ThinkProgress is wrong: Palin did not reduce funding to Special Olympics

ThinkProgress has produced another inaccurate and misleading claim about Sarah Palin’s actions as Governor of Alaska.

They claim that she cut funds to Special Olympics in an obvious bid to paint her as a hypocrite given that she has a Down Syndrome son and she asserts that she will be an advocate for families with special needs kids.

Here is the 2007 budget with the Special Olympics line item:

AK Spec Olympic 2007

The program was alloted received $250,000 in FY 2007.

Here is the 2008 budget with the Special Olympics line item:

AK Spec Olympics 2008

The program received $275,000 for a 10% increase.

This type of attack is getting old. Palin opponents are going through these budgets looking for reductions in legislative allocations and then calling Palin’s program management “a cut in funding.” In fact, under Palin, Special Olympics received a 10% increase in funding.

ThinkProgress says that the Special Olympics operating budget was cut in half. Given what the 2007 budget says, I believe that claim to be incorrect. It appears that the projects funded “facility upgrades” in 2007 and “travel and event related costs and property acquisition” which were designed to supplement the Special Olympics. I went back to 2005′s budget and the Special Olympics only received $125,000 in that year. A review of Special Olympics 990 form shows that they received just over 1.8 million in revenues in 2006 and so this allocation from the state of Alaska did not slash their operating budget.

UPDATE: 9/18/08 – ThinkProgress made a bit of a clarification but didn’t really correct their misleading post with this:

It’s a stretch to say she “pushed” for any policy improvements. Though Palin did sign a law increasing special education funding in Alaska, “she had no role whatsoever” in its development, according to the bill’s author, Rep. Mike Hawker (R). Moreover, as governor, Palin vetoed $275,000 in Special Olympics Alaska funds (Page 100, SB 221 with vetoes), slashing the organization’s operating budget in half.

Update: To clarify, the documents show that Gov. Palin proposed cutting the Special Olympics budget in half. The actual budget as passed slightly increased Special Olympics funding, though by only half of what the organization had requested.

No, Gov. Palin did not propose cutting the Special Olympics budget in half. She reduced a proposed 120% increase to a 10% increase.

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  • http://thedevilanddanvojir.blogspot.com Daniel F. Vojir

    Prof. Throckmorton:

    Yes, I confess that I used some material from ThinkProgress for my post. Thank you for requesting the source. I will also try hold ThinkProgess accountable in relations to the Special Olympics funding.

    One of the problems I have with Sarah Palin, however, is that she has not answered satisfactorily many of the accusations that are prevalent in blogs like ThinkProgress. The fact that the McCain campaign has kept her from the mainstream press from the beginning requires skepticism from the entire nation.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I consider Sarah Palin a politician first and foremost. To me, all politicians are guilty until proven innocent.

    In addition, I didn’t like her tone concerning “community organizers”. I come from Chicago: a community organizer for the South Side of Chicago (not including Hyde Park) is subject to problems the Governor of Alaska has never seen: the South and West sides of Chicago are amongst the worst inner-city ghettos of the country. To my knowledge, Palin has never even seen an inner city.

    One comparison that never seems to make the headlines, but I think should be addressed is the matter of foreign relations. Under our Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler aka The Diplomatic Dimwit, the efforts of American diplomats over the past fifty years have been erased. Foreign countries either fear us or laugh at us. Now look at the duos: Obama-Biden or McCain- Palin. Which would you chose to represent you? We got into a disastrous war because our President didn’t know a thing about the country he wanted to invade. In fact, every time he steps off of Air Force One, you know from the look on his face that he doesn’t even know where the hell he is! (And an intense, twenty-minute briefing en route never seems to help either).

    Look at the duos again: Obama has a good working knowledge of different cultures and Biden has unimpeachable knowledge of foreign affairs. McCain is too hard line to consider any avenues of diplomacy with foreign aggressors and Palin’s personal and professional life has been spent absolutely oblivious to events/cultures outside of Alaska (“I heard in the news about it…”). We need leaders to be exceptional diplomats, not dimwits who, when they put their (our) best foot forward, it lands in cow patties in Crawford, Texas. We need diplomats and we need them NOW!

    Again, thanks for reading and commenting on my blog.

    DanV

  • dean

    Biden’s knowledge of foreign affairs and how he employs that knowledge are 2 entirely different things. He can’t keep his foot out of his mouth long enough to engage in the diplomatic process.

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