Legislature(2007 - 2008)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/19/2007 04:00 PM FINANCE

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04:06:20 PM Start
04:07:04 PM HB96
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Time Change --
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
- Testifiers requested to call in 30 min.
before the end of their scheduled time -
4:00 - 6:00pm - Anchorage
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      March 19, 2007                                                                                            
                        4:06 P.M.                                                                                               
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Chenault called the House Finance Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 4:06:20 PM.                                                                                                       
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Stoltze, Vice-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                   
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Mike Kelly                                                                                                       
Representative Mary Nelson                                                                                                      
Representative Bill Thomas Jr.                                                                                                  
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Representative Beth Kerttula; Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                      
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
John   Stripe,  Access   Alaska,   Inc.;  Vern   Bussing,                                                                       
Corporations; Gwen Lee, Parent, IRC; Kristen Yearsley, STAR;                                                                    
Nicole Thibodeau, Covenant House; Karen Rogina, CEO, Alaska                                                                     
Hospitality Alliance; Susan Bomalaski, Executive Director,                                                                      
Catholic Social Services; Jesalyn Stanton, Salvation Army;                                                                      
John Kreilkamp, Cruise  West; Anne Dennis-Choi, Salvation                                                                       
Army;  Janet Mitson,  Municipality of  Anchorage, Mayor's                                                                       
Office; Pat Luby, Advocacy Director, Alaska Association of                                                                      
Retired Persons  (AARP), Anchorage; Suzi  Pearson, AWAIC;                                                                       
Karla  Jutzi, Alaska  Center  for  the  Blind &  Visually                                                                       
Impaired; Charlie  Hall,  Anchorage Pioneer  Home; Deanne                                                                       
Harms,  Anchorage Pioneer  Home; John  Donahue, Anchorage                                                                       
Pioneer  Home; Bonnie  McGrew; Jim  Gottstein, President,                                                                       
SOTERIA-Alaska;  Aaron  Wolf,  M.D.,  Medical  Assistant,                                                                       
SOTERIA-Alaska; Faith Myers; Susan Faith, Salvation Army ;                                                                      
Joe Mathis, Montana Creek Campground; Mary Elizabeth Rider,                                                                     
NASW; Tammy Griffin, AH&CA & The Hotel Group; Craig Pester,                                                                     
AKHLA;  Katy  Parrish;  Brian Saylor,  Health  and  Human                                                                       
Services; Anna Attla; Pam  Vandern Burg, Kid Corp  & Head                                                                       
 Start Program, Parent; Janel Kosten, Nurse, Salvation Army                                                                     
 Clitheroe Center; Rowena Brown, Head Start; Ruth Rosewarne,                                                                    
 President, Anchorage Tourism Industry                                                                                          
 GENERAL SUBJECT(S):                                                                                                          
The  following overview  was  taken in  log  note  format.                                                                      
Handouts will be on file  with the House Finance Committee                                                                      
through the  25th  Legislative Session, contact  465-6814.                                                                      
After the 25th  Legislative Session they will be available                                                                      
through the Legislative Library at 465-3808.                                                                                    
 HOUSE BILL NO. 95                                                                                                            
     An Act making appropriations for the operating and loan                                                                    
     program  expenses of  state  government, for  certain                                                                      
     programs,   and    to   capitalize   funds;    making                                                                      
     appropriations under art. IX, sec. 17(c), Constitution                                                                     
     of the State of Alaska; and providing for an effective                                                                     
 HOUSE BILL NO. 96                                                                                                            
     An  Act making  appropriations for the operating  and                                                                      
     capital   expenses   of    the   state's   integrated                                                                      
     comprehensive mental health program; and providing for                                                                     
     an effective date.                                                                                                         
 TIME        SPEAKER        DISCUSSION                                                                                      
 4:07:04 PM Co-Chair        Brought the House Finance Committee                                                               
             Chenault       meeting to order to take public                                                                     
                            testimony from Anchorage on HB 95 & HB                                                              
 4:07:41 PM JOHN    STRIPE, Testified in support of Independent                                                               
             BOARD  MEMBER, Living Grants.   He  pointed out  that                                                              
             ACCESS ALASKA, funding has  been "flat" for the  past                                                              
             ANCHORAGE      ten years.  Over the past three years,                                                              
                            Access   has  served   112%   of   the                                                              
                            population.     He  requested  a   94%                                                              
                            increase  for  the   hearing  impaired                                                              
 4:13:03 PM VERN BUSSING, Worried about the raise of health and                                                               
             ANCHORAGE      workmen's compensation costs to small                                                               
                            business people.  He encouraged speed                                                               
                            in assisting that population.                                                                     
 4:15:09 PM GWEN       LEE, Noted concern for those living in the                                                             
             PARENT, MEMBER State with developmental disabilities.                                                              
             OF   ANCHORAGE She commented that infant learning is a                                                             
             RESOURCE       critical component in that budget.  She                                                             
             CENTER  (ARC), worried  about   a   rate  freeze   in                                                            
            ANCHORAGE      providing services in those communities                                                              
                           & pointed out that the Anchorage caucus                                                              
                           had   indicated concern  with  loosing                                                               
                           those   services.      There   is   no                                                               
                           methodology when setting rates for such                                                              
                           services.     She   pointed   out  the                                                               
                           difficultly in recruiting and training                                                               
                           staff in those fields & urged that the                                                               
                           rate freeze be eliminated, with instead                                                              
                           a grant increase of 8%.                                                                            
4:20:00 PM KRISTEN         Spoke in support for further &                                                                     
            YEARSLEY,      increased funding for those who have                                                                 
            STAR,          experienced sexual assault, domestic                                                                 
            ANCHORAGE      violence and rape.  She pointed out the                                                              
                           mental  health  needs  associated  for                                                               
                           those victims.   It would be more cost                                                               
                           effective  for  the  State to  address                                                               
                           crisis intervention.                                                                               
4:24:37 PM NICOLE          Voiced support and appreciation for                                                                
            THIBODEAU,     restoration of the human services                                                                    
            DIRECTOR,      matching grants.                                                                                   
4:26:38 PM  KAREN  ROGINA, Testified   in  support   for  greater                                                             
            CEO,    ALASKA funding  for Alaska Tourism  marketing.                                                              
            HOSPITALITY    She stressed how much the industry                                                                   
            ALLIANCE,      contributes to the State's economy.                                                                
4:29:27 PM SUSAN           Voiced   appreciation   for  continued                                                             
            BOMALASKI,     funding of the community block grants &                                                              
            EXECUTIVE      urged that funding continue at an                                                                    
            DIRECTOR,      increased level.                                                                                   
4:31:05 PM JESALYN         Voiced support for the Keep the Elders                                                             
            STANTON,   THE at  Home  initiative and  testified in                                                               
            SALVATION      support for all Adult Day Services.                                                                  
            ARMY,          Such   services   are   about  keeping                                                               
            ANCHORAGE      families together and helping eliminate                                                              
                           stress for those families.                                                                         
4:34:52 PM JOHN            Asked that the Legislature consider the                                                            
            KREILKAMP,     cruise industry as a partner in the                                                                  
            CRUISE   WEST, tourism industry.  He noted, this past                                                               
            ANCHORAGE      year, the tourism industry contributed                                                               
                           $49  million  dollars  into the  State                                                               
                           coffers.    He   highlighted the  many                                                               
                           communities serviced  by the Industry.                                                               
                           He  urged  that the  statewide tourism                                                               
                           marketing program be fully funded.                                                                 
4:37:14 PM  ANNE   DENNIS-Voiced   support for sufficient funding                                                             
             CHOI,      THE for    statewide   behavioral    grant                                                              
             SALVATION      programs.  She mentioned the high rate                                                              
             ARMY,          of alcohol dependence in the State of                                                               
             ANCHORAGE      Alaska and that alcohol abuse impacts                                                               
                            the Alaskan economy in  many expensive                                                              
                            ways.  That grant funding is critical.                                                            
 4:40:09 PM JANET MITSON, She urged funding for municipal revenue                                                             
             MUNICIPALITY   sharing for  MOA.    Ms. Mitson  added                                                              
             OF   ANCHORAGE concern about receiving support for the                                                             
             (MOA),         Alaska   Public  Employee   Retirement                                                              
             DIRECTOR    OF System   (PERS)  and   the   Teacher's                                                              
             MANAGEMENT   & Retirement System (TRS) costs.                                                                      
             BUDGET,        Ms. Mitson indicated support for full                                                               
             MAYOR'S        funding of costs for the MOA traffic                                                                
             OFFICE,        streetlight signals.  The State's share                                                             
             ANCHORAGE      of those costs show up as a separate                                                                
                            appropriation within the Department of                                                              
                            Transportation  &  Public  Facilities.                                                              
                            The true  costs are  established under                                                              
                            auditing  costs   for  the   City   of                                                              
                            Anchorage  and   as   a  result,   MOA                                                              
                            taxpayers subsidize costs.                                                                          
                            She mentioned support for full funding                                                              
                            property tax for seniors and those with                                                             
 4:46:05 PM PAT       LUBY, Testified in support of continued                                                                 
             ADVOCACY       funding for the Longevity Bonus Program                                                             
             DIRECTOR,      as needs based.  He noted support also                                                              
             ALASKA         for the Senior Care program.  The                                                                   
             ASSOCIATION OF concern is the amount proposed funding                                                              
             RETIRED        to cover health care costs.  He added                                                               
             PERSONS        support for Keeping the Elders at Home                                                              
             (AARP),        Initiative & all the services for                                                                   
             ANCHORAGE      keeping seniors at home.                                                                          
 4:48:11 PM SUZI PEARSON, Voiced appreciation for the support for                                                             
             DEPUTY         women experiencing domestic violence                                                                
             DIRECTOR,      through the State Department funding.                                                               
             AWAIC,         She pointed out the decrease to the                                                                 
             ANCHORAGE      AWAIC shelter's funding and the costs                                                               
                            associated   with  health   insurance,                                                              
                            amounting to  11.25% of  their budget.                                                              
                            The  agency is  supported through  the                                                              
                            State and private funding.                                                                        
 4:50:33 PM KARLA    JUTZI, Voiced support for greater funding for                                                            
             EXECUTIVE      those that are visually impaired.  She                                                              
             DIRECTOR,      pointed out that the increase of                                                                    
             ALASKA  CENTER diabetes is the leading cause of blind                                                              
             FOR THE BLIND and hearing disorders statewide.                                                                   
             &     VISUALLY                                                                                                     
 4:53:02 PM CHARLIE HALL, Testified in support for full funding                                                               
             ANCHORAGE      for the Alaska Pioneer Homes.  He said                                                            
            PIONEER  HOME, that  he really appreciates being able                                                               
            ANCHORAGE      to live in the Pioneer Home in                                                                       
4:54:02 PM  DEANNE  HARMS, Voiced support for full funding for the                                                            
            ANCHORAGE      Alaska Pioneer Homes, indicating that                                                                
            PIONEER        she likes living in that environment.                                                                
                           She was grateful to be at the Anchorage                                                              
                           Pioneer Home.   She said the staff was                                                               
                           very  caring.   She worried  about the                                                               
                           elevators and other equipment in the 30                                                              
                           year old building.                                                                                 
4:56:04 PM  JOHN  DONAHUE, Testified in  support for full funding                                                             
            ANCHORAGE      for the Alaska Pioneer Homes.  He said                                                               
            PIONEER  HOME, that  he really appreciates being able                                                               
            ANCHORAGE      to live in the Pioneer Home in                                                                       
                           Anchorage.  He noted that the CNA staff                                                              
                           has "dwindled" lately.  The overall                                                                  
                           staff is remarkable.                                                                               
4:58:03 PM  BONNIE MCGREW, Noted  support for the assisted living                                                             
            ANCHORAGE      homes.  She testified in support of                                                                  
                           Independent Living Grants.                                                                         
5:00:45 PM  JIM GOTTSTEIN, Requested that  the increment be added                                                             
            PRESIDENT,     back to fund SOTERIA-Alaska, mental                                                                  
               SOTERIA-health patients statewide.                                                                             
5:03:17 PM ARON      WOLF, Spoke in support of funding for mental                                                             
            M.D., MEDICAL health programs.                                                                                    
5:05:25 PM  FAITH   MYERS, Spoke in support of funding for mental                                                             
            SELF,          health programs.                                                                                   
5:07:32 PM  SUSAN   FAITH, Testified  in support  of  funding for                                                             
            SALVATION      Senior Community Grants and the Keep                                                                 
            ARMY,          the Seniors at Home Initiative.                                                                    
5:10:06 PM  JOE    MATHIS, Voiced  support for  tourism marketing                                                             
            MONTANA CREEK funding.                                                                                            
5:13:00 PM  MARY ELIZABETH Spoke in support of funding for mental                                                             
            RIDER,   SELF, health programs, especially for youth.                                                               
            NASW, ALASKA   Recommended  full  funding for  senior                                                               
                           care programs.                                                                                     
5:18:03 PM  TAMMY GRIFFIN, Voiced support for tourism funding and                                                             
            AH&CA  &   THE the  Truth in Marketing  for the State                                                               
            HOTEL   GROUP, program.                                                                                           
5:20:36 PM  KATY  PARRISH, Noted  support  for  full funding  for                                                             
             SELF,          children with disabilities.  She urged                                                              
             ANCHORAGE      early intervention services.  She                                                                   
                            pointed out that on the federal level,                                                              
                            there has been a 6% decrease to Special                                                             
                            Education   funding.       Alaska   is                                                              
                            vulnerable to  providing  services  to                                                              
                            those individuals.                                                                                
 5:23:25 PM BRIAN SAYLOR, Indicated    support   for   the   human                                                            
             CHAIRMAN,      services component & block grant                                                                    
             HEALTH & HUMAN funding.  These are the most vulnerable                                                             
             SERVICES       Alaskans and they need that funding.                                                                
             COMMISSION,    The need greatly exceeds the resources                                                              
             MOA, ANCHORAGE available.                                                                                        
 5:25:21 PM ANNA     ATTLA, Spoke in support for funding Infant                                                               
             ANCHORAGE      Learning.                                                                                         
 5:26:08 PM PAM    VANDERN- Indicated the need for increased                                                                  
             BURG, KID CORP funding for  the  Head Start  Program.                                                              
             &  HEAD  START The  goal is  to service  lower income                                                              
             PROGRAM,       families first.  Head Start has been                                                                
             PARENT,        flat funded for the past 10 years.                                                                  
             ANCHORAGE      There are always wait lists for the                                                                 
 5:29:46 PM JANEL KOSTEN, Testified in support of funding for                                                                 
             NURSE,         alcohol treatment programs & detox                                                                  
             SALVATION ARMY centers.                                                                                          
 5:31:15 PM ROWENA BROWN, Voiced support for greater & continued                                                              
             HEAD    START,  funding for the  Head Start  Program.                                                              
             ANCHORAGE      Head Start has been flat funded for the                                                             
                            past ten years.  There are many                                                                     
                            children on the Head Start wait lists.                                                            
 5:33:39 PM RUTH            Testified in support of greater funding                                                           
             ROSEWARNE,     for Alaska Tourism.  She said it was                                                                
             PRESIDENT,     "shameful" that Alaskans lack education                                                             
             ANCHORAGE      about their own State.  She stressed                                                                
             TOURISM        the importance of the Industry.                                                                   
 5:36:08 PM Co-Chair        ADJOURNMENT                                                                                     
                            The meeting was adjourned at 5:36 PM.                                                             

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