Legislature(2011 - 2012)

04/17/2011 05:33 PM FIN


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05:33:30 PM Start
05:33:37 PM SB102
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      April 17, 2011                                                                                            
                         5:33 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
5:33:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze called the House Finance Committee meeting                                                                     
to order at 5:33 p.m.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bill Stoltze, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Bill Thomas Jr., Co-Chair                                                                                        
Representative Anna Fairclough, Vice-Chair                                                                                      
Representative Mia Costello                                                                                                     
Representative Mike Doogan                                                                                                      
Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                     
Representative Les Gara                                                                                                         
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
Representative Mark Neuman                                                                                                      
Representative Tammie Wilson                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Jay Livey, Staff, Representative Hoffman.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SB 102    AK AFFORDABLE HEATING PROGRAM PAYMENTS                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          SB 10 was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do                                                                        
          pass" recommendation and with attached previously                                                                     
          published fiscal note: FN1, DHS.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 102                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     "An Act relating to certain payments made under the                                                                        
     Alaska affordable heating program."                                                                                        
5:33:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze noted the bill's history in committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair  Fairclough  MOVED  Conceptual Amendment  1.  She                                                                    
believed the legislation should be  tied to the price of oil                                                                    
at $150.00 per barrel for  three months, from August through                                                                    
October.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze  OBJECTED. He spoke against  the amendment.                                                                    
He felt attaching  a blackmail provisions to a  bill was bad                                                                    
public policy.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Vice-chair Fairclough WITHDREW Conceptual Amendment 1.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze  referred to previous discussion  about the                                                                    
fiscal note. He queried previous concerns about the issue.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thomas   referred  to  a  past   discussion  about                                                                    
consideration of  contingency language  to provide  half the                                                                    
funding  first and  give later  authorization if  more money                                                                    
was needed.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze did not recall the discussion.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
5:36:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thomas asked  about discussion  concerning putting                                                                    
language into the operating or  capital budgets to authorize                                                                    
the spending.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JAY  LIVEY, STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE HOFFMAN,  did not  recall                                                                    
the discussion  during the hearing  for the  legislation. He                                                                    
explained that the money for  the program was in two places.                                                                    
One was federal money through  the operating budget, and the                                                                    
other was through general funds  in the operating budget. He                                                                    
pointed out  that the  bill would not  affect the  amount of                                                                    
money  appropriated for  the program,  but  would allow  the                                                                    
department to prorate if there  was not enough federal money                                                                    
available.  The  amount  needed could  also  depend  on  the                                                                    
number of people applying and other factors.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Thomas  asked what  would  happen  if the  federal                                                                    
funds did not  come in. Mr. Livey responded that  one of the                                                                    
reasons for the bill was  to enable the department to figure                                                                    
out at the  beginning of the year how  many applicants there                                                                    
would be and much money  was availalbe. The department could                                                                    
then  figure   out  how  much   money  to   continue  paying                                                                    
individuals   until   the   legislature   could   meet   and                                                                    
appropriate  more money  or until  additional federal  funds                                                                    
came.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Livey  emphasized that without the  bill, the department                                                                    
would  not  be  able  to prorate  the  heating  payments  if                                                                    
federal  funds were  significantly  reduced. The  department                                                                    
would continue to pay benefits  through November or December                                                                    
and the  money would be  gone. Recipients would then  be cut                                                                    
off in  January until  more federal money  came in  or until                                                                    
the legislature met  and acted on the issue.  The bill would                                                                    
allow the  department more flexibility in  administering the                                                                    
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Stoltze   added   that   there   was   additional                                                                    
uncertainty because of the  unpredictability of fuel prices.                                                                    
Mr.  Livey  agreed  that  fuel  prices  were  going  up.  In                                                                    
addition, there  was still  a lot  of uncertainty  about the                                                                    
federal budget.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Wilson  believed people  could apply  for the                                                                    
program in October and all  the way through April. She asked                                                                    
whether  the  department  would   use  the  previous  year's                                                                    
numbers to  figure out  how many  people usually  applied so                                                                    
that they would have money for  people who did not begin the                                                                    
program until January or February.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
5:39:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Livey  replied  that  the department  had  to  make  an                                                                    
estimate  each   year  about  how  many   applications  were                                                                    
expected.  The program  has been  in place  for long  enough                                                                    
that the  department had a  good idea how  many applications                                                                    
to expect; it  was able to calculate  approximately how much                                                                    
money  was needed.  He acknowledged  that the  program could                                                                    
run  short  of  funds  at  the   end  of  the  year  if  the                                                                    
estimations  were  wrong,  but generally  the  numbers  were                                                                    
close.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Edgmon  MOVED  to   report  SB  102  out  of                                                                    
committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal  note. There being NO  OBJECTION, it was                                                                    
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SB 10 was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do pass"                                                                            
recommendation and with attached previously published                                                                           
fiscal note: FN1, DHS.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze discussed scheduling.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
5:41:36 PM                                                                                                                    
RECESSED                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 PM.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                

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