Politics

Conservatives take on Palin for government-subsidized reality show, Palin calls criticism ‘ludicrous’

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Chris Moody
Contributor

The company that produced Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s TLC reality show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” received $1.2 million in state tax credits for filming in Alaska through a government program Palin signed into law as governor in 2008.

The Anchorage Daily News first reported the story in February, but after an analyst at the Tax Foundation posted a blurb on the group’s blog linking to the piece Tuesday, Palin faced a fresh heap of criticism from Washington conservative pundits who may have been a bit late to the fight, but were not shy to throw punches.

The state legislature passed the subsidy program in 2008 to encourage media companies to film their projects in Alaska and offers up to 30 percent of the money they spend in the state.

But in a political age where it’s controversial in many circles to defend public funding of National Public Radio, critics panned Palin for supporting a measure that forced taxpayers to foot the bill for a private media project after many statements from the former governor in support of a government that only plays a limited role in the economy.

“I’d bet, like many politicians, Palin’s views on the proper role of government becomes more flexible as it comes closer to her own interests,” wrote the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney on Tuesday.

Jim Geraghty of National Review said that the reality show’s subsidy was “ridiculous” and that the policy was “problematic for a crusader for small government to end up collecting a seven-figure paycheck from an endeavor that received a seven-figure subsidy,” while Peter Suderman of the libertarian Reason Magazine cracked: “In 2008, Sarah Palin, then the Governor of Alaska, signed a special tax credit for filmmakers into law. … Who’s benefiting from that tax subsidy now? … none other than Sarah Palin.”

Palin, however, stood by her decision to sign the bill into law in 2008, and the media company’s choice to take the tax credit.

In a statement to the Daily Caller, Palin called the criticism “ludicrous.”

“Any suggestion that I somehow did something wrong by signing this legislation is ludicrous. The accusation hinges on the notion that I signed the legislation into law knowing that it would personally benefit me. That’s absurd,” Palin said. “Obviously I had no intention of benefiting from it when I signed it into law in 2008 because I had no idea I would be involved in a documentary series years later.”

“If you’re going to accuse me of benefiting from legislation I signed into law, why stop there?” she added. “One could accuse me of ‘benefiting’ from my administration’s oil and gas evaluation legislation (ACES) in the sense that due to that legislation the state where I live (Alaska) now enjoys a $12 billion surplus. In fact, you could say that as an Alaskan, I benefited from all of the legislation I signed as governor – just as every Alaskan benefited.”

On the accusations that Palin’s participation in the television project conflicted with her free-market beliefs, Palin insisted that she has remained consistent.

“It’s also a false accusation to suggest that signing this bipartisan bill somehow goes against my position on the proper role of government,” she said. “I’ve said many times that government can play an appropriate role in incentivizing business, creating infrastructure, and leveling the playing field to foster competition so the market picks winners and losers, instead of bureaucrats burdening businesses and picking winners and losers.”