Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin must pay back taxes on nearly $18,000 in expenses she charged the state for living in her Wasilla home instead of living in the governor’s mansion in Juneau, the state capital.

According to the Associated Press, Palin collected the money in per diem payments reimbursing expenses for more than 300 nights she slept in her home in Wasilla and commuted 40 miles to her Anchorage office instead of living and working in Juneau. Wasilla is located 600 miles away from Juneau, which is accessible only by airplane or ship.

A Palin spokesman said the governor will pay back the money.

This is a great precedent that should be followed here in Illinois. Our former governor, the recently impeached Rod Blagojevich, regularly wasted taxpayer dollars by living in Chicago instead of Springfield. When Blagojevich did business in the state capital, he used a taxpayer-funded, state-owned airplane to fly 200 miles from Chicago to Springfield, and then another 200 miles back to the Windy City – all because he refused to live in the governor’s mansion.

I propose that governors who choose to live away from the state capital pay all costs of transportation between their chosen homes and the taxpayer-funded mansions where they are supposed to reside. If they don’t want to abide by that rule, they shouldn’t run for governor.