Legislature(2001 - 2002)

02/21/2002 01:40 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
           SB 267-ALASKA VETERANS' MEM.ENDOWMENT FUND                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN STEVENS announced SB 267 to be up for consideration.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Laddie Shaw,  State Director, Veterans Affairs,  Department of                                                              
Military and Veterans  Affairs said they established  this fund to                                                              
support the veterans'  memorials around the state,  of which there                                                              
are 41.  This fund would  allow them  to manage the  memorials, do                                                              
regular  maintenance, and  put up  new  memorials. They  presently                                                              
have  $125,000  in the  bank  that  has  been donated  by  private                                                              
companies   throughout  the   state  and   they  are  asking   the                                                              
legislature  to assist  them  in putting  the  fund completely  in                                                              
place.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN STEVENS asked how they maintain the memorials now.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHAW replied  that many of the signs are  under the Department                                                              
of  Transportation,  but  the  Byers  Lake  Memorial  is  done  by                                                              
volunteers on their own time and donated money.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN STEVENS asked what their  long-term objective was for the                                                              
fund.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHAW answered  that  they want  a  fund that  is  established                                                              
forever  to support all  existing institutional  memorials  in the                                                              
state. He used  the example of the  flagpole at the park  strip in                                                              
Anchorage that might have to be replaced in 20 years.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He said they want  to start the fund at $250,000 and  put it in an                                                              
interest bearing account and let it grow on its own.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL  PAT   CAROTHERS,  Chairman,   Alaska  Veterans   Advisory                                                              
Council, said the  Archie Van Winkel Memorial that  is in front of                                                              
the tram  is an  example of what  can be done.  Van Winkel  is the                                                              
only Alaska born Medal of Honor recipient.  After the monument was                                                              
purchased  and put in  place, there  was an  excess of $2,000.  At                                                              
about 2 percent interest, it earned  $47 last year. This has given                                                              
them all the money they need for the upkeep.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     You can see  that within five years there  would be more                                                                   
     than enough  to go  around and support  all the  rest of                                                                   
     these memorials as they should.  The bottom line is that                                                                   
     we feel very strongly that the  memory of those veterans                                                                   
     that have  preceded us in  death and those  veterans who                                                                   
     are here  now have certain  memorials honoring  them for                                                                   
     their  sacrifice  not  only   to  America,  but  to  the                                                                   
     citizens  of this  state,  that the  legislature  should                                                                   
     come up with the other half  of the money to insure that                                                                   
     these memorial  do not deteriorate and if  they do, that                                                                   
     they immediately  are taken  care of -  that any  of the                                                                   
     memorials in  this state do  not dishonor the  memory of                                                                   
     these veterans. This is what  we are seeking. The people                                                                   
     have already put their money  up, that's in the bank. We                                                                   
     ask fervently  that you pass this important  legislation                                                                   
     favorably out of this committee.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  STEVENS  asked  if  there  were  plans  for  any  future                                                              
memorials and would this fund help do that.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CAROTHERS  replied absolutely.  PFC Martinez, a  native of                                                              
Colorado  who, probably  unknown to  anyone, was  the only  one to                                                              
receive the Medal  of Honor for action in Alaska  during World War                                                              
II. He died  on Attu and received  the Medal posthumously.  "He is                                                              
not a  native of Alaska,  neither was  Sergeant Dicks  and neither                                                              
was Sergeant  Bonsteel, but  they're all good  people and  they in                                                              
one measure or another, have contributed  to the greatness of this                                                              
state through their personal serviceā€¦"                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He told  them that Sergeant Bonsteel,  who died recently,  came to                                                              
Juneau annually and visited many  service organizations to instill                                                              
the spirit  of patriotism  in the community.  He said that  we are                                                              
indebted  to all  five  of those  people. He  said  that the  U.S.                                                              
Juneau memorial on  our waterfront bearing the  names of everybody                                                              
that  was on  her  when  she went  down  hasn't been  polished  in                                                              
probably 20 years. This fund would take care of that adequately.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVIS  said she supported  this bill in State  Affairs and                                                              
she was supporting it here, too.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LARRY PERSILY,  Deputy Commissioner,  Department of  Revenue,                                                              
said he would explain briefly how the tax credit would work.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Pretty simply  this would work  just like the  education                                                                   
     tax credit program works. We  have had that on the books                                                                   
     since  1987. The  way it works  and the  way this  would                                                                   
     work is a taxpayer could get  a tax credit against their                                                                   
     corporate taxes  of 50 percent up to the  first $100,000                                                                   
     donation  and   100  percent  of  the   second  $100,000                                                                   
     donation. At  a maximum, if someone donated  $200,000 to                                                                   
     this fund  in a  given year, they  would a $150,000  tax                                                                   
     credit  against  their  corporate income  taxes  to  the                                                                   
     state.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     In  FY 01  we  had about  $2  million in  education  tax                                                                   
     credits  that were  used  by 37  taxpayers.  To get  the                                                                   
     education  tax credit,  your donation  has to  be to  an                                                                   
     accredited  college  or  university in  the  state.  So,                                                                   
     we're looking  at the University of Alaska  system, APU,                                                                   
     Sheldon  Jackson.  Of  the  $2  million  in  credits  97                                                                   
     percent was  used by 16 taxpayers.  So you had  21 other                                                                   
     taxpayers who used a very small portion of it.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     The way this  legislation is written, a  corporate donor                                                                   
     would have  that $150,000 a  year maximum credit  total.                                                                   
     It wouldn't be  per program. So they could  give to this                                                                   
     fund or a  combination of this fund and  the university,                                                                   
     but they would max out at $150,000.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN STEVENS  asked if the  money that's already  been donated                                                              
has been eligible for this tax credit yet.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. PERSILY  replied that  it hadn't been.  "Any donations  to the                                                              
tax credit  now are  limited solely  to the  education tax  credit                                                              
program, which would be to accredited  colleges and universities."                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  STEVENS asked,  "Do they  get any kind  of deduction  at                                                              
all?"                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CAROTHERS indicated that they didn't get any at all.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN STEVENS  said that  indicated how  much people  like this                                                              
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. PERSILY said the funds would endow the program.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN said at some time they  should review the tax credit                                                              
percentage structure.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. PERSILY said that a lot of corporations give the maximum.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN moved to pass SB 267  from committee with individual                                                              
recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                

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