Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/27/1993 08:00 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 81: PHASE OUT LONGEVITY BONUS Number 333 CHAIRMAN VEZEY read the title of HB 81 and called for testimony from Juneau. Seeing none, he polled the teleconference sites for testimony. Number 346 DAVE TRANTHAM, a 46 year resident of Bethel, testified via teleconference from Bethel against HB 81. He stated the bill would be challenged in court, and would hurt many seniors' ability to stay in Alaska. He favored an across the board budget cut instead. Number 411 NAT KENNEY, a resident of Delta Junction, testified via teleconference from Delta Junction in opposition to HB 81. He stated the longevity bonus returned money to the state at an 11 to 1 ratio, and seniors would be forced to leave the state if it was terminated. Number 472 VYOLA BELLE, a resident of Sitka, testified via teleconference from Sitka, in opposition to HB 81. She said the bonus was needed to keep seniors independent. Number 489 DORIS SOUTHALL, a resident of Fairbanks, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks against HB 81. She favored SB 6 instead. Number 519 DOROTHY WESTPHAL, a resident of Sterling, testified via teleconference from Kenai. She stated HB 81 would be contested in court, and that she favored SB 6 over HB 81. Number 548 REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS asked Mrs. Westphal if she had looked into the annuity plan, and had seen the Administration's research which indicated the annuity was unfeasible. Number 554 MRS. WESTPHAL stated she knew of the Administration's position, but felt SB 6 could be amended. Number 571 ROSE PALMQUIST, a resident of Palmer, testified via teleconference from Mat-Su in opposition to HB 81. She said an annuity plan should have been implemented years ago. She also challenged the Administration's contention that most seniors did not need the bonus to live on. Number 632 MARVIN BUSHEY, a resident of Fairbanks, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks, in opposition to HB 81. He favored SB 6, and stated it was unfair for long time citizens who were not yet qualified by age to be cut off from the bonus when outsiders who were of age can come in and qualify in one year. Number 653 HERMAN LEIRER, a 69 year resident of Seward, testified via teleconference from Seward in opposition to HB 81. He said it would cost Alaska 15 to 20 thousand citizens who would move. Number 678 NICK ZERBINOS, a resident of Glennallen, testified via teleconference from Glennallen in opposition to HB 81, and stated many seniors had the choice of taking the bonus or going on welfare. TAPE 93-22, SIDE B Number 045 DOUGLAS EUERS, a resident of Tok, testified via teleconference from Tok in opposition to HB 81. He favored SB 6. Number 111 PAUL MILLER, a resident of Delta Junction, testified via teleconference from Delta Junction in opposition to HB 81, and stated with Alaskans sure to take a hit under the Clinton administration, the bonus would be especially needed by seniors. Number 166 JOHN SHAFFER, a resident of Sitka, testified via teleconference from Sitka, on behalf of the Legislative Committee of the American Association of Retired Persons, in opposition to HB 81 and in favor of SB 6. He said the current recipients must be protected. Number 223 MS. PALMQUIST stated legislators should consider the contribution of seniors to the state and if the state really was running out of money. She stated the government should not balance the budget on the backs of seniors or kids. Number 298 EARL WESTPHAL, a 77 year old resident of Sterling, testified via teleconference from Kenai in opposition to HB 81 because he needed it to live. Number 378 LEE CARMAN, a resident of Fairbanks, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 81, and in favor of SB 6. He deemed HB 81 unfair to seniors close to qualifying by age. Number 465 MELLIE TERWILLIGER, a resident of Tok and a member of the Older Alaskans Commission, testified via teleconference from Tok in opposition to HB 81, and in favor of SB 6. She believed lawmakers must consider the contribution of seniors to the state. Number 502 CHARLES BROKER, a resident of Tok, testified via teleconference from Tok in opposition to HB 81. He favored amending SB 6, and said seniors under qualification age in HB 81 would lose out. Number 543 GLORIA MASCHMEYER, a 13 year resident of Anchorage, testified via teleconference from Anchorage in support of HB 81. She believed the SB 6 annuity plan was too complicated, created bureaucracy, and would prevent her family from collecting her savings if she died after the age of 65. She questioned whether the annuity could be supported since many people could not contribute their permanent fund checks because they used those to live. Number 605 REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS asked Mrs. Maschmeyer if she knew what the annuity would provide her family. Number 611 MRS. MASCHMEYER stated she had no figures from Senator Kerttula's office, but understood she would only get $100 a month under the annuity plan. Number 635 CHAIRMAN VEZEY called for any other testimony from the teleconference sites. Number 668 HARRY JENKINS, a resident of Fairbanks, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks in opposition to HB 81. He felt Alaska would lose citizens if the program ended. TAPE 93-23, SIDE A Number 020 MR. EUERS stated lawmakers must look to the future, and that ending the bonus would affect seniors' medical care. Number 067 There being no further public testimony, CHAIRMAN VEZEY called for committee discussion. REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS asked for comments from the Commissioner of the Department of Administration. Number 090 NANCY BEAR USERA, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION, addressed the constitutionality of HB 81. She said it was a phase out program and, therefore, was not subject to court challenge. Number 116 REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS stated it was not fair for long-time residents below qualification age to be cut out of the bonus when newcomers of age were allowed to receive checks. Number 133 COMMISSIONER USERA stated if the program was operating the way it was intended to, the reform would not be needed. She also stated any redesign on basis of residency would be subject to a court challenge, and HB 81 was the most favorable reform for current recipients. Number 161 REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS agreed with Rep. B. Davis' concerns, but stated HB 81 was the best middle of the road proposal. He favored HB 81 because the phase out would slow the in- migration of older people, and end a trend of growing outlays in the last 10 years. Number 198 REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS was concerned the program might not save money, since many seniors would have to go on public assistance. Number 211 COMMISSIONER USERA had no figures on how many people would go on public assistance, but informed the committee that much of the bonus money would go toward new needs-based programs where seniors would be protected. She stated the government also would not see a savings for at least four years while the program was implemented, because the growth trend would continue with the aging of the population. Number 288 REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS favored moving HB 81 from committee. Number 306 REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS supported moving HB 81 from committee. Number 328 CHAIRMAN VEZEY called for a vote, and HB 81 failed to move from committee by a 3-1 vote, with Chairman Vezey voting no. ADJOURNMENT Number 333 CHAIRMAN VEZEY adjourned the meeting at 9:52 a.m.