Palin Cut Funding for Alaska’s Special Needs Children by 60 Percent

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 Governor’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 Governor’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.


  • hmm.
    September 5, 2008 - 9:04 pm | Permalink

    I think maybe its time someone made a “consolidated list of hipocracy” for the GOP ticket.

    Wait, that might take too long.

    A list of their consistencies might be more prudent.

    lie, cheat, steal, kill

    Thats all I could come up with.

  • yerass
    September 6, 2008 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    You f***ing liberals – did you ever stop to think that the funding was reduced because the population requiring those funds was reduced?
    Talk about lie cheat steal kill (that would be clinton clinton clinton and, oh yes, clinton)

  • maxtor
    September 6, 2008 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    state record shows there was no significant drop in special needs children during that time period at all. facts are easy to find.

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  • Sugar
    September 6, 2008 - 1:53 pm | Permalink

    well, since she cut funding for those special needs families and now she has a very severe special needs son herself, hopefully all families (including Sarah Palin’s family)will get help and the cuts will stop?

  • September 6, 2008 - 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this information. I’ve just posted it on my blog and it should definitely get out there. The hypocrisy of Palin is mind-blowing.

  • Cincinnati Kid
    September 6, 2008 - 3:52 pm | Permalink

    My mother is a Catholic and against abortion and also has a grandson, my nephew, who has down’s syndrome.

    Right now she is dazzled by Palin ad REFUSES to believe she cut spending for special needs kids….

    Well, we had a lengthy talk about stopping abortion and she finally agreed that in day and age, you cannot ONLY teach abstinace, because clearly, it does not work.

    In lieu of recent events in her family, maybe Palin will understand that if she REALLY wants to stop abortion, that she should take Obama’s approach on it and go to the source and make sure that some sex education is being taught in schools. You simply cannot rely on parents to provide the resources neede to stop unwanted pregancies.

    Back to my mother, she won’t be quite so dazzled when I send her this article !!

  • Palin
    September 6, 2008 - 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Well maybe it needed to be cut ?

    How do you know that she did not tighten the purse and now its at the real amount needed ?

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  • Gekkobear
    September 6, 2008 - 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, that’s not correct, and your facts are wrong; there was no cut.

    Surely I’ll have to have a firm, liberal, and trusted source for this after making that claim; so here it goes.

    Now maybe the dailykos guys are too conservative for you, but that seems unlikely. You’ve made an error in reading the budget, and seeing how some programs were split out in the later budgets from a single line.

    Maybe 11% increase over 2 years (as proven and sourced at Kos) isn’t enough; but it surely isn’t a “cut”.

  • Sue B.
    September 7, 2008 - 6:49 pm | Permalink

    ok guys, look at the above link and go through it carefully to see who, if either, is correct. Would like to hear.

  • Marvin
    September 7, 2008 - 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Palin significantly cut funding for special needs children. However, the latest bill passed very close to the time of her son’s birth and well after she knew she was going to be a special needs mom, did indeed set in motion to by 2011 basically restore funding to similar levels as before Palin. Corrected for inflation, it would be very close.

    So, she may now be an advocate, but she wasn’t before it became personal to her. Before that, special needs children seem to have been one more group to cut, someone else’s needs did not seem to impress her.

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  • Yankee Lady
    September 9, 2008 - 4:00 pm | Permalink

    I don’t support the woman, but I am concerned that information be fair and accurate. Momocrats has an update link on their page about this. The link takes you to an explanation of the budget breakdown by an Alaska official. There were 4 components to the program and each received a portion of the funds. In the last fiscal year mentioned – the one the shows the decreased level of funding. What the official explains is that one of the four components was given independent status. The lowered budget you show is the budget for those three components, which did not go down. When you then add in the once fourth component and now freestanding, the total amount of funds is actually higher. This is according to mommycrats.

  • Swifty
    September 10, 2008 - 3:53 am | Permalink

    I knew I always liked “MOMicans” more for good reason.

    You can yell and scream all you want – about how unfar it is to have a strong woman lead this nation before a liberal one does – after all, it wasnt Palin’s husband who signed the NAFTA “bill”…

    The McCain shark is coming – he wants government “pork” and he doesnt hear all the kicking and screaming.

    How ironic it is to see so called feminist, which my mother was the REAL deal, come out against working mothers…these type people are purely ….phony.

    Besides “Its tougher in Alaaska”

    The Nation

  • Susan
    October 24, 2008 - 7:07 pm | Permalink

    this was all false. No one checked facts. Here is the truth.

  • Bill
    October 25, 2008 - 5:50 pm | Permalink

    OK – I’ve read it all, even the links. No one seemed to go back to Wasilla, her home town and where she lived for many years and served as an executive. I found nothing on the web site, in schools or government or mayors goals and missions that even mentioned special needs – for children or adults. As a “long time supporter” it would seem there might even be special olympics in Wasilla. I find her public position pandering and her behavior shameless (11 PM and midnight photo ops with her son). There is no question that as she grows up with her son this will change and her appreciation for funding, services, and advocacy will become more poignant for her and the rest of us the the special needs community. I look forward to that day, as she will be a wonderful force. At the moment I believe she sincere in her intent…. but disengenuous in her historical reference and self puffery.

  • Real American
    October 26, 2008 - 1:10 am | Permalink

    From what I have read at fact Check (Not a Republican site) Palin actually increased funding for special needs Child’s by Historic levels!

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