Legislature(2007 - 2008)SENATE FINANCE 532

08/01/2008 10:00 AM FINANCE

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10:32:08 AM Start
10:32:16 AM SB4002
04:07:39 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to a Call of the Chair --
-- Time Change --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
SENATE BILL NO. 4002                                                                                                          
     "An Act establishing the Alaska resource rebate program                                                                    
     and relating to the program; and providing for an                                                                          
     effective date."                                                                                                           
Co-Chair Stedman stated that the meeting is a continuation                                                                      
of the hearing on SB 4002.  The bill is a combination of                                                                        
Power Cost Equalization and a resource rebate program.                                                                          
10:34:31 AM                                                                                                                   
RANDALL  RUARO, SPECIAL  ASSISTANT, OFFICE  OF THE  GOVERNOR,                                                                   
highlighted possible  changes to the  bill.  He spoke  to the                                                                   
issue  regarding  eligibility  of certain  veterans  for  the                                                                   
resource rebate.   There are 376  veterans that do  not apply                                                                   
for the PFD because their VA benefits  would be reduced.  Now                                                                   
those veterans would  be able to apply for the  rebate due to                                                                   
reworking of the bill.  The Department  of Law has drafted an                                                                   
amendment that would ensure that  there were no problems with                                                                   
distributors charging excessive  prices for heating oil.  The                                                                   
criminal provisions in the bill  have also been revisited and                                                                   
it was determined that existing language was sufficient.                                                                        
Mr. Ruaro offered to continue to work on the bill.                                                                              
Senator Elton introduced his parents.                                                                                           
10:38:53 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Elton MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 1:                                                                                       
     Page 4, line 26, following "residences.":                                                                                  
     Insert "The  amount of the resource rebate  payment must                                                                   
     include an  amount to reimburse  the sales tax  that the                                                                   
     individual  paid  for the  oil  for which  the  resource                                                                   
     rebate  payment  is  made,  except that  the  amount  of                                                                   
     reimbursement  included in the  payment must be  based n                                                                   
     the sales  tax rate in effect  on the effective  date of                                                                   
     this section."                                                                                                             
Co-Chair Stedman OBJECTED for discussion purposes.                                                                              
Senator Elton explained  a concern about the  $3.00 rebate on                                                                   
oil.   The amendment would restrict  the rebate on  the sales                                                                   
tax component.  It would prevent  a municipality from raising                                                                   
the sales tax on residential fuel.                                                                                              
Senator Olson  asked if there  was an  opinion by AML  on the                                                                   
amendment.  Senator Elton said  no.  He thought the situation                                                                   
was highly unlikely.                                                                                                            
Co-Chair  Stedman WITHDREW  his  OBJECTION.   There being  NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                                   
10:41:26 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Huggins MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 5:                                                                                     
     Insert: "(c)  Notwithstanding any contrary  provision of                                                                   
     law,  an  individual who  did  not  apply for  the  2008                                                                   
     permanent  fund dividend and  is eligible for  veterans'                                                                   
     benefits under 38 U.S.C 1315,  1513, 1521, and 1541-1542                                                                   
     may  apply for  an Alaska  resource  rebate payment  for                                                                   
     2008.  The  veteran, or spouse or dependent  of a living                                                                   
     or  deceased veteran,  must apply  to the Department  of                                                                   
     Revenue no  later than October  1, 2008 and  demonstrate                                                                   
     that the individual would  have been eligible to receive                                                                   
     a 2008  permanent fund dividend  under AS  43.23, except                                                                   
     for  not  having applied  for  the 2008  permanent  fund                                                                   
     dividend previously.                                                                                                       
     (d) The veteran,  or spouse or dependent of  a living or                                                                   
     deceased  veteran,  who is  denied  or receives  reduced                                                                   
     payments or reduced health  care benefits solely because                                                                   
     the  payment   under  this   section  received   by  the                                                                   
     individual  is   counted  as  income  is   eligible  for                                                                   
     veterans'  benefits  under   AS  47.25.120  -  47.25.300                                                                   
     (general relief assistance).   Notwithstanding the limit                                                                   
     in AS 47.25.130, the veteran,  or spouse or dependent of                                                                   
     a  living or deceased  veteran,  is entitled to  receive                                                                   
     the same  amount as the  individual would  have received                                                                   
     under 38  U.S.C. 1315, 1513,  1521, and 1541 -  1542 and                                                                   
     as a health  care benefit as a result  of being eligible                                                                   
     under 38 U.S.C 1315, 1513,  1521, and 1541 - 1542, had a                                                                   
     payment not been received under this section."                                                                             
Co-Chair Stedman OBJECTED.                                                                                                      
Senator  Huggins   requested  that  the  number   for  Alaska                                                                   
veterans should say  "plus or minus".  He related  that those                                                                   
eligible for veteran  benefits normally would not  be able to                                                                   
apply for the rebate without an  offset.  The amendment would                                                                   
correct that so there is no offset.                                                                                             
Senator Olson asked if the rebate could be garnished.                                                                           
10:43:49 AM                                                                                                                   
Mr. Ruaro  agreed with  the explanation of  Amendment 5.   It                                                                   
allows those veterans  to apply without a reduction  in their                                                                   
benefits.    The second  half  of  the amendment  holds  them                                                                   
harmless, due to the reduction by the federal government.                                                                       
Senator Thomas  inquired if they  would receive  the resource                                                                   
rebate as a part of the permanent  fund.  Mr. Ruaro said that                                                                   
the amendment does  not extend to the PFD and  they would not                                                                   
receive a  PFD.   Senator Thomas  summarized that they  would                                                                   
receive the resource rebate and  be held harmless.  Mr. Ruaro                                                                   
said that is correct.                                                                                                           
10:45:58 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Elton suggested  that many veterans are  not going to                                                                   
know about this opportunity.   He inquired if there was a way                                                                   
to  communicate  that  information.   Mr.  Ruaro  offered  to                                                                   
obtain the information to indentify those veterans.                                                                             
10:46:59 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Stedman WITHDREW his OBJECTION to Amendment 5.                                                                         
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
AT-EASE:       10:47:17 AM                                                                                                    
RECONVENE:     4:07:39 PM                                                                                                     
SB 4002 was heard and HELD in Committee for further                                                                             

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