Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/22/1993 03:00 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE February 22, 1993 3:00 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Rep. Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair Rep. Con Bunde, Co-Chair Rep. Gary Davis, Vice Chair Rep. Al Vezey Rep. Pete Kott Rep. Harley Olberg Rep. Bettye Davis Rep. Tom Brice MEMBERS ABSENT Rep. Irene Nicholia, excused COMMITTEE CALENDAR *HB 67: "An Act relating to eligibility for and payments of public assistance; and providing for an effective date." HEARD AND HELD OVER TO A TIME CERTAIN HB 66: "An Act relating to municipal property tax exemptions for certain residences and to property tax equivalency payments for certain residents; and providing for an effective date." NOT HEARD HB 30: "An Act amending the definition of `municipality' for purposes of the human services community matching grant program." NOT HEARD (* First public hearing.) WITNESS REGISTER PATRICK CUNNINGHAM, Board member National Association of Social Workers, Alaska Chapter Department of Social Work University of Alaska-Anchorage Anchorage, Alaska 99508 Phone: (907) 786-1725 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 JAN HENSEN, Director Division of Public Assistance Department of Health and Social Services P.O. Box 110640 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0640 Phone: (907) 465-2680 Position Statement: Gave presentation on HB 67 CHARLES WHEATON P.O. Box 21662 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Phone: (907) 586-2794 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 THERESA BELL P.O. Box 022471 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 JAMES E. FISHER 633 Harris Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: (907) 586-9601 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 RANDI SMITH, Administrative Assistant Women's Resource and Crisis Center 325 S. Spruce Kenai, Alaska 99611 Phone: (907) 283-9479 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 ANN DOOLEY Women's Resource and Crisis Center 325 S. Spruce Kenai, Alaska 99611 Phone: (907) 283-9479 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 MARIANNE KERR Abused Women's Aid in Crisis 100 W. 13th Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Phone: (907) 279-9581 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 GLENDA STRAUBE 1318 N St. Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Phone: (907) 278-0840 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 RUTH LISTER Interior Alaska Women's Political Caucus 1290 Jones Road Fairbanks, Alaska 99709 Phone: (907) 455-6886 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 DEE DEE OLSEN 126 Second Ave. Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Phone: (907) 456-1837 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 BISHOP MICHAEL KENNY Diocese of Juneau Catholic Community Service 419 Sixth St. Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: (907) 586-2227 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 CAREN ROBINSON League of Women Voters P.O. Box 33702 Juneau, Alaska 99803 Phone: (907) 586-1107 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 DEVRA DYNES 916 23rd Ave. Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Phone: (907) 456-7260 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 ROBIN WICKHAM Access Alaska 150 Cornell Way Fairbanks, Alaska 99709 Phone: (907) 479-7940 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 JIM CALDAROLA, Director Catholic Social Services 225 Cordova St. Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Phone: (907) 277-2554 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 PUDGE KLEINKAUF 4201 MacInnes Anchorage, Alaska 99508 Phone: (907) 561-7113 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 CINDY SMITH, Executive Director Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault 419 Sixth St. #116 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: (907) 586-3650 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 MELISSA CARROLL P.O. Box 240293 Douglas, Alaska 99824 Phone: (907) 364-2210 home Phone: (907) 586-5718 school Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 KAREN McCULLOUGH P.O. Box 707 Petersburg, Alaska 99833 Phone: (907) 772-9238 home Phone: (907) 772-4751 work Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 VIRGINIA OLSEN 213 Dunkel St. Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Phone: (907) 452-2857 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 MEG GAYDOSIK, Board Member American Association of University Women 1024 Fifth Ave. Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Phone: (907) 456-8389 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 BARBARA BENNETT Bean's Cafe P.O. Box 100940 Anchorage, Alaska 99510 Phone: (907) 274-9595 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 SUE OLIPHANT 2155 Fritz Cove Rd. Juneau, Alaska Phone: (907) 789-1384 home Phone: (907) 364-3174 work Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 DARRYL GUTHRIE Tlingit-Haida Central Council 401 Eighth St. #207 Juneau, Alaska Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 MARY LOU CANNEY 1441 22nd Ave. Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Phone: (907) 452-4666 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 LOUISE CHARLES JOBS Program Coordinator Tanana Chiefs Conference 122 First Ave. Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Phone: (907) 452-8251 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 JUDY BUSH Alaska Legal Services 763 Seventh Ave. Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Phone: (907) 452-5181 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 JOAN MARIE AMES 2008 Sandvik Rd. Fairbanks, Alaska 99701 Phone: (907) 474-9680 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 SHERRIE GOLL, Lobbyist Alaska Women's Lobby; KIDPAC P.O. Box 22156 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Phone: (907) 463-6744 Position Statement: Opposed HB 67 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 67 SHORT TITLE: ELIGIBILITY FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR TITLE: "An Act relating to eligibility for and payments of public assistance; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/15/93 86 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/15/93 86 (H) HEALTH, EDUCATION & SS,JUDICIARY,FINANCE 01/15/93 86 (H) -6 FNS (6-DHSS) 1/15/93 01/15/93 86 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 02/10/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 02/10/93 (H) MINUTE(HES) 02/22/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 66 SHORT TITLE: MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR TITLE: "An Act relating to municipal property tax exemptions for certain residences and to property tax equivalency payments for certain residents; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/15/93 84 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/15/93 84 (H) CRA, HEALTH,EDUCATION&SS, FINANCE 01/15/93 84 (H) -3 ZERO FNS (2-DCRA, ADM) 1/15/93 01/15/93 84 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 02/09/93 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 02/09/93 (H) MINUTE(CRA) 02/10/93 286 (H) CRA RPT CS(CRA) 3DP 3DNP 1NR 02/10/93 286 (H) DP: OLBERG, BUNDE, TOOHEY 02/10/93 286 (H) DNP: DAVIES, WILLIAMS, WILLIS 02/10/93 286 (H) NR: SANDERS 02/10/93 286 (H) -3 PREVIOUS ZERO FNS(DCRA,DCRA,ADM) 1/15 02/22/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 30 SHORT TITLE: HUMAN SERVICES MATCHING GRANTS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BRICE,Sitton,Therriault, Davies,James TITLE: "An Act amending the definition of `municipality' for purposes of the human services community matching grant program." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/04/93 32 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/11/93 32 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/11/93 32 (H) CRA, HES, FINANCE 01/15/93 92 (H) COSPONSOR(S): DAVIES, JAMES 02/09/93 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 02/09/93 (H) MINUTE(CRA) 02/10/93 284 (H) CRA RPT CS(CRA) 5DP 2NR 02/10/93 284 (H) DP: BUNDE,DAVIES,WILLIS, TOOHEY,OLBERG 02/10/93 284 (H) NR: SANDERS, WILLIAMS 02/10/93 284 (H) -2 ZERO FNS (DCRA, DHSS) 2/10/93 02/10/93 285 (H) REFERRED TO HES 02/22/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-18, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIR CYNTHIA TOOHEY called the meeting to order at 3:08 p.m., noted members present, announced the calendar, and announced that the hearing was being teleconferenced. HB 67: ELIGIBILITY FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE Number 047 PATRICK CUNNINGHAM, BOARD MEMBER, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS, ALASKA CHAPTER, testified against HB 67, saying it would cut the money given to families on Aid to Families with Dependent Children (ADFC). He said it was hard to see how lowering the benefits would meet the act's aim to provide reasonable subsistence compatible with decency and health. The bill would increase poverty rather than reduce it, he said, which was the same thing as doing violence to children. He said the bill would affect about 20,000 children. While the state could save money by cutting grants, Mr. Cunningham said, it could also encourage self-sufficiency through the JOBS program, or through waivers of federal limits on assets and transportation for those on welfare. He said AFDC staffers should take early steps to encourage recipients to find work. Number 155 CHAIR TOOHEY invited Jan Hensen to testify on behalf of HB 67. Number 158 JAN HENSEN, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES, testified in support of HB 67. She listed several important provisions affecting ADFC and Adult Public Assistance (APA). (Ms. Hansen made a detailed presentation to the committee on January 25, 1993, and minutes from that presentation are on file in the committee room.) She said HB 67 would make the following changes in the AFDC program: suspend a scheduled cost of living allowance (COLA) in FY94; cut the benefit rates to January 1991 levels; equalize the benefits to families of different sizes; and make technical adjustments to the program's "Adult not Included" provisions. She said HB 67 would make the following changes in the APA program: suspend a COLA scheduled to take effect in January 1994; cut benefits to the 1990 levels; and adjust administration of retroactive interim assistance program payments. Number 250 REP. BUNDE asked whether APA assists the aged, blind and disabled. MS. HENSEN answered yes. Number 270 CHARLES WHEATON, whose wife receives AFDC benefits and who participates in the unemployed parent program, testified in Juneau against HB 67, explaining how it's reduction in benefits would hurt him. His unemployment benefits are deducted from his wife's AFDC benefits, and are further reduced by $200 in monthly child support for children from a previous marriage, he said. His five-member family received $130 this month in food stamps. He said he is trying to work himself out of a $30,000 child support debt after a being released from prison, and has paid $6,000 in two years. He stated his wife declined AFDC benefits because the family could not survive on their benefits, and further cuts would be even more harmful to his family. (His written testimony is on file in the committee room.) Number 305 THERESA BELL, a welfare recipient, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67. She presented a budget of her basic monthly household expenses of $784, and said HB 67 would reduce her welfare benefits to $746, below her basic survival needs, even considering that she lives in government low-income housing. She said the cuts will be stressful on single-parent families. Number 348 JAMES FISHER testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67, saying state money is available for welfare programs and welfare programs should get money from recent out-of-court settlements and other sources so as to avoid harm to the 23,000 children in Alaska who benefit from welfare programs. (His written testimony is on file in the committee room.) Number 373 CHAIR TOOHEY called a brief at-ease, lasting less than one minute, to ask about teleconference sites. RANDI SMITH, AN ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT AT THE WOMEN'S RESOURCE AND CRISIS CENTER IN KENAI, testified from Kenai opposing HB 67. She said high housing costs already make it difficult to survive on welfare benefits, and reducing benefits would reduce the ability of women to survive on welfare, forcing them to remain in physically abusive relationships or emergency shelters. She said such cuts would not save the state money, but would cost more in emergency assistance. Number 404 ANN DOOLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE WOMEN'S RESOURCE AND CRISIS CENTER, testified from Kenai opposing HB 67. She said many of her clients are refugees from physical or sexual violence who depend on welfare benefits to establish fear-free lifestyles. Cuts in welfare would end up costing the state more for emergency shelters. She said the legislature should cut the state budget elsewhere first. Number 425 MARIANNE KERR, representing ABUSED WOMEN'S AID IN CRISIS, testified from Anchorage that she opposed HB 67. She said the state should not balance the budget on the backs of children, who can least afford it. She said rising rents and decreasing welfare benefits will squeeze people into dangerous circumstances. She encouraged capping other state entitlement programs. Number 444 GLENDA STRAUBE testified from Anchorage in opposition to HB 67. She said it is too easy for the legislature to cut programs for the poor, who are not politically active and whose dependence draws public resentment. She said the lack of funds for job training programs ensured continue dependence in women who wanted to get off welfare. She said many welfare recipients cannot afford the state's high rents, and said 28 percent of poor Alaskans receive low- income housing assistance. She said money distributed in human services circulates through the state's economy, and cutting the money does not make sense. Number 470 RUTH LISTER, representing the INTERIOR ALASKA WOMEN'S POLITICAL CAUCUS, testified from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 67. She said she met with welfare recipients as director of the Alaska Women's Commission, and many of them are barely surviving difficult circumstances. She said barriers to self-sufficiency include: lack of reliable transportation; children with special needs; chronic health problems; and lack of training for good-paying jobs providing health benefits. She said job training programs were better ways of encouraging self-sufficiency than the proposed gaps between benefits and earnings caps. She said 80 percent of women on AFDC have been victims of rape and domestic violence and cutting AFDC was violence against children. Number 500 DEE DEE OLSEN testified from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 67. She said cutting AFDC would force recipients to drop insurance or lose utility service. Public assistance is a lengthy, dehumanizing process that strips people of hope and self-worth, she said. She said single parents would be hurt most, and she asked legislators not to ignore welfare recipients, but to give them enough to live with dignity. (Her written testimony is on file in the committee room.) Number 524 BISHOP MICHAEL KENNY, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP FOR THE DIOCESE OF JUNEAU, and PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF CATHOLIC COMMUNITY SERVICE, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67. He read from a prepared statement, saying that cutting welfare benefits would reflect poorly on Alaska society's morals. He said the poor do not have a voice and rely more on the legislature's compassion than do those who have a louder voice in the budget-writing process. He noted recent attention to the ethics displayed by members of the legislature. (His written testimony is on file in the committee room.) Number 550 CHAIR TOOHEY interrupted and asked Bishop Kenny to limit his comments to the bill at hand. BISHOP KENNY assented and concluded by saying that as a society is judged by how it treats the least fortunate, a bill that reduces welfare benefits to the poor has serious moral implications. Number 560 CHAIR TOOHEY called a brief at-ease and returned the meeting to order one minute later. (Rep. Bunde arrived at 3:45 p.m.) Number 565 CAREN ROBINSON, REPRESENTING THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67. She gave each committee member $792 in play money, and encouraged them to "spend" it for their own expenses in the next two weeks and see how far welfare benefits go in providing for housing, food, utilities, transportation and other necessities of life. Number 600 DEVRA DYNES, a mother of four receiving welfare benefits, testified from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 67, saying that the money she receives ($1,160 from AFDC and $200 in food stamps each month) is inadequate for the family needs she detailed, let alone small extras such as clothing, even though she economizes vigorously and is working part time. She asked committee members to try living on AFDC benefits for six months before voting to lower the benefits. TAPE 93-18, SIDE B Number 000 ROBIN WICKHAM, representing ACCESS ALASKA, testified from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 67, saying the benefit level is already too low. She said higher national taxes, combined with decreased charitable donations, will limit resources for the needy. She asked the committee not to decrease public assistance benefits. (Her written testimony is on file in the committee room.) Number 077 JIM CALDAROLA, DIRECTOR, CATHOLIC SOCIAL SERVICES, testified from Anchorage in opposition to HB 67. He agreed with Bishop Kenny that the state budget needs to be balanced, but welfare programs should be the last to be cut. By cutting COLA from welfare programs, they are retained for other government programs and employees and it is not fair, he said. He stated that such reductions are not morally correct and reflect poorly on society. Number 106 PUDGE KLEINKAUF testified from Anchorage in opposition to HB 67. She outlined the reductions for certain levels of benefits, and said that the proposed monthly reduction in benefits for a family is less than the per diem allowance paid to state employees. She said stepping up enforcement of child support orders would help reduce the numbers of families on AFDC in Alaska. She suggested the state give those on public assistance priority status in hiring for state jobs, and give tax breaks to businesses that hire those on public assistance. Number 175 CINDY SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALASKA NETWORK ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67. She said the network opposes the bill because it would endanger victims of domestic violence by forcing them to either remain in an emergency shelter or return to an abusive relationship. She said the bill would not save money. While the poor might delay some expenditures, in a few months they would sink under the expenses of living, causing them to seek help at emergency shelters and food banks at the state's expense. Benefit cuts would leave children hungry and unable to learn in school, would lead to increased loan defaults, and other social ills. Number 220 REP. BUNDE asked Ms. Smith whether a $50 increase in benefits would eliminate the wide range of social problems that she said a $50 cut in benefits would bring. MS. SMITH responded that inhumane actions were not attributable solely to circumstances, but she did say it is harder to be safe if you are poor. She noted that welfare benefits provide a living at only 70 percent to 80 percent of federal poverty standards, a condition which contributes to social tensions and problems. Number 245 MELISSA CARROLL, a single parent with two children receiving AFDC, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67. She said she was in a 15-week training program through the JOBS program. She said the cutbacks will hurt children as well as parents. Number 262 KAREN McCULLOUGH testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67, saying it would hurt communities. She stated rural communities have difficulty in getting the resources to move families from welfare to work, as most desire to do. She acknowledged the budget needs to be cut, but said it is not fair to cut COLA for welfare recipients while the cost of living is rising, and when charities are harder pressed to provide relief services. Number 288 VIRGINIA OLSEN testified from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 67. She said single welfare recipients are allowed $125 per month for rent. As a disabled person, she receives $2,916 each year, covering rent and food. She suggested a few program changes, including changing the monthly application requirements for different welfare programs and allowing them to reapply every three months or six months if their situations did not change. She said the savings in staff time would lower case costs. MEG GAYDOSIK, STATE PUBLIC POLICY CHAIR FOR THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN, testified from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 67. She encouraged the legislature to be informed by a recent article on welfare in Alaska Economic Trends. She cited the state's entitlement programs and low tax structure. She chastised the commissioner of Health and Social Services, Ted Mala, for transferring $90,000 in program budgets to cover travel and public relations expenses. (Her written testimony is on file in the committee room.) Number 372 REP. BUNDE said HB 67 was not the administration's only effort to cut the budget. He asked if Ms. Gaydosik knew the 10-15 year average of how long people remain on welfare. MS. GAYDOSIK cited the Alaska Economic Trends article, which said from 1984 to 1991, 67 percent of AFDC recipients got benefits for less than two years. Number 385 BARBARA BENNETT, SOCIAL SERVICES COORDINATOR FOR BEAN'S CAFE, testified from Anchorage in opposition to HB 67, saying it would increase the number of people seeking meals at Bean's. She asked how much of Alaska's budget is spent on welfare. She said waiting lists for subsidized housing push many single welfare recipients to eat at Bean's. She asked the legislature for more public housing, especially if the legislature cuts other welfare benefits. She echoed another witness' concerns that higher taxes would cut charitable contributions and further erode support for the poor. Number 420 CHAIR TOOHEY invited Ms. Bennett to restate her question on AFDC and APA as a percentage of the state budget, and the proposed percentage change. MS. HENSEN said she did not have an answer. Number 425 SHERRIE GOLL, A LOBBYIST WITH THE ALASKA WOMEN'S LOBBY AND KIDPAC, said she could answer the question. She stated 4.2 percent of Alaska's general fund operating expenditures went for public assistance programs, including administrative costs. CHAIR TOOHEY called a brief at-ease at 4:24 p.m. and called the meeting back to order at 4:27 p.m. Rep. Bunde and Rep. Kott did not return to the meeting. Number 457 SUE OLIPHANT, SUPERVISING HEAD START TEACHER IN DOUGLAS, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67. She said those welfare recipients involved in the Head Start program break down into three groups: those on AFDC who are too troubled to help themselves; those who are working out their substance abuse problems and other problems; and those who have already dug themselves out and may be in school. She said cutting back benefits poses the danger of pushing such people back into distress and discouragement, both economic and emotional. Number 480 DARRYL GUTHRIE, OF THE TLINGIT-HAIDA CENTRAL COUNCIL, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67. He said he has a caseload of about 6,000 people in Southeast Alaska who receive General Assistance, a benefit program for those ineligible for AFDC. He said people needing public assistance often suffer from other social, medical and emotional problems, and cutbacks in financial benefits might increase the caseload. He urged legislators to have empathy for those receiving public assistance. (Rep. Olberg departed at 4:32 p.m.) Number 520 MARY LOU CANNEY, PRESIDENT OF A RESIDENT COUNCIL FOR A PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECT, testified from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 67. She said public housing is scarce, with a waiting list of 1,000 people at her project, many with special needs. (Rep. Bunde returned at 4:34 p.m. and Rep. Kott returned at 4:34 p.m.) MS. CANNEY said lowering welfare benefits would hurt recipients' quality of life and reduce incentive and security. She said public assistance programs provide for no extras, and she predicted that children would suffer from the cuts. Without permanent fund dividends, many families could not provide warm clothing and other necessities for their children. She said children are the most vulnerable to violence, which is exacerbated by shortage of resources. Number 556 LOUISE CHARLES, JOBS PROGRAM COORDINATOR FOR THE TANANA CHIEFS CONFERENCE, testified from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 67. She said the JOBS program works in 43 villages in the Doyon Region and eight villages in the Arctic Slope Regional Corp. area, helping welfare recipients learn job skills that can wean them from welfare. She said the legislature needs to consider that benefit cuts hit Bush residents harder than urban residents. She stated AFDC recipients need every penny, and some even move to urban areas where the JOBS program is better able to teach them job skills. Cutting welfare benefits might make it impossible for people to spend the money necessary to take part in the JOBS program in an attempt to find employment. TAPE 93-19, SIDE A Number 000 JUDY BUSH, ALASKA LEGAL SERVICES, testified in Fairbanks in opposition to HB 67. She noted that AFDC benefits provide 70 percent of the federal poverty rate for some recipients. She asked where the bottom of the social safety net lies. She stated that without public housing many recipients cannot survive. She said that AFDC recipients need a certain amount of financial stability so they can move forward toward independence, and lowering benefits could keep some recipients perpetually in crisis, unable to leave the welfare rolls. She said that the interim assistance payment of $280 per month for those awaiting a federal determination of disability is insufficient for living expenses, and she decried the planned changes in that benefit program. She said people rely on the retroactive benefits to pay back loans taken out during the interim. Number 101 JOAN MARIE AMES, a disabled person, testified from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 67. She said she is able to survive only because the state subsidizes the $939 rent on her apartment. She said if the benefit rates are cut, people will move into homeless shelters. Number 135 SHERRIE GOLL, A LOBBYIST FOR ALASKA WOMEN'S LOBBY and KIDPAC, testified in Juneau in opposition to HB 67. She encouraged committee members to study the projected savings from the cuts in HB 67. She said the way to lower program costs is to lower the AFDC caseload and put the savings into the JOBS program. She also suggested increasing enforcement of child support orders. There being no further witnesses wishing to testify on the bill, CHAIR TOOHEY ended public testimony on HB 67. Number 193 REP. GARY DAVIS lamented that the budget needed to be cut, and said that the committee had been presented an opportunity for savings. He said the committee had heard lots of thought-provoking testimony on the bill, but said that the legislature would hear protests from someone no matter where they proposed cuts. He suggested that the testimony could point the way to adjustments in the bill, and said he wanted to hear more about the original purpose behind the bill and about ways to allow welfare recipients to work and keep more of their money. He said he would not want to see the bill moved from committee without more work and possible improvement. Number 235 REP. VEZEY asked if he could offer an amendment. CHAIR TOOHEY said it would be best to put the bill aside until it could be scheduled for another meeting, at which time they can address Rep. Davis' comments, and any other concerns or amendments committee members might want to make. Rep. Toohey called a brief at-ease at 4:53 p.m., and returned the meeting to order at 4:53 p.m. She announced that HB 67 would be held over until Thursday, February 25, 1993. CHAIR TOOHEY ADJOURNED the meeting at 4:55 p.m.