Legislature(2011 - 2012)HOUSE FINANCE 519
04/15/2012 09:00 AM FINANCE
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CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 136(FIN) am "An Act providing a tax credit for employing a veteran that may be taken against a liability for the tax on corporation income; and providing for an effective date." 11:33:05 AM Vice-chair Fairclough MOVED to ADOPT proposed committee substitute for CSSB 136(FIN)am, Work Draft 27-LS0983\U (Bullock, 4/14/12). Co-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED for discussion. KENDRA KLOSTER, STAFF, SENATOR BILL WIELECHOWSKI, provided a synopsis of the legislation. She explained that as of June 2011, one million veterans were unemployed and the jobless rate for post 9/11 was 13.3 percent. Young male veterans between the ages of 18 to 24 were experiencing a higher unemployment rate at 21.9 percent. She referred to recent March 2012 data from a Syracuse University study showing that young male veterans were at a 30 percent unemployment rate. The bill aimed at helping unemployed veterans to obtain employment upon their return from military service. The legislation would provide a $2,000 income tax credit or a $3,000 credit for disabled veterans; it stipulated that a veteran must work for at least 12 months for 1,560 hours or more (approximately 30 hours per week). The bill also included a provision for seasonal employment in the form of a $1,000 tax credit; to obtain the seasonal credit a veteran would be required to work at least 600 hours for 5 months. Ms. Kloster pointed to a number of support letters from small business owners and veterans' organizations including Southeast Alaska Native Veterans, Vets Helping Vets, Vietnam Veterans of America (copy on file). 11:35:04 AM REPRESENTATIVE DAN SADDLER, CO-SPONSOR, communicated that Section 1 authorized the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to designate a person's veteran status on a state issued driver's license or ID card and would have an image of the U.S. flag or other upon request. Section 2 would authorize DMV to provide the names and addresses of people with a veteran's designation to the Division of Veterans Affairs upon approval of the individual; the opportunity would provide veterans with another chance to receive important health and other benefits. He stated that the bill provided Alaskans with a way to carry reliable and convenient proof of their veteran status and would help them to enjoy the many benefits made available to them by a grateful state and nation. Co-Chair Stoltze remembered that Representative Costello had been the responsible for a money saving flag in prior legislation. Co-Chair Stoltze WITHDREW his OBJECTION. There being NO further OBJECTION, Work Draft 27-LS0983\U was ADOPTED. Representative Wilson asked whether the bill would present a conflict for veterans who had served in the military at different times; she wondered about potential prioritization. Co-Chair Thomas explained that the bill reflected a veteran's caucus decision. The timeframe was limited to the past 10 years in order to keep costs relatively low. Co-Chair Thomas CLOSED public testimony. Vice-chair Fairclough discussed the Department of Revenue fiscal note; the changes in revenue were indeterminate because the number of employers or employees who would qualify for the tax credit was unknown. Co-Chair Stoltze referenced a fiscal note from the Department of Administration. Representative Neuman asked how businesses were informed of the credit. Ms. Kloster replied that the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs was very active in working to ensure that businesses were made aware of veterans' benefits. She believed that the provision included by Representative Saddler would help with veteran outreach around the state. Co-Chair Thomas added that statewide veterans' organizations monitored legislation closely. Co-Chair Stoltze believed that there was an acute awareness in the business community (including the hospitality industry and other) related to veterans. 11:40:16 AM Vice-chair Fairclough discussed an additional fiscal note from Department of Administration in the amount of $32,900 in FY 13 and $17,500 in FY 14. The total change in revenue in FY 13 would be $51,300 and $102,700 in FY 14. [Note: The Department of Administration fiscal note referenced here did not report out of committee with the bill]. Representative Wilson MOVED to report HCS CSSB 136(FIN) out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. HCS CSSB 136(FIN) was REPORTED out of committee with a "do pass" recommendation and with one new indeterminate fiscal note from the Department of Revenue.