Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/01/1993 03:55 PM TRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CHAIRMAN SHARP brought SB 167 (MARINE FUEL TAX REVENUE SHARING) before the committee as the next order of business and noted that the Anchorage, Craig, Sitka, Ketchikan, Wrangell and Petersburg teleconference sites were participating in this portion of the meeting. Number 055 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS requested that he be excused from the remainder of the meeting in order to attend budget closeouts in the Senate Finance Committee. The Chair excused Senator Phillips. Number 085 CHAIRMAN SHARP opened the public hearing on SB 167 to testimony over the teleconference network. PAUL ANDERSON, City Councilman, City of Petersburg, referred to page 2, line 5, and stated he objected to the word "owned." He said there have been two surveys in the last two years of all harbors in the state, one by DOT and one by the Army Corps of Engineers. The purpose of the surveys was to find harbor deficiencies, and when they are found, the state puts them on a deferred maintenance basis. During this last fiscal year there has been zero dollars budgeted in state harbors. Municipalities are trying to take over these harbors for the state, but they cannot afford to take them over until they are brought up to code, and they could use some of the operation and maintenance money from the tax revenue. Number 115 JIM STROMDAHL, Harbor Master, City of Petersburg, concurred with the previous speaker's remarks. He said one of Petersburg's harbors is over 30 years old and another one is 22 years old. Both harbors need major maintenance before the city could take them over and work out a cost-effective plan so they could run the harbors in the future. Number 150 DOUG ENSLEY, Director of Ports & Harbors, City of Ketchikan, concurred with the previous speakers' comments on SB 167. Ketchikan's facilities are extremely old and the conditions are very poor. They do their maintenance, however, the local funding is not sufficient. He believes SB 167 is a good step in the right direction to assist the communities that are operating boat harbors and bringing them to a more acceptable condition. Mr. Ensley suggested amending SB 167 to remove any language which puts in a formula dividing the facilities between what are municipally owned and what are primarily state owned. Number 210 JUD FAGER, City Assembly, City & Borough of Sitka, said with DOT pushing to give ownership to municipalities, there has to be a fiscal side of revenue coming from municipalities. He said municipalities do not want to change from the State of Alaska being responsible for major maintenance and construction over $10,000. Harbors are run like a business, set up as an enterprise fund, and they won't enter into a losing proposition, he said. Mr. Fager pointed out that the legislation provides that the revenues would be used only for harbors, etc., and he suggested adding that it could also be used for bonding capabilities for further construction. Number 250 BRIAN BERGMAN, Harbor Master, City & Borough of Sitka, suggested as a clarification, that on page 1, line 9 and page 2, line 1, to substitute the word "port" for the word "water." He said the municipal water systems are part of the harbor facilities themselves. Number 275 SENATOR LINCOLN asked if the definition of "moorage facility" could include a facility on a river. RON LIND, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, clarified that the reason the words "water and harbor facilities" are in the legislation is because launch ramps are not really harbors and are not moorage facilities. He said his interpretation of "moorage" would be that the lineal footage of a launch ramp would not be applicable because a boat is not moored at a launch ramp. If there was a temporary floatation or a temporary docking structure along a river or a lake where a boat could be moored, that would qualify. SENATOR LINCOLN said she would like to see the bill written as broadly as possible so that it won't have to be amended later, but her concern is assuring that the taxes be given to the area where the revenue taxation occurs versus where the retail sale occurs. Number 345 LARRY MEYERS, Director, Income & Excise Audit Division, Department of Revenue, said the department has been wrestling with the question of how to identify where the ultimate use of the tax dollars are. Right now, the tax system is set up whereby they tax at the first entry into the state or at the wholesale level. The department emphasis, in the past, has been to tax them when they know they have the best chance of administrating the taxes. Number 360 SENATOR LINCOLN requested that the issue be looked into to see if there is a way to cleanup the language to deal with where the actual use of that fuel occurs. Number 390 RON LIND, referred to page 2, line 7, and said the way it is written it would be the commissioner of the Department of Revenue who would determine the total linear footage. However, the Department of Revenue doesn't have that information available, and it is suggested that the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities determine the total linear footage owned by the state. Also, on page 2, lines 2 and 3, he suggested adding an amendment that would speak to the municipalities certifying the amount of the sales within the municipality and the total lineal footage that was owned by the municipality as a way to try and keep down the administrative costs of running this program. He added that one of the biggest problems that will come if they start doing a proration or attempt to find fuel use statistics on very localized areas is the cost of administration, which is going to be very high. Number 430 JOE AMBROSE, staff to Senator Robin Taylor, said several points have been raised in the hearing on SB 167, and Senator Taylor is more than willing to consider any amendments to it. Number 450 TOM BRIGGS, City Administrator, City of Craig, said the purpose of the original House bill was to enable a municipality that is going to take over the ownership and operations of their harbor facilities, which have been owned by DOT up to this point, to have some revenue to maintain and improve, if necessary, those harbors. There are several communities in Alaska that have assumed ownership of their harbors, and the purpose of the bill is to enable the tax that is collected for marine watercraft fuels to go to the municipality to maintain the harbor facility. He said the municipalities that are participating in this want to take over the responsibility, and they are asking for an incentive for the municipal governments to start assuming those things which have been funded by the general fund up to now. Number 480 There being no other witnesses wishing to testify on SB 167, CHAIRMAN SHARP said it would be held in committee for further work.