to be precise, 2006.
In that budget, the budget actuals are (FY = Fiscal Year):
FY 2005 6945.30
FY 2007 Management Plan 7949.30
FY 2007 Governors 8265.30
Palin was elected governor in November of 2006, and assumed her position in January 2007.
When budget time rolled around in 2007, Sarah Palin—self professed advocate for special needs children, mother to a special needs child, aunt to a special needs child, and who promised in her acceptance speech last night that she was there for special needs children — slashed the budget. When she said she would be a “friend and advocate in the White House,” I guess she just meant in words, not with actual money for needed services.
Here’s what the State of Alaska FY2008 Governorâ€™s Operating Budget for the Department of Education and Early Development Special Schools Component Budget Summary shows:
FY 2006 7949.30
FY 2007 Management Plan 3173.70
FY 2008 Governor 3156.00
You see right. Under Governor Palin, funds decreased from a planned budget of 8265.30 to 3156.0. That’s a 62 percent decrease. Actual consumed amount went from 7949.3 to 3156.00, where it lingers to this day. That’s a 60 percent decrease.
Update: There are several different versions of how these budgets were cut. Most reports say the cuts were less than 60 percent, but some of these have been criticized for not accounting for inflation, etc. A few sources say Palin increased the budget. As soon as one of the campaigns releases official numbers, we’ll post them here.