Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/28/1993 01:30 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                        January 28, 1993                                       
                            1:30 P.M.                                          
  TAPE HFC 93-12, Side 2, #000 - end.                                          
  TAPE HFC 93-13, Side 1, #000 - end.                                          
  TAPE HFC 93-13, Side 2, #000 - #165.                                         
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
  Co-Chair Ron Larson called the meeting of  the House Finance                 
  Committee to order at 1:30 P.M.                                              
  Co-Chair Larson                    Representative Brown                      
  Co-Chair MacLean                   Representative Foster                     
  Vice-Chair Hanley                  Representative                            
  Representative Martin              Representative Therriault                 
  Representative Navarre             Representative Parnell                    
  Representative Hoffman was not present for the meeting.                      
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
  Frank Turpin, Commissioner, Department of Transportation and                 
  Public Facilities; Ron Lind,  Director, Plans, Programs  and                 
  Budget, Department of  Transportation and Public Facilities;                 
  Keith   Gerken,   Deputy    Commissioner,   Department    of                 
  Transportation and  Public Facilities; Keith  Gerken, Deputy                 
  Commissioner,  Department  of   Transportation  and   Public                 
  Facilities; Randy Simmons,  Deputy Commissioner,  Department                 
  of  Transportation and  Public  Facilities; Charles  Mahlen,                 
  Commissioner,  Department of  Labor;  David Teal,  Director,                 
  Division of  Administrative Services,  Department of  Labor;                 
  Donald  Study,  Director,  Division  of  Labor  Standards  &                 
  Safety,   Department  of   Labor;  Arbe   Williams,  Special                 
  Assistant to the Commissioner, Department of Labor.                          
  SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                          
  HB 55     FY 94 OPERATING BUDGET & LOAN PROGRAMS                             
  HB 56     APPROP: FORMULA/MANDATED PROGRAMS; LEASES                          
            OVERVIEWS:     Transportation & Public Facilities                  
  HB  55 FY 94 OPERATING BUDGET & LOAN PROGRAMS                                
  PUBLIC  FACILITIES (DOTPF),  provided the  Committee with  a                 
  handout   summarizing   the  Department's   FY   94  budget.                 
  [Attachment #1 - on file].                                                   
  Co-Chair Larson noted  that DOTPF  asked for $130.7  million                 
  dollars for the FY 93 authorized budget.  The FY  94 request                 
  reflects   a  reduction  of   $2.65  million  dollars  less.                 
  Commissioner  Turpin pointed out that  the total drop in the                 
  projected  budget  incorporates  a  change  with  the Alaska                 
  Marine Highway System.                                                       
  Commissioner Turpin provided  statistics from  the past  ten                 
  years  illustrating financing  for DOTPF.    Funding sources                 
  which  support  DOTPF  are:    General  fund  dollars,  AMHS                 
  revenues,  international  airports, highway  working capital                 
  dollars and mixed funding.   The majority of money  spent by                 
  the Department (56%) goes to capital improvements.                           
  He  added  that  most  of  the  general fund  monies  go  to                 
  maintenance  and  operations   of  highways,  airports   and                 
  buildings.  Any  cuts from DOTPF  must be taken from  either                 
  the  Alaska  Marine  Highways (AMHS)  or  maintenance,  even                 
  though both these Divisions are operating  on a thin budget.                 
  Commissioner  Turpin  noted there  was  a  large maintenance                 
  funding drop in 1987 from  which the Department is currently                 
  trying to  recover.  He emphasized that  the AMHS has seen a                 
  $1  million  dollar decrease  of funds  since  1987.   A $37                 
  million  dollar  increase  is necessary  to  reach  the 1983                 
  Representative Martin asked how many employees worked in the                 
  Department's administration.  Commissioner  Turpin explained                 
  there  are  thirty-one hundred  people  who work  for DOTPF.                 
  Representative  Martin   asked  for  an   employee  division                 
  Representative  Grussendorf questioned  the  effects of  the                 
  reduction  to  AMHS with  a  main  line ferry  currently  in                 
  repair.  Commissioner  Turpin replied that service  would be                 
  virtually unaffected although fares would be increased.                      
  Co-Chair Larson inquired if the Retirement Incentive Program                 
  (RIP) saved DOTPF money.  Commissioner Turpin responded that                 
  the RIP  Program forced  DOTPF to  loose a  lot of  valuable                 
  experience and there have been many hidden costs.  He stated                 
  that the number of people do not tell the full story.                        
  Representative Navarre  suggested more  funds be  shifted to                 
  the  maintenance and  operations component  of  the proposed                 
  budget.   Commissioner Turpin replied  that the cut  to that                 
  component was distributed statewide.                                         
  Representative Navarre asked what comprised the reduction to                 
  maintenance  and operations.   Commissioner Turpin  stated a                 
  secretarial  and   procurement  clerk   position  would   be                 
  eliminated in  Anchorage.  Representative  Navarre requested                 
  an additional grater  operator for the Kenai area  and asked                 
  if there were any proposed reductions to the rural airports.                 
  Commissioner Turpin replied that the rural airport component                 
  and increased landing fees were left untouched this year.                    
  Representative Grussendorf noted  that there is $61  million                 
  dollars of Intermodal Surface Transportation Enhancement Act                 
  (ISTEA) funds.  He asked if those funds would be distributed                 
  to  the  organized  boroughs through  DOTPF.    Commissioner                 
  Turpin clarified  that  there  will  be  no  change  in  the                 
  legislative approval  of the  DOTPF capital  budget.   Local                 
  projects  and roads  will  be paid  with  federal funds  and                 
  planned  by  local  committees  with   assistance  from  the                 
  Representative  Therriault asked  if the  supplemental would                 
  include  the Dalton  Highway.   Commissioner  Turpin replied                 
  that  the Dalton  Highway problem  has presented  continuous                 
  difficulties including contraction of services due to record                 
  snowfalls.   There is  currently a  request of $1.2  million                 
  dollars  supplemental  funds.   In  order to  guarantee that                 
  further supplementals will not be necessary, DOTPF submitted                 
  a   request  for   $1.8  million   additional  dollars   for                 
  maintenance money for the Dalton Highway in the FY 94 budget                 
  package.   Representative Therriault asked if  those figures                 
  were reflected in the proposed  budget.  Commissioner Turpin                 
  stated they were not.                                                        
  Representative Navarre questioned the need of the additional                 
  allocation requested for  the Dalton Highway for  next year.                 
  Commissioner Turpin pointed out there will be  a newly added                 
  one  hundred-fifteen mile  extension of  highway which  will                 
  require additional upkeep and maintenance.                                   
  Representative Therriault  questioned mail box damage in his                 
  district by  snow  removal equipment.   Commissioner  Turpin                 
  explained that maintenance control is a regional problem and                 
  is dealt with on a regional level by the Department.                         
  Co-Chair  Larson noted that the Department of Transportation                 
  and  Public  Facilities  Subcommittee  would be  Chaired  by                 
  Representative Foster with  members Representative  Sanders,                 
  Representative     Williams,    Representative     Phillips,                 
  Representative Mulder, Representative Menard, Representative                 
  Mackie and Representative Navarre.                                           
  (Tape Change, HFC 93 - 13, Side 1).                                          
  DEPARTMENT OF LABOR                                                          
  the Committee with a handout summarizing the Department's FY                 
  94 budget  request.  [Attachment  #2 - on  file].  He  noted                 
  that  the  Department  of Labor  was  submitting  a proposed                 
  budget reduced by $600 thousand dollars.                                     
  Co-Chair MacLean  commented that  over the  past two  years,                 
  general funds  for the Department of Labor have been reduced                 
  by 15.6%.  Representative Grussendorf asked if that included                 
  transfer of responsibilities to other departments.                           
  Commissioner Mahlen  reviewed Attachment #1  and noted  that                 
  the Department  of Labor's  operating budget  is .5% of  the                 
  State's  entire  operating  budget.     He  added  that  the                 
  Department of Labor's mission established in Title  23 is to                 
  foster and promote  the welfare of  the wage earners in  the                 
  State,  improve their working  conditions and  advance their                 
  opportunities for profitable employment.                                     
  The Department is composed of  the Commissioner's Office and                 
  four divisions:                                                              
       *    Administrative Services Division - 14% percent  of                 
            FY 94  general  fund operating  budget request  of                 
       *    Worker's Compensation Division - 11% percent of FY                 
            94  general fund  operating budget request  of the                 
       *    Labor Standards &  Safety Division - 11% of the FY                 
            94 general  fund operating  budget request  of the                 
       *    Employment  Security Division - 63% percent of the                 
  FY        94 general fund  operating budget  request of  the                 
  The Employment Security Division budget is comprised of four                 
       *    Employment/Unemployment Services                                   
       *    Alaska Work Programs (JOBS)                                        
       *    Governor's Committee on Employment  of People with                 
       *    State Training & Employment Program                                
  These funds  originate from general funds  ($243.3), federal                 
  funds  ($29,405.9), other funds ($6,562.1) and the remainder                 
  of the Department.                                                           
  The  Administrative Services Division  is comprised of three                 
       *    Management Services                                                
       *    Labor Market Information                                           
       *    Data Processing                                                    
  The Office of the Commissioner is comprised of two sections:                 
       *    Office of  the Commissioner  - The  Commissioner's                 
            Office is  the policy  arm of  the department  and                 
            focuses   operations   on  the   purpose   of  the                 
            department which  is  to foster  and  promote  the                 
            health,  safety,   and  economic  well   being  of                 
            Alaska's workers.                                                  
       *    Alaska  Labor  Relations  Agency  -  The  Agency's                 
            principal  role  is  to  referee disputes  between                 
            organized  labor   and  public  employers.     The                 
            agency's   methods   can   be  informal,   through                 
            conciliation,  or  formal,  through  quasijudicial                 
            administrative hearings.                                           
  The Worker's  Compensation  Division  is  comprised  of  two                 
       *    Workers' Compensation                                              
       *    Fishermen's Fund program provides  assistance with                 
  the       costs for  treatment and  care of  Alaska licensed                 
            commercial fishermen who are injured or become ill                 
            due to commercial fishing activities in Alaska.                    
  The Labor Standards and Safety Division is comprised of four                 
       *    Wage & Hour                                                        
       *    Mechanical Inspection                                              
       *    Occupational Safety & Health                                       
       *    Alaska Safety Advisory Council                                     
  Co-Chair Larson asked if there were State requirements which                 
  exceed the federal requirements for Occupational Safety  and                 
  Health  Programs.    Commissioner  Mahlen  stated no.    All                 
  requirements have  been made  to the  specifications of  the                 
  federal requirements.                                                        
  Representative  Grussendorf  commented  on the  position  of                 
  electrical examiners  who are caught between  the Department                 
  of  Commerce   and  Economic  Development   (DCED)  and  the                 
  Department  of Labor.   Their position  is tenuous  as their                 
  grace period is about to expire.                                             
  DEPARTMENT  OF  LABOR,  advised  that  there is  legislation                 
  drafted to establish  a certificate  for the electrical  and                 
  mechanical  administrators.    The legislation  proposes  to                 
  establish a certificate  under the Department's  certificate                 
  of fitness program.   She  added, that there  is a  question                 
  wheather the public  wants the  protection granted with  the                 
  certificate.  Commissioner  Mahlen added  that the board  is                 
  questioning if there should be a sunset clause added.                        
  Representative Brown questioned the effect on workers safety                 
  given the reductions to the  Division of Occupational Safety                 
  and  the Division  of Wage  and  Hour.   Commissioner Mahlen                 
  replied that the  reductions would  affect the  Department's                 
  program but pointed  out that those divisions  were the only                 
  place where general funds could be reduced.                                  
  (Tape Change HFC 93 - 13, Side 2).                                           
  Representative Grussendorf asked if the  bottom line for the                 
  Department  is  public safety.   Commissioner  Mahlen agreed                 
  that public  safety is  important to the  Department, but  a                 
  reduction   was   necessary.     Representative  Grussendorf                 
  reiterated his concern with decreasing public safety.                        
  DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF  LABOR, pointed out that  within the                 
  Occupational Safety &  Health Unit, the Department  is bound                 
  in  a  federal/state agreement  for  the funds  and matching                 
  funds.  If  any matching fund  positions are cut, the  State                 
  would lose federal funds.   Representative Grussendorf asked                 
  if the  captured funds  would contribute  to public  safety.                 
  Mr. Study stated that the funds are public safety related.                   
  Co-Chair Larson inquired  about the  report prepared by  the                 
  Department regarding resident hire.                                          
  DEPARTMENT  OF  LABOR, noted  that  last year  there  was an                 
  appropriation  of  $50  thousand  dollars  to   finance  the                 
  preparation of a  resident hire  report.  The  FY 94  budget                 
  transfers that source of  funding to the STEP program.   Co-                 
  Chair  Larson asked  if the  report would be  completed this                 
  year.   Mr. Teal stated that  the report is due  thirty days                 
  after  the  Legislature convenes  and  he would  examine the                 
  status of the report.                                                        
  Co-Chair Larson requested  more information  on EO 85  which                 
  transferred  the fish  processor  bonding program  from  the                 
  Department   of  Labor   to  the   Department  of   Revenue.                 
  Commissioner Mahlen  stated that  the bonding  issue had  no                 
  significant  ties  with  DOL,  and  because it  was  revenue                 
  collection, it should  be transferred  to the Department  of                 
  Co-Chair  Larson   noted  that  the   Department  of   Labor                 
  subcommittee would be Chaired  by Representative MacLean and                 
  members   Representative   Hudson,   Representative   Vezey,                 
  Representative Sitton and Representative Finkelstein.                        
  The meeting adjourned at 3:05 P.M.                                           

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