Asset Divestiture, Alaska-Style

The New York Times writes last August on Gov. Palin’s sale of former Gov. Murkowski’s jet on eBay:

It grounded one governor and did not exactly fly off the shelf on eBay, but the jet that came to symbolize the troubles of the former Alaska governor Frank H. Murkowski has landed with a new owner. A businessman from Valdez, Alaska, Larry Reynolds, paid $2.1 million this week for the state-owned Westwind II jet that Mr. Murkowski’s successor, Gov. Sarah S. Palin, promised to purge from the state inventory when she ran against Mr. Murkowski last fall in the Republican primary. Mr. Murkowski’s office tried to obtain money from the Homeland Security Department to buy the jet, saying it would help “defend, deter or defeat opposition forces.” He was denied. Later, in 2005, against the wishes of the Legislature, Mr. Murkowski used state money to buy it for $2.7 million. [. . .] Ms. Palin said in a statement: “If the Department of Public Safety decides at a future date that it needs another aircraft, we will invest in something more sensible that can land on Alaska’s rural airstrips. Any purchase, if deemed necessary, will go through the normal legislative budget process.”

While this represents just a drop in Alaska’s state government bucket, we should applaud sensible asset divestiture when we see it, whether federal, state, or local. See Reason/TSAugust’s policy brief on asset divestiture here, and more here. Reason’s Annual Privatization Report 2008 Reason’s Privatization Research and Commentary