Lawmakers are now looking under the hood to see if the governor's budget mechanics are right.
"Once you dig into it, some of the concerns go away about the strings attached. That's overblown in my estimation," Senate Majority Leader Johnny Ellis, D-Anchorage, said.
"This issue here has a lot of moving parts that needed to be sorted out in a short timeframe," Sen. Burt Stedman, R-Ketchikan, said.
Weatherization is one of the moving parts that lawmakers are looking into. Rep. Mike Hawker took the Palin administration to task for its decision to leave $18 million in weatherization money on the table.
"We're a little concerned there that there has been a myth perpetrated on folks who are now using it," Hawker, R-Anchorage, said.
Hawker says the administration has given the impression that tapping these funds would require changes in building codes, which he says is not necessarily true.
One of the biggest slices of the uneaten pie is $170 million in education funds. Educators say a lot of this money could be used to develop training programs that will live on long after the money runs out.
And for special needs kids, it's worth it to get the money, even if it's only temporary.
"It's our most vulnerable kids that are going to be affected if we don't take this education money," said Babrbara Angaiak, president of the National Education Association Alaska, during a Senate Finance Committee hearing.
"It's a very important component in our budget this year. We're looking at losing 60 teaching positions and four nurses," said Jim Colver, president of the Mat-Su School Board.
Both the House and Senate will soon vote on resolutions asking Congress for the entire available stimulus funding.
"It's like making a reservation at a restaurant -- all it does is get you the table," legislative finance aide Larry Persily said. "You don't have to show up. If you show up you don't have to order any particular thing from the menu."
Lawmakers also know there are some things on the menu Palin could refuse to pay for.
"I want to make sure we're not spinning our wheels here, applying for funds the governor has no intention of accepting," Senate President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, said.
And that for lawmakers is the bottom line. Palin has not said what she would veto, nor is she necessarily opposed to accepting the money she left on the table.
Palin says she did this so the Legislature and the public will understand what's at stake before taking it.
Some areas of potential disagreement include $16 million in stimulus money to improve services for the unemployed. It would require the state to expand eligibility but would help the state to modernize its job centers and allow another 1,000 workers to receive benefits.
It would cost employers about $10 a year for each employee, or $2 million. Some lawmakers say it's worth the trade-off. Those against it say it requires permanent changes in state law.
Contact Rhonda McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org