Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/09/1995 01:38 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
              HOUSE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS                             
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                         March 9, 1995                                         
                           1:38 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative Alan Austerman, Co-Chair                                       
 Representative Ivan, Co-Chair                                                 
 Representative Kim Elton                                                      
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 Representative Pete Kott                                                      
 Representative Irene Nicholia                                                 
                                                                               
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
                                                                               
 Representative Jerry Mackie                                                   
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 HB 154:    "An Act requiring the Department of Law to provide                 
            guidelines regarding unconstitutional state and                    
            municipal takings of private real property; relating               
            to the taxation of private real property taken                     
            unconstitutionally by state or municipal action;                   
            establishing a time limit for bringing an action for               
            an unconstitutional state or municipal taking of private           
            real property; and providing for an effective date."               
                                                                               
            HEARD AND HELD                                                     
                                                                               
 * HB 185:  "An Act relating to an exemption from municipal property           
            taxes for certain primary residences; and providing for            
            an effective date."                                                
                                                                               
            HEARD AND HELD                                                     
                                                                               
 (* First public hearing)                                                      
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VIC KOHRING                                                    
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol Building, Room 428                                              
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
 Telephone: (907) 465-2186                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced new CS for HB 154                             
                                                                               
 STEVE NOEY                                                                    
 11271 Mountain Lake Drive                                                     
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
 Telephone: (907) 346-2208                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Recounted personal experience with land taking           
                      by the state                                             
                                                                               
 BILL CUMMINGS, Assistant Attorney General                                     
 Transportation Section                                                        
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0300                                                         
 Telephone: (907) 465-3603                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on behalf of the Department of Law             
                                                                               
 JOE RYAN, Legislative Assistant                                               
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 State Capitol Building, Room 216                                              
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
 Telephone: (907) 465-3719                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented in support of HB 154 and of the work           
                      done by Representative Vic Kohring                       
                                                                               
 CRAIG LYON, Legislative Aide                                                  
 Representative Vic Kohring                                                    
 State Capitol Building, Room 428                                              
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
 Telephone: (907) 465-2186                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided backup for the testimony given by               
                      Representative Vic Kohring                               
                                                                               
 SARA HANNON, Lobbyist                                                         
 Alaska Environmental Lobby, Inc.                                              
 P.O. Box 22151                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99802                                                              
 Telephone: (907) 463-3366                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against HB 185                                 
                                                                               
 DOYLE CURRIER                                                                 
 P.O. Box 52014                                                                
 Big Lake, AK 99652                                                            
 Telephone: (907) 892-6297                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 154                             
                                                                               
 TOM WRIGHT, Legislative Assistant                                             
 Representative Ivan                                                           
 State Capitol Building, Room 503                                              
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
 Telephone: (907) 465-4942                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 185                                        
                                                                               
 KEVIN RITCHIE, Executive Director                                             
 Alaska Municipal League                                                       
 217 2nd Street, Ste. 200                                                      
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
 Telephone: (907) 586-1325                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 185                                      
                                                                               
 RUPE ANDREWS, Representative                                                  
 Alaska Association of Retired Persons                                         
 9416 Long Run Drive                                                           
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
 Telephone: (907) 789-7422                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 185                                      
                                                                               
 GENE DAW                                                                      
 Veterans of Foreign Wars; and                                                 
 Alaska Association of Retired Persons                                         
 P.O. Box 20995                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99802                                                              
 Telephone: (907) 586-3816                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 185                                      
                                                                               
 LAMAR COTTEN, Deputy Commissioner                                             
 Department of Community and Regional Affairs                                  
 P.O. Box 112100                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-2100                                                         
 Telephone: (907) 465-4700                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 185                           
                                                                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 154                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: REGULATORY TAKING OF PRIVATE PROPERTY                            
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KOHRING, Rokeberg                               
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 02/03/95       237    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/03/95       237    (H)   CRA, JUD, FIN                                     
 02/16/95              (H)   CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
 02/21/95              (H)   CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
 02/21/95              (H)   MINUTE(CRA)                                       
 03/01/95       550    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): ROKEBERG                            
 03/09/95              (H)   CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
                                                                              
 BILL:  HB 185                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS                                
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) IVAN                                            
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTIO                                       
 02/20/95       418    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/20/95       418    (H)   COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS, FINANCE             
 03/09/95              (H)   CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-6, SIDE A                                                             
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN called the House Community and Regional Affairs                 
 Committee meeting to order at 1:38 p.m.  He listed the meeting                
 agenda and recognized those testifying via teleconference.  The               
 meeting was being teleconferenced to Anchorage, Fairbanks, Mat-Su             
 and Kenai/Soldotna.                                                           
                                                                               
 HCRA - 03/09/95                                                               
 HB 154 - REGULATORY TAKING OF PRIVATE PROPERTY                              
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN invited Representative Vic Kohring to introduce the             
 new Committee Substitute for HB 154.  He entertained a motion to              
 adopt the CS for HB 154 for discussion purposes.                              
                                                                               
 Number 041                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT moved that the CS for HB 154 be adopted by           
 the committee for discussion.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 043                                                                    
                                                                               
 Hearing no objection, the committee substitute for HB 154 was                 
 adopted for discussion purposes.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 047                                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VIC KOHRING, Sponsor, said he appreciated the                  
 opportunity to come before the committee to discuss CS for HB 154.            
 He had two primary changes to the bill he wished to discuss.  The             
 first one called for the Department of Law to draw up guidelines              
 identifying what exactly determined a regulatory taking and what              
 procedures would be required to assist the victim regarding                   
 compensation for a taking.  The second change dealt with the                  
 compensation.  The original wording in the bill stated the victim             
 would be compensated in the event there was a taking which reduced            
 the assessed value of the property.  As the bill sponsor,                     
 Representative Kohring wanted to take this one step further and               
 require that full compensation of the reduction in value be paid to           
 the property owner in cash.  Another point Representative Kohring             
 made was the bill writers took the word "unconstitutional" out of             
 the bill and from the title.  Representative Kohring also pointed             
 out that 11 different states had enacted similar legislation                  
 throughout the Lower U.S. and this year 13 other states had similar           
 bills that were being deliberated.  A bill similar to this has been           
 taken up for consideration in Congress.  There also have been some            
 court cases at the U.S. Supreme Court level as well as the Alaska             
 Supreme Court level, where rulings have recognized the rights of              
 private property owners and curtailed the ability of governments to           
 impose excessive costs on businesses as a condition of further                
 development.  These courts have also said public good is best                 
 served by protecting individuals from the arbitrary power of the              
 state.  Another point pertained to a recent survey done by the                
 National Federation of Independent Businesses which found 81                  
 percent of small business owners supported the notion that                    
 government be required to pay just compensation to property owners.           
 Representative Kohring believed the passage of this bill would                
 provide public protection from the government concerning any                  
 unconstitutional taking of private property without some form of              
 compensation.  He stated there were witnesses on teleconference               
 wishing to testify in support of this bill.  He invited Craig Lyon,           
 his legislative aide, to discuss the bill.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 125                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if the committee had any questions or comments.           
 He invited Steve Noey on teleconference from Anchorage to testify             
 on HB 154.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 131                                                                    
                                                                               
 STEVE NOEY, testified via teleconference in support of HB 154.  The           
 various cases Representative Kohring referred to, on both the State           
 and Federal Supreme Court level, have been expensive for the                  
 individual because there was no codified law effecting just                   
 compensation under the Fifth Amendment.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 152                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN invited Bill Cummings from the Department of Law to             
 testify.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 159                                                                    
                                                                               
 BILL CUMMINGS, Assistant Attorney General, Transportation Section,            
 Department of Law (DOL), commented on HB 154.  He apologized for              
 having just received the committee substitute.                                
                                                                               
 MR. CUMMINGS listed his concerns regarding the statutes.  The first           
 pertained to the requirement imposed upon the DOL to come up with             
 annual guidelines constituting a regulatory taking.  The DOL had              
 serious concerns because it would be a difficult duty to perform.             
 Each of the takings cases one reads in the U.S. Supreme Court are             
 incredibly fact dependent.  There might be circumstances in one               
 case that have no particular relation to other applications or fact           
 patterns.  Another difficulty is that the DOL represents agencies             
 that promulgate regulations someone might claim was a regulatory              
 taking.  This puts the department in a difficult position of having           
 to explain what has already been said and makes it difficult to               
 defend just and appropriate actions of state agencies.                        
                                                                               
 MR. CUMMINGS discussed the statute of limitations.  The difficulty            
 with this is people want to believe five years is a reasonable time           
 limit to bring suit if there is a regulatory taking.  This ignores            
 a long-standing tradition in Alaska law and most other                        
 jurisdictions in the United States.  Complaining against an                   
 administrative agency, a person should first exhaust administrative           
 remedies before running to court to bring action.  Secondly, most             
 of these administrative actions a person complains about are                  
 appealed to a Superior Court.  One could go to the Superior Court             
 if other attempts for filing one's complaint haven't been noticed.            
 This usually has to be done within 30 days.  By allowing the five             
 year statute of limitations, there could be decisions that are                
 reached with no finality and the government could find it difficult           
 to conduct its affairs.  Finally, in regard to annually creating              
 the guidelines, it could take two months to do the first set of               
 guidelines and the yearly revisions.  The guidelines would be                 
 little more than just listing individual cases because of the                 
 special nature of the cases and because they are fact specific.  He           
 welcomed questions from the committee.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 231                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON wondered if this bill would be a                     
 playground for attorneys because of the potential litigation that             
 could occur whenever someone determined a taking.                             
                                                                               
 Number 245                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. CUMMINGS said it had the tendency to increase litigation                  
 because there were strict procedural burdens placed on                        
 administrative agencies.  There are burdens of proof assigned to              
 administrative agencies which would increase litigation.                      
                                                                               
 Number 254                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR ALAN AUSTERMAN reconfirmed that Mr. Cummings had just                
 received the Committee Substitute.  He asked if the DOL went                  
 through these bills when they were first introduced and came up               
 with guidelines.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 258                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. CUMMINGS said that the bill he's gone through and reviewed was            
 the original one.  He believed the guideline requirements in the              
 committee substitute were the same as in the original bill.  He               
 stated there were many procedural and substantive rights created in           
 the committee substitute not included in the original bill.  The              
 original was benign in that it had specific statements that neither           
 decreased nor increased the rights of private property owners.  Mr.           
 Cummings thought a very compelling argument could made that the               
 committee substitute did exactly the opposite.                                
                                                                               
 Number 278                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if he had any suggestions on how to remedy some           
 of the problems he has noticed.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 281                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. CUMMINGS said it struck him as an extreme response.  He would             
 like to know a fact pattern this related to.  He questioned the               
 effectiveness of the original bill, but when he had the committee             
 substitute, he believed it was going to apply to just about every             
 administrative decision made by the state or municipality.  He                
 didn't think the system was broken quite that badly.  Mr. Cummings            
 wanted a sectional analysis concerning specific problems that                 
 engendered HB 154.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 296                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING said his staff aide would provide                      
 information and examples of regulatory takings that have occurred             
 in Alaska.   Representative Kohring stated the guidelines were                
 justified in moving forth and setting them up would protect                   
 peoples' private property rights from takings.  It's been                     
 commonplace for years for government entities to come in after                
 someone has acquired property and impose a restriction on how the             
 private property owner can develop his property, thus rendering               
 their property less developable, less valuable and virtually                  
 worthless.  This bill gives private property owners a chance to               
 assert their rights and tell a government agency they can't do                
 this.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 318                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. CUMMINGS asked for further questions from the committee.                  
                                                                               
 Number 324                                                                    
                                                                               
 JOE RYAN, Legislative Assistant to Representative Al Vezey, said he           
 has been helping Representative Kohring and had some input.  Mr.              
 Ryan has read about 80 examples of case law court rulings                     
 throughout the country regarding takings.  These courts have been             
 generous in their attitude toward government takings.  They have              
 allowed many times the devaluation of peoples' property and have              
 taken away the rights to their property.  When these cases have               
 finally reached appeal in the United States Supreme Court, it was             
 ruled under the Fifth Amendment that these were takings, but then             
 they remanded them back to the smaller courts for final judgment so           
 the rulings could be applied at the separate state's law.  The                
 Supreme Court didn't make any particular remedies but told the                
 lower courts to adjust their remedies and, under peculiar                     
 circumstances, the laws of that state.  The  guidelines basically             
 tell the agencies what latitude they have in the takings of                   
 personal property.  It is like operating on the concept of buying             
 an automobile and being told one could only drive it on the                   
 weekends; one would then say the government had no right to                   
 restrict the use of the automobile if a car wasn't provided for the           
 other five days.  The government takes away the value of a person's           
 property and the right to use that property when they impose                  
 unreasonable conditions, but it is the private property owner who             
 ends up paying for the property, paying the interest on the loan              
 and maintaining the property taxes.  It is taking a person's wealth           
 to devalue that property.  There would be no fiscal note or                   
 compensation costs if the agencies quit taking people's property.             
 We are not only trying to protect property but also water rights,             
 timber rights, extractable minerals, right to grow things and all             
 the things for which a person could use his property.  A government           
 taking without compensation diminishes the value of the property              
 and makes a private property owner that much poorer.  The bill is             
 very comprehensive, addressing many issues brought forth through              
 litigation.  Decisions by the United States Supreme Court said                
 those activities were not allowable under the law.  The cases                 
 should have been addressed as public nuisance and/or eminent                  
 domain.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 383                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked Representative Kohring about specific data or             
 cases concerning a regulatory taking.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 386                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING said his staff aide, Craig Lyon, had the               
 information.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 387                                                                    
                                                                               
 CRAIG LYON, Legislative Aide to Representative Vic Kohring, said              
 there were numerous cases around the country.  He referred to two             
 cases that were determined.  The first was Lucas v. South Carolina,         
 and the second, Dowlan v. Tigard.  The cases in Alaska were Noey         
 DEC and Kenai v. Burnett.  The latter was a case in which the city        
 of Kenai granted an easement to a citizen by ordinance for access             
 to his property which he'd planned to subdivide.  The city later              
 leased adjacent land to a developer for a golf course and removed             
 the property owner's access.  The citizen was unable to secure                
 other access because of the cost of putting in another road and               
 couldn't continue development plans.  The Alaska Supreme Court held           
 that a compensable taking had occurred but ruled on several grounds           
 that it had not taken place at the time the lower courts ruled it             
 had and the Supreme Court remanded it back to the lower court to              
 reconsider the compensation aspects.  Mr. Lyon said Mr. Noey could            
 probably better explain the case he brought to the State Supreme              
 Court.  Mr. Lyon was willing to go over the U.S. Supreme Court                
 cases if the committee wished.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 409                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if Mr. Noey was still on line.                            
                                                                               
 Number 411                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. NOEY explained his case which started in 1982.  The DOL                   
 explained the administrative appeal process and followed an                   
 administrative appeal in 1984 which went to the Supreme Court.  It            
 was heard in 1987 and remanded back for administrative appeal.  His           
 case went through two more appeal hearings and finally went through           
 the administrative appeal process in 1991.  Because this                      
 administrative process was so lengthy and expensive, Mr. Noey filed           
 a case to the Superior Court in an attempt to speed it up because             
 he had exhausted his administrative remedies.  The current system             
 is cumbersome for someone trying to get results.  Getting through             
 the administrative process could take eight or nine years where               
 this law specifies the time limit.  Mr. Noey's case was set up by             
 the department instead of being an administrative procedure and it            
 went to the first administrative hearing where a member of that               
 same division was the administrative hearing officer in favor of              
 the division.  Mr. Noey then didn't have an impartial body hearing            
 the evidence of his case.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 435                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if committee members had any questions or                 
 comments.  He invited Mr. Lyon to describe another case.                      
                                                                               
 Number 438                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. LYON noted he had two U.S. Supreme Court cases to discuss if              
 the committee was interested.  He said he had 15 other state                  
 Supreme Court cases that related to takings.  He also had other               
 cases or instances where regulations devalued or inhibited property           
 owners use of their land.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 443                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if the committee would like to hear the other             
 cases.                                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 449                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING pointed out that his staff had accumulated             
 information regarding Alaska residents who were considered victims.           
 He said he was amazed at the number of people who have come to him            
 expressing their interest in HB 154 and who have shared their                 
 personal cases.  He reiterated that a taking wasn't about literally           
 taking land back, but about reducing the value of the land.  When             
 restrictions are placed on property by a state agency or a                    
 governmental agency, the litigation caseload would increase.                  
 Representative Kohring believed the caseload would decrease with              
 these kinds of restrictions in place because they would make clear            
 to a government agency these private property owners had rights.              
 A government can't impinge on these rights because there would be             
 a repercussion in having to compensate the victim.  He believed HB
 154 would be an incentive for government agencies not to impose               
 restrictions and would affect the amount of resulting litigation.             
 He pointed out he wasn't anti-regulation but believed in the rights           
 of private property owners.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 473                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked if there were several states with similar           
 measures.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 475                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING said within the last two years, a total of             
 32 other states have submitted similar legislation almost identical           
 to HB 154.  Six of those bills have passed into law.                          
                                                                               
 Number 478                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked if there had been a proliferation of                
 litigation based on those statutes in the books?                              
                                                                               
 Number 481                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. LYON stated the information he has found has not suggested an             
 explosion in litigation as it has only been recently that those               
 bills have passed.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 485                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked if the bill sponsor had requested                   
 research from those states that have implemented similar measures             
 to find out in what direction the Alaskan Legislature should head.            
                                                                               
 Number 487                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. LYON said that he had requested information on litigation from            
 the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the                  
 American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Initial reports                
 state litigation has not occurred.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 491                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT said the committee's questions could be                   
 answered if the Department of Law in those states with similar                
 measures was contacted.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 494                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN asked if there was a new fiscal note with the              
 committee substitute or if the existing fiscal note was still the             
 same.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 496                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. LYON said the committee substitute had just come out so he                
 thought the DOL was going to keep it the same, as the                         
 representative from the DOL stated the guidelines were virtually              
 the same.  He didn't want to speak for the DOL but he assumed it              
 would be similar.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 501                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING wanted to add as far as the cost that would            
 be incurred, one was talking about a zero fiscal note because it              
 would be the agencies that would provide compensation through the             
 budgets so there wouldn't be any extra financial burden on the                
 state of Alaska.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 507                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said if the bill didn't move from the                    
 committee it may behoove the committee to solicit some comments               
 from other parties who hadn't commented on the affect on                      
 municipalities.  The committee may want to talk to the Alaska                 
 Municipal League (AML) and other municipalities.                              
                                                                               
 Number 513                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. LYON stated the AML did request information before the first              
 hearing but he wasn't sure if the AML wanted to come before the               
 committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 515                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he found the bill to be interesting as              
 he'd followed a number of the court cases.  He wanted to have a               
 scheduled teleconference to see input from around the state before            
 the committee passed the bill.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 522                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN agreed and asked for questions or comments from                 
 committee members.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 527                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING expressed his appreciation of the                      
 committee's time and consideration toward HB 154.  He would be                
 willing to provide subsequent information and arrange the                     
 teleconference.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 534                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked the bill sponsor to explain Section 10 as           
 it related to Section 11 which asked the DOL to prepare the                   
 guidelines by January 1996 but enacted the bill in July 1995.  He             
 wondered if this bill would be enacted with no guidelines and if              
 the government would have to compensate retroactively.                        
                                                                               
 Number 538                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. LYON said he believed the bill would become effective July                
 1995.  He stated the DOL couldn't start drawing up the guidelines             
 until the bill came into effect and when it did come into effect,             
 the DOL needed to have the initial guidelines done by January 1996.           
                                                                               
 Number 548                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked if this bill shouldn't tie the effective            
 date more in line with the guideline date called for in the bill.             
 He wanted to know how long it's going to take the DOL to put the              
 guidelines in place if HB 154 become law.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 554                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOHRING said he's working with the DOL on                      
 identifying the appropriate timing of those two dates.                        
                                                                               
 Number 557                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN invited Bill Cummings from the DOL to respond to the            
 question.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 562                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT expressed his concern on the effective date and           
 the date called for the DOL to have the guidelines in place.                  
                                                                               
 Number 565                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. CUMMINGS said a better drafting technique to the substantive              
 provisions of the Act would be effective on the latest date.  The             
 DOL would have the guidelines done and six months later, the rest             
 of the bill would go into effect.  This technique is used quite               
 frequently to have various effective dates for various portions of            
 a bill.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 574                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked if Mr. Cummings was familiar with any               
 other states that have implemented this kind of statute on their              
 books and whether there had been a proliferation in lawsuits.                 
                                                                               
 Number 576                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. CUMMINGS said he wasn't familiar with any of the other states             
 that have enacted it.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 580                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if this problem had been identified in rural              
 Alaska before, and how the DOL dealt with these cases and problems            
 that may have occurred.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 582                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. CUMMINGS answered these cases depend upon where one is going to           
 cut the line because the legislation makes reference to private,              
 real and personal property.  Under this legislation, when there has           
 been a constitutional taking and whoever is affected, has to make             
 payment for it.  He believed the impact of this legislation will              
 occur in Alaska's urban centers.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 593                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN said he understood that the DOL had some problems               
 with this legislation because the DOL thought it benefitted state             
 agencies.  He wondered about individuals having problems with this.           
 He was on the side of individuals having these kinds of problems.             
                                                                               
 Number 601                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. CUMMINGS stated the assumption that state and cities are                  
 uncaring and don't care much about the rights of private property             
 was not a fair comment.  The people he works with are very                    
 conscious of the impact they have upon private property owners and            
 they try to craft what they are doing as narrowly as they can.  The           
 examples such as Mr. Noey's and in Kenai are extreme examples.  He            
 questioned all other situations where there wasn't a regulatory               
 taking and how it's possible to paint a horrible picture.                     
                                                                               
 Number 614                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN stated that he would hold this bill until next                  
 Thursday and try to coordinate telephone calls to other states and            
 Legal Services.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 617                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked if this bill was being teleconferenced              
 and if there were other witnesses that wished to testify.                     
                                                                               
 Number 622                                                                    
                                                                               
 SARA HANNON, Lobbyist, Alaska Environmental Lobby, Inc., said she             
 would speak as a citizen and a student of public policy.  She                 
 wanted the committee to think about this in the real context.  She            
 stated the committee hadn't heard the fact pattern behind the two             
 given examples.  She wondered what were the resolutions and what              
 was the infringement of property rights.  She urged the committee             
 to remember the whole basis of the judicial system and law body was           
 the best protection for the individual and equal application of the           
 law.  She stated the closest infringement of one's property rights            
 usually comes from your neighbor's behavior.  If one wanted to cut            
 down his trees on his private property, it didn't impact his                  
 neighbor, but if your neighbor wanted to open a waste incinerator             
 next to you, that impacted your value.  She asked who does the                
 government compensate if the waste incinerator is not allowed to              
 open.  Does the government compensate the person who wanted to open           
 the waste incinerator or does it compensate all the citizens who              
 are impacted when their property value falls?  If a porn shop is              
 zoned out of business because of the residential neighborhood's               
 outcry, is the business compensated?  Or if the business was                  
 allowed to operate, is their compensation for the citizens whose              
 property values have been impacted?  She didn't believe there was             
 an upswell among the citizens of Alaska to deal with this because             
 she believed there were few cases where remedy for situations were            
 not found.  She stated there were citizens the government has                 
 treated in a malicious way or the result is malicious.  She said              
 the government wasn't trying to impact people's lives in a negative           
 way but trying to help the state of Alaska.  She urged the                    
 committee to think about the bureaucratic implications.  She                  
 believed this bill would open a litigating sink hole the state                
 would never recover from by complicating a bureaucratic government            
 and the citizens of Alaska don't care if 25 other states had                  
 takings laws.  If the state didn't need it, the laws shouldn't be             
 changed.  She agreed that the government had room for some fine               
 tuning of regulatory actions and behaviors, but HB 154 was a                  
 nightmare no local government would ever be able to keep up with              
 financially and the state of Alaska would never get out of                    
 litigation.  She urged the committee to kill the bill.                        
                                                                               
 Number 664                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if there were any questions for Sara Hannon.              
 He stated there were other teleconference witnesses wishing to                
 testify on HB 154.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 669                                                                    
                                                                               
 DOYLE CURRIER testified via teleconference, and stated everyone was           
 worrying about what the government would do in case the bill split            
 into sections.  He asked if anyone on the committee had ever been             
 in litigation with the government.  He stated that currently in the           
 Valley, they have an arbitrary setback that has caused problems               
 with the value of property.  The same size piece of property that             
 had a waterfront value of $50,000, currently has a waterfront                 
 primeval valued at $12,000.  This is justified in a daily report              
 survey.  This is part of the problem this bill would supposedly               
 address.  He believed it was long past due.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 691                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if the committee had any more questions or                
 comments for Representative Kohring's staff.  He stated he would              
 schedule a meeting on Thursday of next week where there needed to             
 be coordination to hook up with legal services from the sister                
 states.  He also asked the DOL representative, Bill Cummings, to              
 look at the committee substitute and make further comments in                 
 reference to the bill.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 702                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT agreed with Representative Vezey's earlier                
 comment and thought the committee needed to hear input from around            
 the state.  He believed the municipalities needed to voice their              
 concern because they may construe HB 154 as an unfunded mandate.              
 He stated the next course of action should be to hold the bill and            
 schedule another hearing.  He asked the bill sponsor if he was                
 planning to revise the sponsor statement.  He was still troubled              
 with the word "unconstitutional."  Since the committee has taken              
 the wording from the bill it should be reflected in the sponsor               
 statement.                                                                    
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-6, SIDE B                                                             
 Number 007                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON agreed with Representative Kott.  He expressed           
 his desire for the bill sponsor or his staff to answer within the             
 context of the committee substitute at the next meeting.  He                  
 wondered what exactly did happen in the case raised by the previous           
 testifier, where a municipality rezones a neighborhood too close to           
 a porn shop.  He was curious about the liability of the                       
 municipality and the municipal taxpayers in the context of this               
 bill in a situation like this.                                                
                                                                               
 Number  032                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN said some coordination had to be made and                       
 communications set up.  He asked if there were any more questions             
 or comments from committee members.                                           
                                                                               
 HCRA - 03/09/95                                                               
 HB 185 - MUNICIPAL PROPERTY EXEMPTIONS                                       
                                                                              
 CO-CHAIR IVAN brought up HB 185 and stated as a sponsor of this               
 bill, it wasn't his intent to move the bill, but to hear testimony            
 from interested parties, as well as comments from committee                   
 members.                                                                      
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN invited Tom Wright, his legislative aide, to present            
 HB 185 on his behalf.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 052                                                                    
                                                                               
 TOM WRIGHT, Legislative Assistant to Representative Ivan, referred            
 to Representative Kott's comments concerning unfunded mandates.  HB
 185 addresses senior citizens/disabled veterans property tax                  
 exemption.  The findings section outlines the goal of this bill and           
 one of the problems.  The cost of the senior citizens/disabled                
 veterans tax exemption program for fiscal year 1995 was $16,000,800           
 and the state reimbursed municipalities only $1.5 million for                 
 fiscal year 1995; an underfunding of about $15 million.  When the             
 program was last fully funded, in 1985, there were 5,418 taxpayers            
 eligible.  For fiscal year 1995, there are 12,197 taxpayers                   
 eligible.  One reason why Representative Ivan introduced this bill            
 was to get discussion on the table regarding unfunded mandates.               
 There have been a number of issues brought before the legislature             
 concerning federal unfunded mandates.  This issue on a state level            
 was the senior citizens' property or disabled veterans' property              
 tax exemption is an unfunded mandate.  He stated he has done quite            
 a bit of research regarding this bill and there was also a bill               
 introduced by Governor Hickel last year, HB 66, that almost made it           
 through the system.  Representative Ivan has had discussions with             
 various senior groups and with various veterans groups and it is              
 currently his intention to exempt the disabled veterans and keep              
 the current program in place.  Mr. Wright stated the disabled                 
 veteran portion did not make up a very large part of the exemption            
 and it was the chairman's wish to keep that exemption in place.               
 Another aspect not included in this bill is a renter rebate program           
 which is another part of this exemption.  It is the equivalency of            
 the property tax exemption.  It was Mr. Wright's understanding that           
 Kevin Ritchie, executive director of the Alaska Municipal League              
 (AML), had extensive discussions with some of the senior groups, in           
 particular the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), with           
 regard to this exemption.  Concessions were made that Mr. Wright              
 didn't wish to discuss because he wasn't involved in those                    
 negotiations.  He stated that Kevin Ritchie from AML was present,             
 as was a representative from senior groups and disabled veterans              
 groups.  He said there were witnesses on teleconference wishing to            
 testify.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 125                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked for questions or comments from the committee.             
                                                                               
 Number 129                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT said that it would be better if Kevin Ritchie, from the            
 AML, testified first to discuss these negotiations before the                 
 public testified.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 137                                                                    
                                                                               
 KEVIN RITCHIE, Executive Director, Alaska Municipal League (AML),             
 said the AML has placed this most problematic issue, unfunded                 
 mandates for municipalities, before the legislature to make it a              
 local option.  The AML has always maintained the member communities           
 had intended to provide a program on the local level.  Recently,              
 the AML met with representatives from senior and disabled veteran             
 groups and the conclusion of those discussions was that the                   
 disabled veterans did not support a reduction in the program.  The            
 AARP, however, representing a large number of Alaskan seniors,                
 offered a compromise that the AML believes fulfills the goals of              
 the AML and the AARP which is to reduce the mandatory exemption               
 from $150 thousand down to $75 thousand.  Currently, the average              
 exemption in the state of Alaska on housing for seniors under this            
 program, is $87,266.  This doesn't mean there would be a $50                  
 thousand decrease in the cost of the program but for the larger               
 municipalities, the net decrease in the subsidy would be about 25             
 percent of what they now pay, if this compromise were to become               
 law.  This amount is offset by a larger increase to school                    
 foundation formula funding because the assessed value taxed in the            
 communities across the state would increase by around $300 million.           
 Mr. Ritchie said this was a true compromise and the AARP suggested            
 this was a real problem for municipalities.  The municipal                    
 governments currently have to carefully balance the resources they            
 have to best meet the needs in their own communities.  He stated              
 there were many other needs that could be as pressing that were not           
 being well met, so HB 185 was an attempt to balance the needs and             
 resources of communities to come up with a compromise that worked             
 for both parties.  He said he had been in communication with the              
 AML legislative committee and board, and the AML has yet to present           
 this to all the municipalities.  He believed coming before the                
 committee was a good introduction to this and the AML intended to             
 get in detailed conversations with all the municipalities in the              
 league.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 199                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked if it was acceptable to cut $150                   
 thousand to $75 thousand, and did it then mean the local option               
 language would come out and would it still be a mandated state                
 program?                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 206                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. RITCHIE said it would be a mandated state program up to $75               
 thousand and then there would be an option above that amount.  The            
 nuance was to encourage municipalities to keep the exemption the              
 same if they desired.   In general, optional exemptions if they are           
 granted by a municipality, still are required to be counted when              
 the government figures up the foundation funding.  Mr. Ritchie's              
 recommendation would be that if people chose to maintain the                  
 program between $75 to 150 thousand, those communities were not               
 penalized by having more assessed value included in the foundation            
 formula.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 221                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if there were any questions.  He invited Rupe             
 Andrews from Juneau to testify.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 256                                                                    
                                                                               
 RUPE ANDREWS said he was representing the AARP and there wasn't               
 much more he could add to the comments made by Kevin Ritchie.                 
 Representatives from the AARP and Kevin Ritchie have sat down and             
 discussed and negotiated this.  The AARP is a victim of a public              
 policy that had good intentions in the beginning and allowed                  
 seniors to remain in their own homes as long as possible in the               
 face of a circuit breaker policy.  It has worked well for 20 years            
 but AARP does recognize that municipalities have a problem.  The              
 government needs to share some of that burden the municipalities              
 are facing and the AARP has developed this compromise of a 50                 
 percent downward movement to $75 thousand of the first appraised              
 value.  Mr. Andrews said the AARP thought this would target the               
 lowest income group, but they wouldn't fall through the cracks;               
 it's a safety net and he believed it was a fair way to negotiate              
 this.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 280                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked in Mr. Andrews' discussions and                    
 negotiations, what exactly was the problem.  Representative Vezey             
 said he assumed it dealt with municipal revenues.  He  hadn't                 
 checked out many municipalities, but their assessed valuations had            
 steadily risen in the past ten years.  This meant revenues were               
 steadily rising.  He wasn't aware of any that had any significant             
 changes in their mill rates.  He stated revenues have been rising,            
 perhaps not as fast as inflation of certain costs of providing                
 government services, but he asked what the particular problem was.            
                                                                               
 Number 299                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. ANDREWS said originally, the problem was the seniors who were             
 on fixed incomes watched the acceleration of property values and              
 corresponding tax rates and were really concerned they would lose             
 their property.  They are faced with an option of selling and                 
 leaving Alaska, moving in with children or doing something else and           
 this was their concern.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 308                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said this was a problem from the seniors'                
 perspective, but what was the problem from the municipal                      
 perspective.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 310                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. ANDREWS said the original intent of the legislature was to                
 reimburse municipalities, but since then there may have only been             
 one year when it was ever fully funded.  He stated it has been                
 underfunded for the vast majority of time it has been in existence            
 which is now causing a financial burden on the municipalities.                
                                                                               
 Number 317                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he'd started looking at assessment rolls            
 and looked at his own personal property tax records and then looked           
 at the municipality as a whole.   He stated the senior property tax           
 exemption was an unfunded mandate and has been for seven to eight             
 years, but revenues have been rising.  He's looked at very few and            
 he questioned whether they were the exception or whether municipal            
 revenue has been rising.                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 329                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. ANDREWS said he could only speak for the Juneau Borough and say           
 that it has been rising.  He mentioned his own home had increased             
 $37,000 in the last 3 years.                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 334                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said his personal residence taxes and the                
 assessed value had gone up 250 percent in the last 12 years.  Two             
 years ago, the legislature looked at a similar bill, and                      
 Representative Vezey had concerns because they were dealing with an           
 unfunded mandate.  He stated he didn't like unfunded mandates. He             
 is of the opinion municipalities are crying wolf in that they want            
 more money.  There isn't a shortage as there is more revenue money            
 coming in, but they still want more and Representative Vezey said             
 he wasn't sure that he wanted to balance this request on the back             
 of the seniors.  If monies were going down, he could see the need             
 to change policy.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 346                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. ANDREWS said he couldn't speak to this.  He would have to take            
 the word of the AML in this case and from the other members that              
 testified two years ago.  Even though the revenues may be going up,           
 municipalities are still experiencing a burden.                               
                                                                               
 Number 352                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked Kevin Ritchie to answer the question.                     
                                                                               
 Number 356                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. RITCHIE replied the answer was largely the tax increase people            
 see on their local level due to cutbacks and state funding in areas           
 like the senior citizen property tax exemption and in areas like              
 municipal assistance and revenue sharing.  Municipal assistance and           
 revenue sharing has been cut back 55 percent in the last 9 years.             
 To Anchorage, this means about three mills of property tax is                 
 replacing the state funding, while not counting the fact that                 
 inflation has been a big factor since that time.  One reason being,           
 the changes in the basic agreement municipalities had with the                
 state, and the funding has gone way down and the mandates have gone           
 way up.  Mandates are in a whole lot of different areas.  When Mr.            
 Ritchie was the manager of the Juneau municipality, the municipal             
 assistance would go down every year and the funding for senior                
 citizen property tax exemption would go down.  When the                       
 commensurate cuts were made in the departments, each one said they            
 couldn't up-keep certain things due to lack of funding.  There                
 isn't really a choice in those types of situations, but much of               
 what's been seen across the state has actually been the                       
 municipality getting more to do from the state and less money to do           
 it than was part of the original agreement.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 383                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said if we were to change the legislative                
 policy and fund our senior and disabled veterans property tax                 
 exemption program, it wouldn't be an unfunded mandate.  The AML's             
 revenues wouldn't go up because the government would take at least            
 as much, if not more, out of municipal assistance.  If this                   
 occurred, he asked what would municipalities be asking for then.              
                                                                               
 Number 391                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. RITCHIE said municipal assistance and revenue sharing partially           
 covers all of the unfunded mandates the state has placed upon                 
 municipalities at this time.  There was a 143-page report that had            
 been put out by the Legislative Research Agency listing all of the            
 unfunded mandates the state put on municipalities.  Mr. Ritchie               
 stated there were hundreds of unfunded mandates that exist and                
 that's part of what cities do.  If the government were to take the            
 money from municipal assistance and revenue sharing and put it into           
 the senior citizen property tax exemption program, it would be                
 taking money to cover one unfunded mandate and creating more                  
 unfunded mandates somewhat currently covered by municipal                     
 assistance or revenue sharing.  He said this doesn't solve that               
 particular problem.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 408                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said the government was just trading dollars,            
 not creating more.  He stated he hadn't researched all the local              
 municipality problems and still hasn't looked into or looked across           
 the whole state, but he's just looked at a few specific                       
 municipalities.  He said that gross revenues to municipalities have           
 been up steadily and their budgets have been up steadily and he               
 believed it was keeping up with inflation.  He stated he was                  
 starting to believe the government was blaming the wrong people.              
                                                                               
 Number 420                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN said the government wouldn't be faced with the             
 problem if it didn't have the mandate.  He said the municipality              
 should have the responsibility of deciding whether their citizens             
 want to pay this or whether the municipality wants to tax the                 
 citizens to pay it.  Co-Chair Austerman said the government didn't            
 allow them that opportunity because they mandated it would happen             
 this way and then the government had to give money to take care of            
 the mandate.  He said it was the same basic theme the state                   
 government was having with the federal government.  Even though               
 government tax rates are going up, the inflation rates go up, the             
 cost of living goes up, the cost of operations goes up and all the            
 costs are not following along with each other.                                
                                                                               
 Number 432                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. ANDREWS said the problem with local option is, seniors would be           
 treated unequally around the state.  One municipality may not grant           
 any exemption whereas another may grant a large exemption.                    
                                                                               
 Number 438                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. RITCHIE pointed out the AML was not in favor of discontinuing             
 all exemptions for seniors or disabled veterans.  The whole issue             
 concerned local option as Co-Chair Austerman commented.  Those                
 paying the bill are local communities and the concept would be the            
 $75 thousand continue as a mandatory exemption, which                         
 philosophically isn't what the AML wants, because they pay most of            
 that bill.  He stated there would be an option, community by                  
 community, and whether to provide assistance above $75 thousand per           
 residence or not.  The AML fully expects some communities would               
 continue the current program which is one reason why the AML wants            
 language that doesn't hurt municipalities who decide to grant this            
 option all the way up.  This would simply allow citizens within a             
 community paying the bill to decide.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 454                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said the total cost of this program is                   
 currently up to an estimated $16 million.  If the government were             
 to fund that as a state legislature it would not be an unfunded               
 mandate.  The government could do away with municipal assistance              
 which he believed was about $62 million, leaving about $40 million            
 to work with.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 461                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. RITCHIE said it would create another unfunded mandate.                    
                                                                               
 Number 462                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if municipal assistance was currently an           
 unfunded mandate.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 463                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. RITCHIE replied that municipal assistance pays for the unfunded           
 mandates the state has put on municipalities by statute.                      
                                                                               
 Number 466                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY answered this would be carrying the argument             
 to the point that the government owes the municipalities for their            
 existence.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 468                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. RITCHIE said the theory basically is the wealth of the state,             
 which originated in the northern oil fields. The state takes that             
 money and spreads the wealth around to the various communities in             
 the state providing state services.  He stated it would be a                  
 different state if all that wealth remained in the north.                     
 Municipalities are the agents, the creations of the state, to                 
 provide services on a local level.  To provide for some consistent            
 services throughout the state, municipal assistance and revenue               
 sharing is one way this occurs.  He said if the funding were not              
 there with 55 percent cuts in municipal assistance and revenue                
 sharing, small communities are choosing to want some discretion on            
 how they govern themselves and they are getting a burden they can't           
 accept.  Communities that dissolve are allowing the state to                  
 provide all those services for them and have less determination in            
 what takes place.  The Local Boundary Commission (LBC), in writing            
 their recent report to the legislature, said the Mat-Su Borough had           
 been penalized by becoming a borough because their deal concerning            
 appropriated money for certain projects wasn't there anymore. The             
 municipal assistance and revenue sharing is the way the state                 
 spreads some of the wealth from the oil fields to ensure some level           
 of services is provided throughout the state.  Mr. Ritchie again              
 stated that many unfunded mandates were partially funded by                   
 municipal assistance and revenue sharing.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 497                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN said he wanted to hear from witnesses before                    
 continuing.  He invited Mr. Daw to testify.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 504                                                                    
                                                                               
 GENE DAW, member of VFW, DAV, and AARP, expressed his interest in             
 HB 185.  He said as the bill was written, veterans would oppose it            
 but with the supplement suggested by the AML, he believed the                 
 veterans could go along with that, being that disabled veterans               
 would stay status quo.  Mr. Daw's understanding was if one went               
 along with the supplement, HB 185 would stay at a status quo and              
 the only thing that would change would be the amount of the                   
 exemption from $150 thousand down to $75 thousand for senior                  
 citizens.  He believed Representative Vezey had a good idea.  He              
 listed four categories of people such as little children born with            
 a disability or into a poor family, poor people, disabled veterans            
 and senior citizens.  He said he has had the opportunity to live in           
 all those stages.  He said it is tough to break out when one is in            
 those categories.  He compared our state to other states and said             
 it was well-to-do, but the state needed to look at its priorities             
 and not put the squeeze on these four categories of people looking            
 for security.                                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 570                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked Mr. Daw if he fell within the category              
 that would allow for this tax exemption.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 575                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. DAW answered yes, but he did not sign up until he retired two             
 years ago.  He has worked in the state for 30 years and could have            
 taken advantage of this tax exemption all along, but he figured as            
 long he could work, meeting his budget, he could pay his taxes.  He           
 thought there were many veterans too proud to beg.                            
                                                                               
 Number 596                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT believed this was the point he wanted to bring            
 out.  He didn't know how the government could correct it.  He'd had           
 a phone call during the debate last year on this matter from a man            
 working in civil service who had been medically retired, drawing a            
 pension from the military.  His wife was a school teacher and he              
 was worried about his tax exemption for his $300 thousand home.               
 Representative Kott would much rather see the legislature eliminate           
 this category and take that pool and shift it over to people who              
 really need it.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 610                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if there were any more questions or comments.             
 He invited Lamar Cotten to testify.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 614                                                                    
                                                                               
 LAMAR COTTEN, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Community and                
 Regional Affairs (DCRA), said in general, the DCRA agrees with the            
 concept because it's consistent with the position that                        
 municipalities should be given a maximum amount of flexibility when           
 it came to raising revenues, in deciding issues at a local level.             
 It also addresses the issue of underfunded mandates, since the                
 state pays about 6 percent of the funds for the exemption.  The               
 other provision the DCRA liked in the bill allowed the exemption to           
 be based on financial need and be provided by ordinance.  He                  
 thought it consistent with the DCRA's position of allowing                    
 municipalities the discretion to devise or determine how they want            
 to address the issue of exemptions through local taxes.  His last             
 point was the DCRA had not looked at or discussed the compromise              
 between the AARP and the AML.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 632                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if state revenues had been trending down           
 for a number of years.  He didn't have the opportunity to look into           
 these figures but he asked about municipalities and their revenues.           
                                                                               
 Number 637                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. COTTEN answered that the reductions in municipal assistance and           
 revenue sharing over the last eight years has affected                        
 municipalities.  He said one couldn't address communities as a                
 whole.  He said there were areas in Southwest Alaska which have               
 gone through an economic boom and the government has grown to meet            
 some of the demands and needs of those changes.  He stated other              
 communities, due to economics and internal political decisions to             
 cap their tax mechanisms, have not grown as much.  He agreed with             
 Representative Vezey's observation that valuations have increased             
 and mill rates are probably floated with inflation rates.  The                
 expenditures have increased but the level of services have not gone           
 up.  Mr. Cotten thought this was a good question because it went              
 back to more of the fundamental questions about who was providing             
 basic services to the state and the transition when locals take on            
 those services or simply do without.  He thought there wouldn't be            
 a statewide pattern because the state is different by regions and             
 subregions.  He stated economics will have driven the size of                 
 government.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 664                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN invited any more questions or comments from the                 
 committee members.  He noted this bill would be held in committee             
 and scheduled for the next week.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 670                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said his inclination would be to leave the               
 status quo, but he would be surprised if municipalities came in and           
 said they were willing to take a cut.  In the testimony he has                
 heard from many different areas he thought the general desire was             
 to hold the status quo or give the municipality more.                         
 Representative Elton would be willing to go for the compromise                
 because it was offered and it is the first time he has heard of               
 such a compromise.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 679                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN stated he felt a different trend in the state.             
 He thought people were starting to realize that Alaska has been a             
 wealthy state, able to afford luxuries, but people are starting to            
 realize these luxuries cost money.  He said the cost of paving                
 roads and taking care of other mandated and necessary things are              
 just as important and citizens are starting to realize that as a              
 state, we need to pay our way.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 687                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN invited questions or comments.  He said he would                
 submit a committee substitute to take out disabled veterans from              
 the legislation.                                                              
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN adjourned the House Community and Regional Affairs              
 Committee at 3:12 p.m.                                                        
                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects