Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.
After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she opposed. Inking her initials on the legislation -- "SP" -- Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million. Covenant House is a mix of programs and shelters for troubled youths, including Passage House, which is a transitional home for teenage mothers.
As for why he should consider joining DailyKos instead, Kane didn't endeavor to find out why she did that. And, of course, there are many explanations.
One explanation is that Palin is a sociopath who wants teen moms to suffer. However, I believe that explanation can be discarded.
So, we have to search further, and notably, Kane didn't contact the campaign for an explanation. Perhaps she believes that private rather than state monies should be used? Perhaps, if that's the reason, her beliefs are correct; did Kane endeavor to find out whether that could be correct? Perhaps she thought it would discourage teen pregnancies? Perhaps she doesn't come with the set of assumptions Kane obviously has that there must be a state program for everything? Perhaps she has evidence that Covenant House misspends money? Perhaps there are other programs available? All those possibilities Kane does not even broach.
Please contact the WaPo's ombudsman: ombudsman *at* washpost.com
UPDATE: It's even worse than I suspected. According to their site (covenanthouseak.org/involved.htm), "Approximately 90% of our funding comes from the generous donations of friends like you". And, according to this state document (PDF link), they were only to get $155,000 in 2007. It's not clear whether that was their only source of state funding, and their executive director wasn't available.
UPDATE 2: The $3.9 million was part of a grant for a facilities expansion; see this PDF (you might need to change the extension to "PDF" after downloading).
And, Covenant House's IRS Form 990 (link) shows the funds that Paul Kane describes as "slashed" was over a threefold increase from the government funds they received from all sources in 2006 (FY2006 ending 12/31/06). In 2006, they received:
Program Services $0
Special Events $271,980
Total Revenue $3,213,650
Note that they also get money from the feds, including on the facilities expansion.
Please use the address above to send a message to the WaPo about their "reporting".
UPDATE 3: This post earlier said it was "almost a fourfold", but I changed it to "over a threefold" to be mathematically precise. Also, there's a round-up of those sites that simply followed the WaPo's lead without even considering they might be wrong here.
UPDATE 4: A comment (not the post) at corrects Matt Yglesias with this (yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2008/09/palin_and_special_needs_children.php#comment-629796):
If you bother looking at the documents, you can see that one program, the Alaska Challenge Youth Academy Program is included in the budget for 2007 but not in 2008. This accounts for nearly all of the discrepancy. You could also see, with a simple search, that the same program is still funded in 2008 (pdf), just on a separate program sheet (in fact, funding was increased, by the governor, by about 50%).
UPDATE 5: Even NPR - NPR! - corrected their pile-on of the story (link):
After Brian, one of our astute readers, questioned the veracity of this article, we did some additional digging. It turns out the Washington Post got this one wrong. We called the Covenant House Alaska and, according to Executive Director Deirdre Cronin, the program's operating budget was not in fact reduced. She writes in a press release: "Our $3.9 million appropriation is directed toward a multi-year capital project and it is our understanding that the state simply opted to phase in its support for this project over several years, rather than all at once in the current budget year." Thanks, Brian. We stand corrected.