Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/07/1996 01:40 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
                                                                               
                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                        FEBRUARY 7, 1996                                       
                            1:40 P.M.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 96 - 28, Side 1, #000 - end.                                        
  TAPE HFC 96 - 28, Side 2, #000 - #102.                                       
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Mark Hanley  called  the House  Finance  Committee                 
  meeting to order at 1:40 P.M.                                                
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley               Representative Martin                          
  Co-Chair Foster               Representative Mulder                          
  Representative Brown          Representative Navarre                         
  Representative Grussendorf    Representative Parnell                         
  Representative Kelly          Representative Therriault                      
  Representative Kohring                                                       
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  George Dozier,  Aid, Representative Pete  Kott; Carol Carol,                 
  Director, Administrative and Support Services, Department of                 
  Military   and   Veterans'   Affairs;    Patrick   Pourchot,                 
  Legislative Director, Office of the Governor; Kevin Ritchie,                 
  Alaska Municipal League, Alaska  Council of Mayors,  Juneau;                 
  Scott  Sterling,  (Testified  via   teleconference),  Mat-Su                 
  Assembly  Borough,  Mat-Su;   Jay  Dulany,  (Testified   via                 
  teleconference),  Director,  Division  of   Motor  Vehicles,                 
  Department   of  Public   Safety,  Anchorage;   Tim  Rogers,                 
  (Testified   via   teleconference),    Legislative   Program                 
  Coordinator  for  the  Municipal  of  Anchorage,  Anchorage;                 
  Richard  Woodin,  (Testified  via   teleconference),  Alaska                 
  Airmen  Association,  Kenai; Bonnie  Golden,  (Testified via                 
  teleconference),  Kenai  Peninsula  Borough,   Kenai;  Doyle                 
  Holmes, (Testified via teleconference), Anchorage.                           
                                                                               
  SUMMARY                                                                      
                                                                               
  HB 272    An  Act relating  to municipal  taxation  of motor                 
            vehicles; and providing for an effective date.                     
                                                                               
            CS HB 272 was reported out of Committee with a "do                 
            pass" recommendation and with a fiscal note by the                 
            Department of Public Safety and a zero fiscal note                 
            by  the  Department  of   Community  and  Regional                 
            Affairs.                                                           
                                                                               
  HB 322    An Act  authorizing grants  for temporary  housing                 
                                                                               
                                1                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
            assistance during emergencies and disasters.                       
                                                                               
            CS HB 322 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with                 
            a "do pass" recommendation and  with a fiscal note                 
            by  the   Department  of  Military   and  Veterans                 
            Affairs.                                                           
                                                                               
  HOUSE BILL 322                                                               
                                                                               
       "An  Act  authorizing  grants  for  temporary   housing                 
       assistance during emergencies and disasters.                            
                                                                               
  GEORGE DOZIER, AID, REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT advised that HB                 
  322 had  been introduced  to improve  the administration  of                 
  temporary   housing   during    state   declared    disaster                 
  emergencies.   The legislation  was introduced  in the  1994                 
  session as HB 421, and passed the House on March 14, 1994 by                 
  40-0.  It died  in the Senate Rules Committee at  the end of                 
  the 1994 Legislative session.                                                
                                                                               
  Mr. Dozier noted that the bill would increase the efficiency                 
  of  the  Division  of  Emergency  Services  by  removing  an                 
  unnecessary  administrative  burden   required  by   current                 
  statutory language.  Current statutes  do not authorize DMVA                 
  to  make  grants  to  individuals  for  providing  temporary                 
  housing   during  disasters.    The  Division  of  Emergency                 
  Services is therefore  required to provide housing  directly                 
  to  individuals,  by  assigning  staff  to  contact  housing                 
  providers,  arrange  for  leases, renew  lease  arrangements                 
  periodically as needed, and generally act as an intermediary                 
  between  the  lessor  and the  persons  using  the temporary                 
  housing.    He  continued,  that  task  is  administratively                 
  burdensome and  increases  the  cost  of  administering  the                 
  temporary housing program.                                                   
                                                                               
  Mr.  Dozier continued, federal  disasters allow  granting of                 
  funds  direct to  individuals  for them  to  make their  own                 
  temporary  housing  arrangements.     Temporary  housing  in                 
  federal  disasters  is paid  100%  by the  Federal Emergency                 
  Management Agency (FEMA).                                                    
                                                                               
  To adopt language to authorize the  State to grant funds for                 
  temporary  housing   in   state   disasters   would   reduce                 
  administrative costs, remove  liability for  the State as  a                 
  lessor,  and  reduce  government   involvement  in  personal                 
  issues.    By making  an  immediate temporary  housing grant                 
  award payment  to  eligible  applicants,  would  allow  each                 
  family in a State disaster to secure housing which best fits                 
  their housing needs.                                                         
                                                                               
  Mr. Dozier summarized that two State disasters have occurred                 
                                                                               
                                2                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  recently  which  have  required the  provision  of temporary                 
  housing; the Kodiak  storm disaster  of November, 1991,  and                 
  the Tenakee fire disaster of July, 1993.                                     
                                                                               
  CAROL CAROL, DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUPPORT  SERVICES,                 
  DEPARTMENT  OF  MILITARY &  VETERANS  AFFAIRS, testified  in                 
  support of HB 322, noting that it would make operations more                 
  smooth for the Department.   She requested a change  be made                 
  to Page 1,  Line 14, deleting  "or" and adding the  language                 
  "or any other source".  Line  14 would then read:   "Agency,                 
  under private insurance or any  other source; as a condition                 
  of accepting  housing".   She  noted that  addition of  that                 
  language would allow the Department to apply any sources  of                 
  help which a victim could need.                                              
                                                                               
  Representative Brown asked if the new language would include                 
  relatives, friends and  neighbors.   Ms. Carol explained  it                 
  would  and that it  would also include  the Red  Cross.  The                 
  Department  would interview  the  individual  to access  the                 
  needs.   The  individual would  be reimbursed  if they  were                 
  renting  a home temporarily,  but if they  were staying with                 
  family, the Department would not reimburse them.                             
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Foster MOVED  the conceptual  amendment (Amendment                 
  was adopted.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Ms.  Carol  agreed  with Co-Chair  Hanley  that  the Federal                 
  Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would make direct grants.                 
  This  legislation  would  cover  those  persons who  do  not                 
  qualify for grants under federal law.                                        
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Hanley  asked  the amount  the  legislation  would                 
  increase State spending.   Ms. Carol  thought that it  would                 
  reduce costs of  disasters.   At the present  time if  there                 
  were a disaster, the State  would provide temporary housing,                 
  acting  as  the rental  agent.    She  reiterated  that  the                 
  legislation would create  less cost to the  State.  Co-Chair                 
  Hanley  clarified,   the  legislation  would   increase  the                 
  availability and ease in which  people get housing following                 
  a disaster,  while reducing  the amount  of  money that  the                 
  State would have to spend.                                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Therriault questioned how  the administrative                 
  function would be  paid for.   Ms. Carol  replied, that  the                 
  funding would "kick in" when there  was a disaster and would                 
  be used  by the  Department to  hire temporary  employees to                 
  address needs resulting from the  disaster.  Co-Chair Hanley                 
  reminded Committee members that some of those costs would be                 
  reimbursed by the federal government.                                        
                                                                               
  Ms.  Carol  responded  to  Representative Kelly's  question,                 
                                                                               
                                3                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  noting  that   grants  would  be  distributed  following  an                 
  interview with  the person  suffering the  loss, inquire  if                 
  that party has private insurance,  provide a market analysis                 
  of the  area rental  fees, and  then allow them  a grant  to                 
  cover housing needs for  three months.  She emphasized  that                 
  there  is a  cap  to the  amount granted.    The program  is                 
  available to all victims without homes during disasters, not                 
  just  veterans.    The  Division  of Emergency  Services  is                 
  located  within  the  Department  of  Military and  Veterans                 
  Affairs.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative  Kohring  questioned the  objection indicated                 
  previously  by  the  Senate  Rules  Committee.    Ms.  Carol                 
  understood that  in the 1994  Legislation, a limit  had been                 
  placed  on  the  amount  of  money available  for  temporary                 
  housing.    At that  time, the  Department decided  that the                 
  legislation could  not work that  way.  The  Department then                 
  considered  time  not money  to  be the  determining factor,                 
  explaining that  it would  be unfair  to have one  statewide                 
  limit placed on temporary housing.                                           
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre  MOVED to report CS HB  322 (FIN) out                 
  of  Committee with individual  recommendations and  with the                 
  accompanying fiscal note.  There being NO OBJECTIONS, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  CS HB 322  (FIN) was  reported out of  Committee with a  "do                 
  pass"  recommendation and  with a  zero fiscal  note  by the                 
  Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.                                 
  HOUSE BILL 272                                                               
                                                                               
       "An  Act  relating  to   municipal  taxation  of  motor                 
       vehicles; and providing for an effective date."                         
                                                                               
  Co-Chair   Hanley  explained   that  HB   272   would  allow                 
  municipalities that impose a motor vehicle  registration tax                 
  to  increase  or  decrease  the  schedule currently  set  in                 
  statute.   Currently,  there is  no provision  to change  or                 
  update  the  fee schedule.    The change  would  relieve the                 
  Legislature of the burden of adjusting rates by legislation.                 
                                                                               
  He continued, a  municipality electing  to change its  rates                 
  would be required  to pass  an ordinance in  support of  the                 
  change,  and provide  written notice  of  the change  to the                 
  Department  of Public Safety (DPS)  at least one year before                 
  it would take  place.  The  opportunity for change would  be                 
  available once every two years.                                              
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley pointed out that  the municipality would pay                 
  the one time programming cost for the change incurred by the                 
  Department. The Department would collect 8%  of the gross as                 
                                                                               
                                4                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  a collection fee; a  rate increase would result in  a larger                 
  base for collection.                                                         
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Hanley  emphasized  that  HB  272  would  put  the                 
  responsibility  for  change  where   it  belongs,  with  the                 
  municipality.  Each  municipality should  be able to  choose                 
  reasonable tax rates suited to its needs and situation.  The                 
  local ordinance provision and  the democratic process  would                 
  sufficiently protect the public from unreasonable tax rates.                 
                                                                               
  SCOTT  STERLING,  (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  MAT-SU                 
  ASSEMBLY  BOROUGH,  MAT-SU,  testified  in  support  of  the                 
  legislation.  He noted that HB 272 would provide a good tool                 
  for the municipalities to reform taxes at a local level.  He                 
  pointed out that roads,  transportation and vehicles  impose                 
  major costs both  individually and legislatively.   He urged                 
  Committee  members to  give favorable  consideration to  the                 
  legislation.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative   Martin  mentioned  that  he  was  a  strong                 
  advocate of  local government  having the  freedom to  raise                 
  taxes.    He  thought  that  the  municipalities  should  be                 
  responsible  for  the  tax  collection.     Co-Chair  Hanley                 
  explained that would  not be  an incentive to  the State  to                 
  increase  taxes; the  municipality  would determine  the tax                 
  level.   The  fees  are  set  in  statute  at  8%  which  is                 
  determined  by  the  Legislature.    Representative  Navarre                 
  pointed out that the  fees had been raised from 5%  to 8% in                 
  order  to  reflect  the  true  costs  of  administering  the                 
  program.  He informed members that for the municipalities to                 
  administer the program would cost 30%.                                       
                                                                               
  JAY  DULANY,  (TESTIFIED   VIA  TELECONFERENCE),   DIRECTOR,                 
  DIVISION OF  MOTOR VEHICLES,  DEPARTMENT  OF PUBLIC  SAFETY,                 
  testified  in  support  of the  legislation  and  offered to                 
  answer any questions of the Committee.                                       
                                                                               
  PATRICK  POURCHOT,  LEGISLATIVE  DIRECTOR,  OFFICE  OF   THE                 
  GOVERNOR,  clarified the  Knowles Administration  support of                 
  the proposed legislation.   He emphasized the  importance of                 
  the fiscal note.  Mr. Pourchot  stated that the Governor has                 
  encouraged municipalities to raise revenues  on their own in                 
  order to pay  for more  services.  The  Governor has  agreed                 
  that  the legislation  would  be the  most efficient  way to                 
  provide an enhanced revenue source.                                          
                                                                               
  TIM  ROGERS,  (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  LEGISLATIVE                 
  PROGRAM COORDINATOR, MUNICIPALITY  OF ANCHORAGE,  ANCHORAGE,                 
  echoed the municipalities support for HB 272.  He noted that                 
  this legislation has  been a  municipality priority for  the                 
  past couple years.  Currently,  the cost of road maintenance                 
  for the municipality is primarily covered by property taxes.                 
                                                                               
                                5                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  The municipality believes if they  can adjust the automobile                 
  tax, some of  the burden will  be shifted from the  property                 
  owner to the user.                                                           
                                                                               
  Mr. Rogers commented that Anchorage has a serious "junk" and                 
  abandoned  vehicle problem which costs the municipality $100                 
  thousand dollars  a year  to control.   He  stated that  the                 
  proposed legislation would provide the municipalities a more                 
  effective tool to address that concern.                                      
                                                                               
  Representative Martin asked how the legislation would effect                 
  the tax cap and  if that decision would be presented  to the                 
  voters.  Mr. Rogers thought that shift would stay within the                 
  tax cap; instead, there would be a shift to the tax  burden.                 
  The  changes would  not require  support of  the voters  but                 
  rather approval of the Assembly.                                             
                                                                               
  RICHARD  WOODIN,  (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  ALASKA                 
  AIRMEN  ASSOCIATION,   KENAI,  spoke   in  support   of  the                 
  legislation which would  provide a means to  reduce personal                 
  property  taxes  inclusive  of  boats  and  airplanes.    He                 
  remarked that solution would be "more equitable".                            
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre pointed out that a municipality would                 
  be precluded from  implementing the taxes  until 1998.   Co-                 
  Chair  Hanley  advised current  language  in the  bill would                 
  provide the Department  time to  make the necessary  changes                 
  for the smooth operation of fee schedules.                                   
                                                                               
  BONNIE   GOLDEN,   (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  KENAI                 
  PENINSULA  BOROUGH, KENAI,  noted that  the Kenai  Peninsula                 
  Borough Assembly  and administration  support HB  272.   She                 
  advised that  the bill  would amend  the Alaska  Statutes by                 
  adding a new subsection to A.S.  28.10.431.  If amended, the                 
  Statutes would provide municipalities the option of revising                 
  the tax  schedule as  it applies to  motor vehicle  taxation                 
  within their jurisdiction.  Revisions could not be made more                 
  that once every two years.  [Copy of testimony on file].                     
                                                                               
  KEVIN RITCHIE, ALASKA MUNICIPAL LEAGUE, ALASKA CONFERENCE OF                 
  MAYORS, JUNEAU, voiced  support of the  proposed legislation                 
  noting  that  it was  a  high  priority for  both  groups he                 
  represented.  He  offered to  answer questions of  Committee                 
  members.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative   Martin  asked   why   the  people   of  the                 
  municipality were not  given the opportunity to  discuss the                 
  impact of the new taxes.  Mr. Ritchie stated that any change                 
  would be  made by "ordinance".  The  ordinance process makes                 
  it difficult to pass  a tax which would require  receiving a                 
  community  consensus  on how  to  best allocate  the burden.                 
  Strict  allocation  of revenue  is not  usually done  on the                 
                                                                               
                                6                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  municipal level, although  the intent  is honored in  almost                 
  all cases.                                                                   
                                                                               
  In    response    to   Representative    Martin's   comment,                 
  Representative Navarre  clarified that  fees were  raised to                 
  reflect the  Department's true  costs  of administering  the                 
  program.  The service provides a "win/win" situation for all                 
  parties  involved   and  has  been  negotiated  between  the                 
  Department  and  the municipalities  for  the fair  costs of                 
  running the program.   Representative Martin argued  that it                 
  would  be  a  win/win  situation  for  everyone  except  the                 
  taxpayer.     Representative   Navarre  stressed   that  the                 
  Department should set the fee by regulation.                                 
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley pointed  out the program would  be optional.                 
  The   language  of  the   legislation  would   provide  that                 
  flexibility if desired by the municipality.                                  
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 96-28, Side 2).                                            
                                                                               
  DOYLE  HOLMES,  (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE),  ANCHORAGE,                 
  testified in support of passage of HB 272.  He remarked that                 
  it would  result in  increased revenue  to the  State.   Mr.                 
  Holmes noted that the flat tax passed last year, allowed the                 
  municipality to make  that tax  a portion  of their  revenue                 
  source.  With passage of the legislation, the Assembly would                 
  then be able to implement the  flat tax on automobiles which                 
  would also increase State revenues.                                          
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre  MOVED that work  draft, #9-LS0841\F,                 
  Ford, 1/26/96,  be the version before the  Committee.  There                 
  being NO OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                          
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre MOVED to  report CS HB 272  (FIN) out                 
  of Committee with  individual recommendations  and with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal notes.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  CS HB  272 (FIN) was  reported out  of Committee with  a "do                 
  pass"  recommendation  and   with  a  fiscal  note   by  the                 
  Department of Public  Safety and a  zero fiscal note by  the                 
  Department of Community and Regional Affairs.                                
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 2:25 P.M.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                        FEBRUARY 7, 1996                                       
                            1:40 P.M.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                7                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 96 - 28, Side 1, #000 - end.                                        
  TAPE HFC 96 - 28, Side 2, #000 - #102.                                       
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Mark  Hanley called  the  House Finance  Committee                 
  meeting to order at 1:40 P.M.                                                
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley               Representative Martin                          
  Co-Chair Foster               Representative Mulder                          
  Representative Brown          Representative Navarre                         
  Representative Grussendorf    Representative Parnell                         
  Representative Kelly          Representative Therriault                      
  Representative Kohring                                                       
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  George Dozier, Aid,  Representative Pete Kott;  Carol Carol,                 
  Director, Administrative and Support Services, Department of                 
  Military   and   Veterans'   Affairs;    Patrick   Pourchot,                 
  Legislative Director, Office of the Governor; Kevin Ritchie,                 
  Alaska Municipal  League, Alaska Council of  Mayors, Juneau;                 
  Scott  Sterling,  (Testified  via   teleconference),  Mat-Su                 
  Assembly  Borough,   Mat-Su;  Jay  Dulany,   (Testified  via                 
  teleconference),  Director,  Division  of   Motor  Vehicles,                 
  Department  of   Public  Safety,   Anchorage;  Tim   Rogers,                 
  (Testified   via   teleconference),    Legislative   Program                 
  Coordinator  for  the  Municipal  of  Anchorage,  Anchorage;                 
  Richard  Woodin,  (Testified  via   teleconference),  Alaska                 
  Airmen  Association, Kenai;  Bonnie  Golden, (Testified  via                 
  teleconference),  Kenai  Peninsula  Borough,   Kenai;  Doyle                 
  Holmes, (Testified via teleconference), Anchorage.                           
                                                                               
  SUMMARY                                                                      
                                                                               
  HB 272    An  Act relating  to municipal  taxation of  motor                 
            vehicles; and providing for an effective date.                     
                                                                               
            CS HB 272 was reported out of Committee with a "do                 
            pass" recommendation and with a fiscal note by the                 
            Department of Public Safety and a zero fiscal note                 
            by  the  Department  of  Community  and   Regional                 
            Affairs.                                                           
                                                                               
  HB 322    An Act  authorizing grants  for temporary  housing                 
            assistance during emergencies and disasters.                       
                                                                               
            CS HB 322 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with                 
            a "do pass" recommendation and  with a fiscal note                 
            by  the  Department   of  Military  and   Veterans                 
                                                                               
                                8                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
            Affairs.                                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
  HOUSE BILL 322                                                               
                                                                               
       "An  Act  authorizing   grants  for  temporary  housing                 
       assistance during emergencies and disasters.                            
                                                                               
  GEORGE DOZIER, AID, REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT advised that HB                 
  322 had  been introduced  to improve  the administration  of                 
  temporary   housing   during    state   declared    disaster                 
  emergencies.   The legislation  was introduced  in the  1994                 
  session as HB 421, and passed the House on March 14, 1994 by                 
  40-0.  It died in the  Senate Rules Committee at the end  of                 
  the 1994 Legislative session.                                                
                                                                               
  Mr. Dozier noted that the bill would increase the efficiency                 
  of  the  Division  of  Emergency  Services  by  removing  an                 
  unnecessary  administrative  burden   required  by   current                 
  statutory language.  Current statutes  do not authorize DMVA                 
  to  make  grants  to  individuals  for  providing  temporary                 
  housing  during   disasters.    The  Division  of  Emergency                 
  Services  is therefore required  to provide housing directly                 
  to  individuals,  by  assigning  staff  to  contact  housing                 
  providers,  arrange  for  leases,  renew lease  arrangements                 
  periodically as needed, and generally act as an intermediary                 
  between  the  lessor  and the  persons  using  the temporary                 
  housing.    He  continued,  that  task  is  administratively                 
  burdensome  and increases  the  cost  of  administering  the                 
  temporary housing program.                                                   
                                                                               
  Mr. Dozier  continued, federal disasters  allow granting  of                 
  funds  direct to  individuals  for them  to  make their  own                 
  temporary  housing  arrangements.     Temporary  housing  in                 
  federal  disasters  is paid  100%  by the  Federal Emergency                 
  Management Agency (FEMA).                                                    
                                                                               
  To adopt language to authorize the  State to grant funds for                 
  temporary   housing   in   state  disasters   would   reduce                 
  administrative costs, remove  liability for  the State as  a                 
  lessor,  and  reduce  government  involvement  in   personal                 
  issues.    By making  an  immediate temporary  housing grant                 
  award  payment to  eligible  applicants,  would  allow  each                 
  family in a State disaster to secure housing which best fits                 
  their housing needs.                                                         
                                                                               
  Mr. Dozier summarized that two State disasters have occurred                 
  recently  which  have required  the  provision of  temporary                 
  housing; the Kodiak  storm disaster  of November, 1991,  and                 
  the Tenakee fire disaster of July, 1993.                                     
                                                                               
  CAROL CAROL, DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE  AND SUPPORT SERVICES,                 
                                                                               
                                9                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  DEPARTMENT  OF  MILITARY  & VETERANS  AFFAIRS,  testified in                 
  support of HB 322, noting that it would make operations more                 
  smooth for the Department.   She requested a change  be made                 
  to Page 1,  Line 14, deleting  "or" and adding the  language                 
  "or  any other source".  Line 14  would then read:  "Agency,                 
  under private insurance or any  other source; as a condition                 
  of  accepting  housing".   She noted  that addition  of that                 
  language would allow the Department to apply any  sources of                 
  help which a victim could need.                                              
                                                                               
  Representative Brown asked if the new language would include                 
  relatives, friends and  neighbors.   Ms. Carol explained  it                 
  would and  that it would  also include the  Red Cross.   The                 
  Department  would  interview the  individual  to  access the                 
  needs.   The  individual would  be reimbursed  if they  were                 
  renting a home  temporarily, but if  they were staying  with                 
  family, the Department would not reimburse them.                             
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Foster  MOVED the  conceptual amendment  (Amendment                 
  was adopted.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Ms.  Carol  agreed  with Co-Chair  Hanley  that  the Federal                 
  Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would make direct grants.                 
  This  legislation  would  cover  those  persons who  do  not                 
  qualify for grants under federal law.                                        
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Hanley  asked  the  amount the  legislation  would                 
  increase State  spending.  Ms.  Carol thought that  it would                 
  reduce costs of  disasters.   At the present  time if  there                 
  were a disaster, the State  would provide temporary housing,                 
  acting  as the  rental  agent.    She  reiterated  that  the                 
  legislation would create  less cost to the  State.  Co-Chair                 
  Hanley  clarified,  the   legislation  would  increase   the                 
  availability and ease in which  people get housing following                 
  a  disaster, while  reducing the  amount  of money  that the                 
  State would have to spend.                                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Therriault questioned how  the administrative                 
  function would be  paid for.   Ms. Carol  replied, that  the                 
  funding would "kick in" when there  was a disaster and would                 
  be used  by the  Department to  hire temporary  employees to                 
  address needs resulting from the  disaster.  Co-Chair Hanley                 
  reminded Committee members that some of those costs would be                 
  reimbursed by the federal government.                                        
                                                                               
  Ms. Carol  responded  to  Representative  Kelly's  question,                 
  noting   that  grants  would  be  distributed  following  an                 
  interview with  the person  suffering the  loss, inquire  if                 
  that party has private insurance,  provide a market analysis                 
  of  the area rental  fees, and  then allow  them a  grant to                 
  cover housing needs for  three months.  She  emphasized that                 
                                                                               
                               10                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  there  is  a cap  to  the amount  granted.   The  program is                 
  available to all victims without homes during disasters, not                 
  just  veterans.    The  Division  of Emergency  Services  is                 
  located  within  the  Department  of  Military  and Veterans                 
  Affairs.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative  Kohring  questioned the  objection indicated                 
  previously  by  the  Senate  Rules  Committee.    Ms.  Carol                 
  understood  that in the  1994 Legislation, a  limit had been                 
  placed  on  the  amount  of  money available  for  temporary                 
  housing.   At  that time,  the Department  decided that  the                 
  legislation  could not work  that way.   The Department then                 
  considered  time  not money  to  be the  determining factor,                 
  explaining  that it  would be  unfair to have  one statewide                 
  limit placed on temporary housing.                                           
                                                                               
  Representative  Navarre MOVED to report CS  HB 322 (FIN) out                 
  of Committee  with individual recommendations  and with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal note.  There being NO OBJECTIONS, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  CS HB  322 (FIN) was  reported out  of Committee with  a "do                 
  pass" recommendation  and with  a zero  fiscal  note by  the                 
  Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.                                 
                                                                               
  HOUSE BILL 272                                                               
                                                                               
       "An  Act  relating  to  municipal   taxation  of  motor                 
       vehicles; and providing for an effective date."                         
                                                                               
  Co-Chair   Hanley  explained   that  HB   272  would   allow                 
  municipalities that impose a motor vehicle registration  tax                 
  to  increase  or  decrease  the  schedule currently  set  in                 
  statute.    Currently, there  is no  provision to  change or                 
  update  the fee  schedule.   The  change  would relieve  the                 
  Legislature of the burden of adjusting rates by legislation.                 
                                                                               
  He continued, a  municipality electing  to change its  rates                 
  would be required  to pass  an ordinance in  support of  the                 
  change, and  provide written  notice  of the  change to  the                 
  Department of Public Safety  (DPS) at least one year  before                 
  it would take  place.  The  opportunity for change would  be                 
  available once every two years.                                              
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley pointed out that  the municipality would pay                 
  the one time programming cost for the change incurred by the                 
  Department. The Department would collect  8% of the gross as                 
  a collection fee; a  rate increase would result in  a larger                 
  base for collection.                                                         
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Hanley  emphasized  that  HB  272  would  put  the                 
  responsibility  for  change  where   it  belongs,  with  the                 
                                                                               
                               11                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  municipality.  Each  municipality should  be able to  choose                 
  reasonable tax rates suited to its needs and situation.  The                 
  local ordinance  provision and the democratic  process would                 
  sufficiently protect the public from unreasonable tax rates.                 
                                                                               
  SCOTT  STERLING,  (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  MAT-SU                 
  ASSEMBLY  BOROUGH,  MAT-SU,  testified  in  support  of  the                 
  legislation.  He noted that HB 272 would provide a good tool                 
  for the municipalities to reform taxes at a local level.  He                 
  pointed out  that roads, transportation and  vehicles impose                 
  major costs both  individually and legislatively.   He urged                 
  Committee  members to  give favorable  consideration to  the                 
  legislation.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative  Martin   mentioned  that  he  was  a  strong                 
  advocate of  local government  having the  freedom to  raise                 
  taxes.    He  thought  that  the  municipalities  should  be                 
  responsible  for  the  tax  collection.    Co-Chair   Hanley                 
  explained that would  not be  an incentive to  the State  to                 
  increase taxes;  the municipality  would  determine the  tax                 
  level.    The fees  are  set  in  statute  at  8%  which  is                 
  determined  by  the  Legislature.    Representative  Navarre                 
  pointed out that the fees had  been raised from 5% to 8%  in                 
  order  to  reflect  the  true  costs  of  administering  the                 
  program.  He informed members that for the municipalities to                 
  administer the program would cost 30%.                                       
                                                                               
  JAY  DULANY,  (TESTIFIED   VIA  TELECONFERENCE),   DIRECTOR,                 
  DIVISION  OF MOTOR  VEHICLES, DEPARTMENT  OF  PUBLIC SAFETY,                 
  testified  in  support  of the  legislation  and  offered to                 
  answer any questions of the Committee.                                       
                                                                               
  PATRICK  POURCHOT,  LEGISLATIVE   DIRECTOR,  OFFICE  OF  THE                 
  GOVERNOR, clarified  the Knowles  Administration support  of                 
  the proposed legislation.   He emphasized the  importance of                 
  the fiscal note.  Mr. Pourchot  stated that the Governor has                 
  encouraged municipalities to raise revenues  on their own in                 
  order to pay  for more  services.  The  Governor has  agreed                 
  that the  legislation  would be  the most  efficient way  to                 
  provide an enhanced revenue source.                                          
                                                                               
  TIM  ROGERS,  (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  LEGISLATIVE                 
  PROGRAM COORDINATOR, MUNICIPALITY  OF ANCHORAGE,  ANCHORAGE,                 
  echoed the municipalities support for HB 272.  He noted that                 
  this legislation has  been a  municipality priority for  the                 
  past couple years.   Currently, the cost of road maintenance                 
  for the municipality is primarily covered by property taxes.                 
  The municipality believes if they  can adjust the automobile                 
  tax, some of  the burden will  be shifted from the  property                 
  owner to the user.                                                           
                                                                               
  Mr. Rogers commented that Anchorage has a serious "junk" and                 
                                                                               
                               12                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  abandoned vehicle  problem which costs the municipality $100                 
  thousand dollars  a year  to control.   He  stated that  the                 
  proposed legislation would provide the municipalities a more                 
  effective tool to address that concern.                                      
                                                                               
  Representative Martin asked how the legislation would effect                 
  the tax cap and if  that decision would be presented to  the                 
  voters.  Mr. Rogers thought that shift would stay within the                 
  tax  cap; instead, there would be a shift to the tax burden.                 
  The  changes would  not require  support of  the  voters but                 
  rather approval of the Assembly.                                             
                                                                               
  RICHARD  WOODIN,  (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  ALASKA                 
  AIRMEN  ASSOCIATION,  KENAI,   spoke  in   support  of   the                 
  legislation which would  provide a means to  reduce personal                 
  property  taxes  inclusive  of  boats  and  airplanes.    He                 
  remarked that solution would be "more equitable".                            
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre pointed out that a municipality would                 
  be precluded  from implementing the  taxes until 1998.   Co-                 
  Chair  Hanley  advised current  language  in the  bill would                 
  provide the Department  time to  make the necessary  changes                 
  for the smooth operation of fee schedules.                                   
                                                                               
  BONNIE   GOLDEN,   (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  KENAI                 
  PENINSULA  BOROUGH, KENAI,  noted that  the Kenai  Peninsula                 
  Borough Assembly  and administration  support HB  272.   She                 
  advised that  the bill  would amend  the Alaska Statutes  by                 
  adding a new subsection to A.S.  28.10.431.  If amended, the                 
  Statutes would provide municipalities the option of revising                 
  the  tax schedule  as it applies  to motor  vehicle taxation                 
  within their jurisdiction.  Revisions could not be made more                 
  that once every two years.  [Copy of testimony on file].                     
                                                                               
  KEVIN RITCHIE, ALASKA MUNICIPAL LEAGUE, ALASKA CONFERENCE OF                 
  MAYORS, JUNEAU, voiced support  of the proposed  legislation                 
  noting  that  it was  a  high  priority for  both  groups he                 
  represented.  He  offered to  answer questions of  Committee                 
  members.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative  Martin   asked  why   the   people  of   the                 
  municipality were not  given the opportunity to  discuss the                 
  impact of the new taxes.  Mr. Ritchie stated that any change                 
  would  be made by "ordinance".   The ordinance process makes                 
  it difficult to pass  a tax which would require  receiving a                 
  community  consensus  on how  to  best allocate  the burden.                 
  Strict  allocation of  revenue is  not usually  done on  the                 
  municipal level, although  the intent  is honored in  almost                 
  all cases.                                                                   
                                                                               
  In    response    to   Representative    Martin's   comment,                 
  Representative Navarre  clarified that  fees were  raised to                 
                                                                               
                               13                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  reflect  the Department's  true costs  of  administering the                 
  program.  The service provides a "win/win" situation for all                 
  parties  involved  and  has   been  negotiated  between  the                 
  Department  and  the municipalities  for  the fair  costs of                 
  running the program.   Representative Martin argued  that it                 
  would  be  a  win/win  situation  for  everyone  except  the                 
  taxpayer.     Representative  Navarre   stressed  that   the                 
  Department should set the fee by regulation.                                 
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley pointed  out the program would  be optional.                 
  The  language   of  the  legislation   would  provide   that                 
  flexibility if desired by the municipality.                                  
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 96-28, Side 2).                                            
                                                                               
  DOYLE  HOLMES,  (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE),  ANCHORAGE,                 
  testified in support of passage of HB 272.  He remarked that                 
  it would  result in  increased revenue  to the  State.   Mr.                 
  Holmes noted that the flat tax passed last year, allowed the                 
  municipality to  make that  tax a  portion of  their revenue                 
  source.  With passage of the legislation, the Assembly would                 
  then be able to implement the  flat tax on automobiles which                 
  would also increase State revenues.                                          
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre MOVED  that work draft,  #9-LS0841\F,                 
  Ford,  1/26/96, be the version before  the Committee.  There                 
  being NO OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                          
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre MOVED  to report CS HB  272 (FIN) out                 
  of  Committee with individual  recommendations and  with the                 
  accompanying fiscal notes.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  CS HB 272  (FIN) was reported  out of  Committee with a  "do                 
  pass"  recommendation  and   with  a  fiscal  note   by  the                 
  Department of Public  Safety and a  zero fiscal note by  the                 
  Department of Community and Regional Affairs.                                
                                                                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 2:25 P.M.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
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