Legislature(2017 - 2018)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/04/2017 09:00 AM FINANCE

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Audio Topic
09:00:07 AM Start
09:01:00 AM HB57 || HB59
09:01:42 AM Public Testimony: Bethel, Cordova, Kotzebue, Nome, Valdez, Wrangell
09:59:41 AM Public Testimony: Off-nets
01:03:25 PM Public Testimony: Juneau
02:47:28 PM Public Testimony: Overflow
02:54:52 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= HB 57 APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit 2 Minutes> --
+= HB 59 APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit 2 Minutes> --
Testimony Instructions:
9:00 - 10:00 AM - Bethel, Cordova, Kotzebue,
Nome, Valdez & Wrangell
10:00 - 11:00 AM - Off Net sites
1:00 - 3:00 PM - Juneau
3:00 - 5:00 PM - Overflow Public Testimony as
needed
- Please arrive 15 min. early for sign-in process
- Please arrive 15 min. prior to end of
allotted time or testimony will close early
- Select a spokesperson if you are part of a
group with the same message
- All Off Net callers must hang up immediately
after testifying to keep lines open
- Continue to access meeting through akleg.gov
- The hearing may be televised on Gavel to
Gavel, please check listings
- If you are an Off Net caller without an LIO,
only call during designated Off Net times on
3/3/17 & 3/4/17
- Call 465-4648 by 5:00 PM 3/1/17 - 3/4/17 to
obtain call-in number
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                       March 4, 2017                                                                                            
                         9:00 a.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:00:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton  called the House Finance  Committee meeting                                                                    
to order at 9:00 a.m.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Neal Foster, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Paul Seaton, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Les Gara, Vice-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Jason Grenn                                                                                                      
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
Representative Scott Kawasaki                                                                                                   
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
Representative Lance Pruitt                                                                                                     
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Representative Cathy Tilton                                                                                                     
Representative Tammie Wilson                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
John Moosey,  Borough Manager, Mat-Su Borough,  Palmer; Mark                                                                    
Miller, Superintendent, Juneau  School District, Juneau; Ken                                                                    
Weber, Former  School Teacher, Juneau; John  Bennett, Alaska                                                                    
Center for  Resource Families, Juneau; Bob  Sylvester, Self,                                                                    
Juneau;  Joy Lyon,  Association for  the Education  of Young                                                                    
Children, Juneau;  Maureen Hall,  Self, Juneau;  Rorie Watt,                                                                    
City  Manager,  City and  Borough  of  Juneau, Juneau;  Erin                                                                    
Walker-Tolles,   Executive   Director,  Catholic   Community                                                                    
Service, Juneau;  Mary Riggen,  Kids and Self,  Juneau; Will                                                                    
Kronick,  Self,  Juneau;  Brian Holst,  Executive  Director,                                                                    
Juneau Economic  Development Council, and  President, Juneau                                                                    
Board  of Education,  Juneau; Kathy  Tran, Thunder  Mountain                                                                    
High  School Student,  Juneau; David  Parish, Self,  Juneau;                                                                    
Andi Story, Juneau School Board,  Juneau; Beth Rivest, Self,                                                                    
Juneau; Gavin Martin, Thunder  Mountain High School Student,                                                                    
Juneau; Cecelia  Miller, Self,  Juneau; Greg  Fitch, Founder                                                                    
and  Executive  Director,   Mental  Health  Consumer  Action                                                                    
Network,   Juneau;  Anji   Gallanos,  Self,   Juneau;  James                                                                    
Gallanos, Self,  Juneau; Susan Phipps, Mental  Health Client                                                                    
Action Network, Juneau; Senator Dennis Egan.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Jeff Jabusch,  City Manager, City  and Borough  of Wrangell,                                                                    
Wrangell; Brian  Merritt, Self, Wrangell; Bob  Metcalf, UAF-                                                                    
Northwest Campus,  Nome; Doug  Walrath, NACTEC,  Nome; Peter                                                                    
Hoepfner,  Board Member,  Cordova School  District, Cordova;                                                                    
Barb  Jewell, Chair,  Cordova School  Board, Cordova;  David                                                                    
Otness,  Self, Cordova;  Yoselyn  Gheen, Valdez  Imagination                                                                    
Library, Valdez;  Clement Richards, Mayor,  Northwest Arctic                                                                    
Borough,  Kotzebue;   Sue  Steinacher,  Self,   Nome;  Kelly                                                                    
Retnow,  Self,  Palmer;  Mike   Coons,  Self,  Palmer;  Clay                                                                    
Koplin,   Mayor,  City   of  Cordova,   Anchorage;  Michelle                                                                    
Matthew,  City  of  Quinhagak, Quinhagak;  Jeanne  Kitayama,                                                                    
Self,  Haines;   Page  O'Connell,  Self,   Dillingham;  Lois                                                                    
Repnow, Self,  Palmer; Mary  Stackhouse, Self,  Wasilla; Amy                                                                    
Titus,  City  of  White  Mountain,  White  Mountain;  Evelyn                                                                    
Verhagen,  Self, Nenana;  Amie Verhagen,  Self, Nenana;  Dr.                                                                    
Roger Holl, Self, Sterling; Mike Swanson, Self, Wasilla.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HB 57     APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          HB 57 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 59     APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          HB 59 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton addressed the meeting agenda.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 57                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain   programs;    capitalizing   funds;   amending                                                                    
     appropriations;   repealing    appropriations;   making                                                                    
     supplemental  appropriations and  reappropriations, and                                                                    
     making  appropriations  under   art.  IX,  sec.  17(c),                                                                    
     Constitution  of   the  State   of  Alaska,   from  the                                                                    
     constitutional budget  reserve fund; and  providing for                                                                    
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 59                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     "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."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:01:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton  indicated that testifiers would  be limited                                                                    
to 2 minutes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
^PUBLIC TESTIMONY: BETHEL,  CORDOVA, KOTZEBUE, NOME, VALDEZ,                                                                  
WRANGELL                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:01:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JEFF JABUSCH,  CITY MANAGER, CITY  AND BOROUGH  OF WRANGELL,                                                                    
WRANGELL (via teleconference), opposed  the reduction of the                                                                    
school  bond debt  reimbursement by  roughly 50  percent. He                                                                    
understood the  fiscal crisis the  state was facing  and the                                                                    
need to make  cuts where they made sense.  He had previously                                                                    
worked as  the finance  director for the  city for  36 years                                                                    
and understood  the ups  and downs the  state had  faced. He                                                                    
shared that Wrangell  had seen a reduction  in revenues from                                                                    
the  state over  the past  several  years. He  spoke to  the                                                                    
burden   the   state   continued   to   pass   on   to   the                                                                    
municipalities.  He   detailed  Wrangell  already   had  the                                                                    
highest sales  tax in  the state  at 7  percent and  a 12.75                                                                    
mill rate. He  provided details about the  city's senior tax                                                                    
exemption. The  city was limited  in the way it  could raise                                                                    
taxes  without  unfairly  taxing   only  a  portion  of  its                                                                    
population. He  opined that it  did not make sense  to raise                                                                    
taxes at  the state and  local levels to  maintain services,                                                                    
while  continuing to  distribute a  Permanent Fund  Dividend                                                                    
(PFD).  He supported  using the  Permanent Fund  earnings to                                                                    
fund government prior  to continuing to shift  the burden to                                                                    
local governments.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton pointed  out  that the  Wrangell debt  loss                                                                    
would   be    approximately   $96,000   under    the   bill.                                                                    
Alternatively,  if  there  was  a  5  percent  Base  Student                                                                    
Allocation (BSA) reduction it  would lose $197,000. He asked                                                                    
testifiers to  vocalize if  they had  a preference  over the                                                                    
bond debt reimbursement or a BSA reduction.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:05:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Ortiz   was  interested  in   knowing  which                                                                    
reduction  was  preferred  over   another.  He  thanked  Mr.                                                                    
Jabusch for his work serving the community of Wrangell.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:05:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN  MERRITT, SELF,  WRANGELL (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in  support  of the  Alaska  Marine  Highway System  (AMHS),                                                                    
which served  as a lifeline  to residents in  Southeast. The                                                                    
ferry  system   was  needed  for  seafood,   tourism,  local                                                                    
transportation, sports  travel, and  other. He did  not want                                                                    
to see AMHS  negatively impacted in any way.  He agreed that                                                                    
the PFD  was icing on the  cake. He thought PFDs  should not                                                                    
be  reduced for  handicapped individuals,  seniors, and  the                                                                    
impoverished. He  believed the  money could be  better spent                                                                    
on  services.  He  supported   public  education.  He  asked                                                                    
members to think of the entire state when making decisions.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:08:11 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BOB    METCALF,    UAF-NORTHWEST     CAMPUS,    NOME    (via                                                                    
teleconference),   urged   members   to  fully   fund   K-12                                                                    
education.  He  indicated  that   the  Nome  region  had  no                                                                    
educational silos.  He supported  funding for  the Technical                                                                    
Vocational Education Program  (TVEP) and Northwestern Alaska                                                                    
Career  and  Technical  Center (NACTEC).  He  spoke  to  the                                                                    
importance and  impact of  the program.  He agreed  that the                                                                    
cost  of  living and  doing  business  was higher  in  rural                                                                    
Alaska,  but he  disagreed with  claims that  rural campuses                                                                    
were  expensive.  He spoke  to  cuts  in state  funding.  He                                                                    
reported  other facts  about the  rural campus  in Nome.  He                                                                    
concluded that equal opportunity education was necessary.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:10:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOUG WALRATH,  NACTEC, NOME (via  teleconference), supported                                                                    
HB 57. He  stated it was evident it was  not possible to cut                                                                    
the state's way  to prosperity. He shared that  a 30 percent                                                                    
operational cut to  the program had been made  over the past                                                                    
couple  of  years. He  spoke  to  the  loss of  a  certified                                                                    
teacher position and a subsequent  decline in enrollment. He                                                                    
detailed  that   prior  to  vocational   training  programs,                                                                    
graduation  rates  had been  in  the  30 percent  range.  He                                                                    
emphasized that  graduation rates were presently  40 percent                                                                    
higher  than they  had been  10 to  15 years  back. He  also                                                                    
urged members  to support  pre-K through  college education.                                                                    
He spoke in  favor of funds for the Nome  Youth Facility. He                                                                    
favored  a   comprehensive  budget  plan  and   the  use  of                                                                    
Permanent  Fund earnings  and/or a  state tax  until a  time                                                                    
when  new natural  resources could  sustain  the state  once                                                                    
again.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton  indicated Representative Pruitt  had joined                                                                    
the meeting.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:13:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PETER  HOEPFNER,  BOARD  MEMBER,  CORDOVA  SCHOOL  DISTRICT,                                                                    
CORDOVA  (via  teleconference),  urged  support  for  public                                                                    
education. He  detailed that the  amount of  savings further                                                                    
cuts to education  would bring would not  compensate for the                                                                    
damage  done  to  the education  of  Alaska's  children.  He                                                                    
discussed that the  BSA had increased 10  percent, much less                                                                    
than  inflation.  He  spoke   to  significant  increases  in                                                                    
healthcare costs  that had impacted the  school district. He                                                                    
opposed the  reduction of  the funding  for the  school bond                                                                    
debt reimbursement. The Cordova  School District was looking                                                                    
at  reduced  funding  from  the  city due  to  a  series  of                                                                    
deficits. He spoke about costs  being shifted to Cordova. He                                                                    
stressed  the   need  to  preserve  education   funding.  He                                                                    
underscored the need for an educated population.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:15:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARB  JEWELL,  CHAIR,  CORDOVA SCHOOL  BOARD,  CORDOVA  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  supported comments  made by  her colleague                                                                    
Mr. Hoepfner.  She reported that  Cordova had funded  to the                                                                    
cap each  year -  it had  always put  money into  the school                                                                    
district because  investing in  education was  an investment                                                                    
in the community and state.  Due to the proposed state cuts,                                                                    
it was  the first year the  city would have to  decrease the                                                                    
funding -  it was looking at  a loss of $400,000  in funding                                                                    
from the city.  She was opposed the reduction  in the school                                                                    
bond debt  reimbursement and municipal revenue  sharing. She                                                                    
urged  the committee  to remember  the return  on investment                                                                    
provided by  education. She  provided statistics  related to                                                                    
the  investment in  education. She  urged  full funding  for                                                                    
education.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:17:01 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID  OTNESS, SELF,  CORDOVA (via  teleconference), opposed                                                                    
using the Permanent Fund to  fund government. He believed it                                                                    
would disproportionately  harm numerous Alaskans.  He stated                                                                    
that Institute  of Social and  Economic Research  (ISER) had                                                                    
reported the use  of the Permanent Fund  would further drive                                                                    
the  recession. He  discussed that  64  percent of  Alaskans                                                                    
polled  wanted changes  in  the oil  tax  credit system.  He                                                                    
questioned  whether  the  state  had done  enough  with  the                                                                    
consolidation of  school districts, considering the  sale of                                                                    
the  Alaska Rail  Road, or  consolidation of  the University                                                                    
system.  He believed  there  were  ways to  get  out of  the                                                                    
deficit. He  stated it  was not  the end of  the world  if a                                                                    
solution was not determined given  reserve money. He thought                                                                    
the problem  could be addressed  gradually over a  period of                                                                    
several years.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:19:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
YOSELYN  GHEEN,  VALDEZ  IMAGINATION  LIBRARY,  VALDEZ  (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  of the  benefits of  Best Beginnings                                                                    
and  the results  of  the  program. She  thought  it was  so                                                                    
important to  fund early childhood education.  She had grown                                                                    
up  in  Bethel  and  had  seen the  results  of  not  having                                                                    
opportunities  for  children.  She asked  the  committee  to                                                                    
consider continued funding for  the program. She thanked the                                                                    
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton  relayed  that the  committee  would  break                                                                    
until additional testifiers became available.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:21:57 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:46:19 AM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CLEMENT RICHARDS, MAYOR,  NORTHWEST ARCTIC BOROUGH, KOTZEBUE                                                                    
(via teleconference),  opposed the reduction in  the payment                                                                    
to  the  opposed  the  reduction to  the  school  bond  debt                                                                    
service. He  spoke of the devastating  affects the reduction                                                                    
would have on the borough  and the communities it served. He                                                                    
relayed that  the $1.9 million state  contribution to school                                                                    
bond  debt   reimbursement  and   the  $1.2   million  local                                                                    
contribution  to  the  school  district  was  a  significant                                                                    
portion of the borough's budget.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:49:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Foster  commented that  Nome had  taxing authority,                                                                    
but  none  of  the  surrounding  villages  did.  He  assumed                                                                    
Kotzebue  had   taxing  authority  and  that   none  of  the                                                                    
surrounding villages did. He thought  the burden may fall on                                                                    
Kotzebue if that were the case.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Richards  agreed.  He  shared   that  the  borough  was                                                                    
currently in litigation  over its right to  have a severance                                                                    
tax. He provided  detail. He specified that most  of the ten                                                                    
other villages  had restricted  property where  property tax                                                                    
could not  be raised. He  stressed that the  situation would                                                                    
be a  substantial unfair  burden on  Kotzebue. He  could not                                                                    
imagine placing  any additional challenges on  the borough's                                                                    
administration in determining  how to meet the  needs of the                                                                    
communities. He relayed that  currently two communities were                                                                    
in the  process of closing  their doors because  the revenue                                                                    
sharing  was   inadequate  to   maintain  or   support  them                                                                    
throughout  the  year.  He  shared   that  the  borough  was                                                                    
struggling  to  help the  two  communities  remain open.  He                                                                    
opposed the proposed bond debt reimbursement reduction.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:51:43 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Gara was concerned  with Mr. Richards' testimony.                                                                    
He spoke  about the reduction  in revenue sharing.  He asked                                                                    
surmised  losing a  Base Student  Allocation (BSA)  increase                                                                    
would  also  negatively impact  the  borough.  He asked  for                                                                    
examples of how  the reductions would be  devastating to the                                                                    
region.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Richards  responded that the borough's  school bond debt                                                                    
reimbursement  was  currently  $1.9 million  and  the  local                                                                    
school contribution was $2.1 million.  Without the funds the                                                                    
borough  would  only  have  $2.9  million  to  operate.  The                                                                    
borough had  huge obligations  to its  communities including                                                                    
plowing  snow, road  maintenance,  public safety,  emergency                                                                    
service,  water  and  sewer,   elder  services,  and  other.                                                                    
Additionally  the  Village   Public  Safety  Officer  (VPSO)                                                                    
program  was  struggling.  He provided  further  detail.  He                                                                    
spoke  about the  need for  heating assistance.  The borough                                                                    
would have to absorb an  additional $700,000 out of its $2.9                                                                    
million in operating funds.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:54:42 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUE  STEINACHER, SELF,  NOME  (via teleconference),  relayed                                                                    
that things  in Nome were  getting desperate in  the region.                                                                    
She thought it  was embarrassing an income tax  had not been                                                                    
implemented as  the state  was facing  a fiscal  crisis. She                                                                    
thought an  income tax  was more equitable  than the  cut to                                                                    
people's PFD.  She did not want  to see further of  the PFD.                                                                    
She  provided  some information  about  the  effects of  the                                                                    
budget  on  the area.  She  reiterated  her support  for  an                                                                    
income  tax  before doing  things  that  continued to  erode                                                                    
rural Alaska's  ability to support  itself. She  shared that                                                                    
the  community's emergency  shelter  that used  to serve  12                                                                    
people at  night was now  serving over 30 people  per night.                                                                    
She added Nome was a community  of 3,800 people with over 50                                                                    
families on  the waitlist to  get into  the 33 units  of low                                                                    
income  housing  supported  by the  Alaska  Housing  Finance                                                                    
Corporation (AHFC).                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:58:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Foster  thanked Ms.  Steinacher and  indicated that                                                                    
the committee would be looking  at the prospect of an income                                                                    
tax in  the form of a  bill. He thanked her  for her service                                                                    
having to do with low-income housing.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Steinacher added that any  discussion of a sales tax was                                                                    
unthinkable  in  her  mind.  She  stated  rural  Alaska  was                                                                    
already paying  2 to  4 times  the cost  for goods  in rural                                                                    
Alaska.  The cost  hurt low  income families  the most.  She                                                                    
reiterated her support for an income tax.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton indicated  that the  committee would  begin                                                                    
hearing testimony form the off-net sites.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
^PUBLIC TESTIMONY: OFF-NETS                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:59:41 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KELLY  RETNOW,  SELF,  PALMER  (via  teleconference),  spoke                                                                    
about  HB  115  and  advocated for  separating  use  of  the                                                                    
Permanent  Fund  and implementing  an  income  tax into  two                                                                    
bills. He remarked  that when it was  no longer economically                                                                    
feasible to  support a  hockey team it  was closed  down. He                                                                    
furthered  that  some  rural locations  in  Alaska  were  no                                                                    
longer  economically  feasible.  He  thought  it  was  worth                                                                    
looking into.  He understood it  would be difficult,  but he                                                                    
thought  it may  not  be cost-effective  to  remain in  some                                                                    
areas.  He supported  home schooling  kids. He  believed the                                                                    
education  system wasted  substantial money.  He thought  it                                                                    
had been  a big mistake to  close a North Slope  refinery in                                                                    
recent years. He  thought the legislature should  use up the                                                                    
Constitutional  Budget  Reserve   (CBR).  He  suggested  the                                                                    
legislature making a promise to  repay the Permanent Fund if                                                                    
money  was  used.  He  stated the  new  president  was  more                                                                    
economically  orientated  than  environmentally  orientated;                                                                    
therefore  he  believed  the   state's  economy  would  turn                                                                    
around.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:03:46 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MIKE COONS,  SELF, PALMER  (via teleconference),  stated the                                                                    
budget process had  been the least transparent  he had seen.                                                                    
He  believed  there  had been  underhanded  actions  by  the                                                                    
Majority. He  stated the most  recent bill version  showed a                                                                    
cost of  $6.6 billion. He opined  that all of the  hard work                                                                    
from the  past four years  had been wiped clean.  He opposed                                                                    
the use  of the  PFD, taxes,  and changing  oil and  gas tax                                                                    
credits. He  blamed the Democrats.  He opposed  the increase                                                                    
of government.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:06:17 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CLAY  KOPLIN,   MAYOR,  CITY  OF  CORDOVA,   ANCHORAGE  (via                                                                    
teleconference), opposed  the reduction  to the  school bond                                                                    
debt  reimbursement.  He  shared   that  the  fish  tax  had                                                                    
plummeted in the  current year due to the  worst pink salmon                                                                    
run in  three decades. Additionally, the  federal government                                                                    
had stopped  providing timber receipts. The  City of Cordova                                                                    
had looked  at reductions  and other  measures to  help with                                                                    
its budget.  The city was  not able  to fund its  schools at                                                                    
the maximum allowable cap for  the first time in many years.                                                                    
He emphasized  that cutting the bond  reimbursement impacted                                                                    
local funding for school classrooms.  The city supported the                                                                    
legislature's  efforts to  find new  state revenues,  but he                                                                    
implored the  committee to  avoid handing  down the  cost of                                                                    
the  state's  commitments  to match  the  bonds  for  school                                                                    
construction.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:09:13 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MICHELLE   MATTHEW,  CITY   OF  QUINHAGAK,   QUINHAGAK  (via                                                                    
teleconference),    opposed    shifting   costs    to    the                                                                    
municipalities. She  believed a fiscal solution  should make                                                                    
the  entire   state  including   municipalities,  residents,                                                                    
businesses, and  nonprofits whole again. The  city supported                                                                    
a fiscal  plan and  was not  in favor  of continued  cuts to                                                                    
resolve the deficit. The city  did not feel comfortable with                                                                    
increasing taxes  and shifting  costs. She urged  members to                                                                    
solve  the   budget  crisis   equitably.  She   thanked  the                                                                    
committee for its time.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:10:16 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JEANNE   KITAYAMA,   SELF,  HAINES   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
appreciated the  funding for early childhood  education. She                                                                    
discussed that  quality economic  returns came  from quality                                                                    
investments in  early childhood  education. She  opposed the                                                                    
reduction  to  the  school   bond  debt  reimbursement.  She                                                                    
thought the burden was being  shifted to the municipalities.                                                                    
She asked  that members find  fair solutions to  the state's                                                                    
fiscal problems.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton reported  that the  committee would  take a                                                                    
break until additional testifiers signed up.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:11:48 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:30:57 AM                                                                                                                   
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PAGE  O'CONNELL,  SELF,   DILLINGHAM  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
asked  the   committee  to  consider  increasing   funds  to                                                                    
maintain  community based  services  for behavioral  health.                                                                    
She shared that  she had been a resident of  Bristol Bay for                                                                    
19  years and  worked in  the behavioral  health field.  She                                                                    
detailed that  Alaskans with  disabilities were  more likely                                                                    
to  live meaningful  and productive  lives with  appropriate                                                                    
treatment  and support  that could  help them  remain stable                                                                    
and stay out of  expensive emergency and institutional care.                                                                    
She  communicated  it  was  difficult  to  see  people  with                                                                    
behavioral health disabilities end up  in jail due to a lack                                                                    
of  community  support. She  supported  a  fiscal plan  that                                                                    
supported  a  diverse  source  of  revenues.  She  would  be                                                                    
willing to  pay a  personal income tax.  She shared  a quote                                                                    
from Senator Paul Wellstone: "We  all do better, when we all                                                                    
do better."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton asked Ms. O'Connell  if she was specifically                                                                    
speaking to  the proposed reduction  in the number  of hours                                                                    
[per week] in the waiver program.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  O'Connell  answered  that the  waiver  reduction  would                                                                    
definitely  impact  her  clients  and  many  people  in  the                                                                    
region. She  clarified she was  in support of  all community                                                                    
services.  She detailed  that the  clients  she served  were                                                                    
piecing   everything  they   could  together   for  support,                                                                    
including  transportation  for   the  local  senior  center,                                                                    
meals, supported housing, and mental health services.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:35:23 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LOIS REPNOW,  SELF, PALMER (via  teleconference), encouraged                                                                    
additional  cuts  to  the  budget.  She  opposed  using  the                                                                    
Permanent Fund  and an  income tax.  She believed  the state                                                                    
needed to live  within its means. She  provided detail about                                                                    
a  tourist lodge  that had  burned down  many years  earlier                                                                    
that had  never been rebuilt.  She thought the  state needed                                                                    
to look closely at what it  was willing to spend money on to                                                                    
rebuild.  She  opposed the  previous  cut  to the  PFD.  She                                                                    
encouraged placing  a cap on  the PF. She  supported Senator                                                                    
Dunleavy's legislation  and wanted to  see a vote  put forth                                                                    
to the people.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:37:30 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARY STACKHOUSE,  SELF, WASILLA (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in  support of  HB  126 regarding  insurance  for the  state                                                                    
defense force. She provided detail.  She emphasized that the                                                                    
individuals  were volunteers  and were  first responders  to                                                                    
disasters.   She  supported   insurance  coverage   for  the                                                                    
individuals in the event of injury.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton   indicated  that  there  were   two  areas                                                                    
pertaining to  the state  defense force  - one  would expand                                                                    
the program  and establish a  new base in a  different area.                                                                    
He asked  for verification Ms. Stackhouse  was speaking only                                                                    
to insurance for the existing force.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Stackhouse  replied  she   was  speaking  primarily  to                                                                    
insurance  for the  existing force;  however, if  there were                                                                    
members  located  in  village  areas  they  could  be  first                                                                    
responders more  quickly. Expanding the defense  force would                                                                    
make it would make response much easier.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:40:14 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
AMY  TITUS,  CITY OF  WHITE  MOUNTAIN,  WHITE MOUNTAIN  (via                                                                    
teleconference),   opposed  shifting   costs  to   municipal                                                                    
governments.  She urged  the legislature  to adopt  a fiscal                                                                    
plan. She  relayed that rural  governments did not  have the                                                                    
money to pay  for state offset costs. She  detailed that the                                                                    
proposed  amendments were  temporary  fixes  to a  long-term                                                                    
problem that  needed to be  addressed at present.  She asked                                                                    
the committee to find another  solution that did not involve                                                                    
shifting  costs to  municipal governments.  She thanked  the                                                                    
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:41:33 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
EVELYN VERHAGEN, SELF,  NENANA (via teleconference), opposed                                                                    
dipping into the earnings reserve  account. She talked about                                                                    
the  fact  that  her  family depended  upon  the  PFDs.  She                                                                    
recommended  that  the   legislators  fully  examine  budget                                                                    
needs. She  thought the legislators  need to  consider needs                                                                    
versus  wants. She  proposed  spending more  in  times of  a                                                                    
financial   surplus,  but   she  thought   in  the   current                                                                    
circumstances  the budget  needs needed  to be  reevaluated.                                                                    
She talked about the high costs of living in Alaska.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:45:07 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
AMIE  VERHAGEN, SELF,  NENANA (via  teleconference), opposed                                                                    
using  the  earnings reserve  account  and  opposed a  state                                                                    
income tax.  She did  not feel the  legislature had  made an                                                                    
earnest attempt to reduce the  state's budget. She supported                                                                    
additional cuts. She advised a  responsible 5 percent to the                                                                    
Base Student Allocation (BSA). She  thought it was better to                                                                    
cut   the   BSA  rather   than   reduce   the  school   bond                                                                    
reimbursement.  She  encouraged  having everyone  share  the                                                                    
burden. If  the state did  not practice disciple  at present                                                                    
it would be more difficult  later. She spoke of working hard                                                                    
every day  in her family.  She relayed that the  PFD brought                                                                    
her family above the poverty line.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:50:09 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR.  ROGER   HOLL,  SELF,  STERLING   (via  teleconference),                                                                    
addressed HB  126 related to  the workers'  compensation for                                                                    
unpaid  training  for the  Alaska  State  Defense Force.  He                                                                    
shared that  he had  previously been part  of the  force. He                                                                    
provided information about the force.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton  interjected and  asked Mr.  Holl if  he was                                                                    
asking  for the  budgetary  increase to  expand the  defense                                                                    
force. He relayed  that a separate bill would be  heard at a                                                                    
later date.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Holl  responded  that   workers'  compensation  had  an                                                                    
economic component and the force  had always been told there                                                                    
would  be an  increased cost  for workers'  compensation for                                                                    
training rather than state active duty.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton asked  if  Mr. Holl  wanted  to comment  on                                                                    
expanding the defense force increment in the budget.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr.   Holl  responded   that   he   believed  the   workers'                                                                    
compensation was a  part of that increment.  He relayed that                                                                    
the investment would protect the  state from large liability                                                                    
claims for  injuries or death.  He provided  further detail.                                                                    
He spoke about  an entire budget being wiped  out because of                                                                    
someone twisting their ankle.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:53:25 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JOHN MOOSEY, BOROUGH MANAGER,  MAT-SU BOROUGH, PALMER, spoke                                                                    
in  opposition to  the  reduction to  the  school bond  debt                                                                    
reimbursement  program. He  relayed  the proposed  reduction                                                                    
would  cut  state bond  debt  reimbursement  for prior  year                                                                    
capital  improvement  bonds  by 41.8  percent,  which  would                                                                    
result in a dramatic cost change  to Mat-Su in the amount of                                                                    
$9.5  million.   He  shared   that  the   district's  school                                                                    
population  had grown  by 4  percent  in the  last year.  He                                                                    
detailed that residents  had been asked to vote  on a school                                                                    
bonding  proposal in  2011.  The state  had  reneged on  its                                                                    
promise  when  the governor  had  vetoed  a portion  of  the                                                                    
amount. He stressed that the  reduction would fall unequally                                                                    
on Mat-Su. He relayed that  almost every resident would have                                                                    
to  pay close  to  $100 annually  to  offset the  unexpected                                                                    
cost. He asked members to reconsider the cut.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:55:30 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton  remarked that  a 5 percent  cut to  the BSA                                                                    
would  be a  $9.85 million  cut to  Mat-Su. He  presumed Mr.                                                                    
Moosey would oppose that cut as well.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Moosey replied  in  the affirmative.  He  spoke to  the                                                                    
importance  of developing  a plan  so the  communities could                                                                    
plan for  reductions. He  relayed that  four years  back the                                                                    
legislature  had  communicated  its   plan  to  cut  revenue                                                                    
sharing  over  a  period  of time,  which  had  allowed  the                                                                    
borough  to  plan.  He  elaborated   on  the  situation.  He                                                                    
believed  that when  residents  voted on  an  issue and  the                                                                    
state  then  took the  money  away  constituted a  break  in                                                                    
trust. He thanked members for its time.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton  indicated that  no one  else was  online to                                                                    
testify. He recessed the meeting until 1:00 p.m.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:57:59 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:02:51 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENNED                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
^PUBLIC TESTIMONY: JUNEAU                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:03:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK   MILLER,  SUPERINTENDENT,   JUNEAU  SCHOOL   DISTRICT,                                                                    
JUNEAU, brought  a stuffed gorilla  to the  testifier table.                                                                    
He often  referred to the  Anchorage School District  as the                                                                    
400 pound gorilla  because it educated half  the students in                                                                    
the state.  He stated  that shifting the  bond debt  for the                                                                    
Anchorage  School  District   would  negatively  impact  the                                                                    
education of half  the students in the state  because of the                                                                    
financing  structure. He  explained that  the state  did not                                                                    
provide sufficient  funds to educate students  in Juneau. He                                                                    
shared the  district had a  100 percent graduation  rate for                                                                    
special education and Alaska Native  students in the current                                                                    
year. He detailed  that shifting the debt to  the city meant                                                                    
that either  cuts would  have to be  made or  property taxes                                                                    
would be increased. He stated  that shifting the tax burden,                                                                    
making cuts, moving the PFD,  would not change the issue. He                                                                    
believed everyone in  Alaska had to know that  at some point                                                                    
people would have to pay sales, income, and property tax.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Seaton  recognized   Senator   Dennis  Egan   and                                                                    
Representative Justin Parish in the room.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:06:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KEN WEBER,  FORMER SCHOOL TEACHER, JUNEAU,  spoke in support                                                                    
of  early  child  education. He  emphasized  that  the  more                                                                    
children were invested  in, the less they  would cost later.                                                                    
He continued that the more  education children were provided                                                                    
meant  they  would  be productive  members  of  society.  He                                                                    
thanked the committee for its time.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:07:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN BENNETT,  ALASKA CENTER FOR RESOURCE  FAMILIES, JUNEAU,                                                                    
thanked the committee  for its work to  maintain support for                                                                    
early childhood education and  services. The center provided                                                                    
support  to  the  Office  of   Children's  Services  and  he                                                                    
provided training to  foster parents. He spoke  to how early                                                                    
childhood experiences impacted a  child's life. He discussed                                                                    
how  adverse experiences  impacted  children  - the  results                                                                    
were dramatic and  led to high costs  for society (including                                                                    
drug  problems  and  other).  The best  way  to  offset  the                                                                    
experiences  were   to  provide  programs  and   support  to                                                                    
children.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:09:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BOB  SYLVESTER,  SELF,  JUNEAU,  spoke  in  support  of  the                                                                    
budget. He  believed the committee's  efforts to  spread the                                                                    
pain was a good idea. He  had supported an income tax in the                                                                    
past and  he believed it  was time  to bring the  income tax                                                                    
back. He  stated that being  fair was the key.  He testified                                                                    
in  favor of  education and  asked  the committee  to be  as                                                                    
generous as possible.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:11:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOY LYON,  ASSOCIATION FOR THE EDUCATION  OF YOUNG CHILDREN,                                                                    
JUNEAU, thanked the committee for  its work on behalf of the                                                                    
state. She  appreciated the committee's work  on a long-term                                                                    
fiscal solution  that included  new revenues.  She supported                                                                    
an  income tax.  She thanked  the committee  for maintaining                                                                    
funding for  early childhood education including  Parents as                                                                    
Teachers, Best  Beginnings, and  other. She  invited members                                                                    
to attend a film showing  on the following Wednesday related                                                                    
to an early childhood experience study.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:13:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAUREEN  HALL,   SELF,  JUNEAU,  testified  in   support  of                                                                    
healthcare and education. She worked  as a school nurse. She                                                                    
shared that  she had  over 1,000  students in  her caseload.                                                                    
She  stressed  that  it  was  not the  time  to  be  cutting                                                                    
education during  given the  current opioid  epidemic facing                                                                    
the state.  The high schools  no longer had alcohol  or drug                                                                    
counselors due to budget cuts. She  was a mother of four and                                                                    
grandmother of  six. Two of  her children had  been educated                                                                    
in  the University  of Alaska  system,  which she  supported                                                                    
maintaining the  budget for.  She testified  in favor  of an                                                                    
income  tax.  She  thought  it  was  time  for  everyone  to                                                                    
participate.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:15:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RORIE  WATT,  CITY  MANAGER, CITY  AND  BOROUGH  OF  JUNEAU,                                                                    
JUNEAU,  thanked the  committee for  its work.  He spoke  in                                                                    
opposition to the  cut to school construction  bond debt. He                                                                    
emphasized  that shifting  the  cost  to the  municipalities                                                                    
would negatively impact the state.  He stated that community                                                                    
leaders  had   earned  the  trust  of   their  citizens.  He                                                                    
explained  that   citizens  had  paid  statewide   to  local                                                                    
governments  $1.3 billion  in taxes  in 2015.  He elaborated                                                                    
that  the citizens  had reelected  most  of the  politicians                                                                    
because they liked the services  they received. He supported                                                                    
a broad-based tax.  He was heartened by  Co-Chair Foster and                                                                    
Co-Chair  Seaton's recent  letter  to the  editor about  the                                                                    
type of Alaska they wanted to live in.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:17:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ERIN WALKER-TOLLES,  EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,  CATHOLIC COMMUNITY                                                                    
SERVICE,  JUNEAU, shared  that  the board  of directors  had                                                                    
passed  a   resolution  to  encourage  the   legislature  to                                                                    
implement  a sustainable  budget and  to use  Permanent Fund                                                                    
earnings. She  provided information  about the  service that                                                                    
served  11  communities in  Southeast  Alaska.  She did  not                                                                    
support cuts to municipalities. She  spoke in favor of Meals                                                                    
on  Wheels,  transit  programs,  and  other  that  supported                                                                    
seniors and  disabled individuals.  She asked  the committee                                                                    
to consider doing what it could.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:19:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY RIGGEN,  KIDS AND SELF,  JUNEAU, thanked  the committee                                                                    
for  its time.  She believed  the state's  responsibility to                                                                    
protect its most vulnerable citizens  did not go away during                                                                    
a  budget deficit.  She testified  in support  of Office  of                                                                    
Children's Services  staffing. She did not  believe a single                                                                    
person in the room could  last in an OCS caseworker position                                                                    
for more than  one year. She urged the committee  to do what                                                                    
it could to shore up  the agency's budget. She clarified she                                                                    
had never  worked for the agency  and had no reason  to gain                                                                    
from  testifying in  support of  the agency.  She emphasized                                                                    
the  importance of  the  issue and  asked  the committee  to                                                                    
remember it was about Alaska's children.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:22:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WILL KRONICK, SELF, JUNEAU, shared  he had been a pre-school                                                                    
teacher  and  currently worked  for  a  social work  program                                                                    
working to  reunite families with  children in  foster care.                                                                    
The families  he worked with  depended on services  from the                                                                    
government and  a functional budget. He  asked the committee                                                                    
to implement a tax.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN   HOLST,    EXECUTIVE   DIRECTOR,    JUNEAU   ECONOMIC                                                                    
DEVELOPMENT   COUNCIL,  AND   PRESIDENT,  JUNEAU   BOARD  OF                                                                    
EDUCATION, JUNEAU,  testified that cuts to  state government                                                                    
had  been substantial  and were  sufficient. He  stated that                                                                    
education is  an investment in  economic development  and he                                                                    
asked the legislature  to avoid pushing the  tax burden onto                                                                    
local  government.  He  shared  that since  2011,  over  100                                                                    
positions had  been cut in  Juneau schools.  He communicated                                                                    
that the  state Chamber of  Commerce had urged  the governor                                                                    
and  legislature   to  reduce   spending  to   $4.5  billion                                                                    
unrestricted  general  fund -  he  believed  the budget  was                                                                    
either there or  close to that number. He  remarked that the                                                                    
legislature  had done  what  was needed  and  it had  shrunk                                                                    
government  substantially. He  stressed  that  the cuts  had                                                                    
hurt  the education  system and  the economy.  He asked  the                                                                    
legislature   to  find   ways  to   maintain  services.   He                                                                    
underscored a  strong education system  was critical  to the                                                                    
state's   economic  future.   He  emphasized   that  nothing                                                                    
attracted business better than  a talented workforce. He was                                                                    
concerned about  the proposed  cut to  the state's  share of                                                                    
school bond reimbursements.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:25:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KATHY TRAN,  THUNDER MOUNTAIN  HIGH SCHOOL  STUDENT, JUNEAU,                                                                    
spoke  in  support  of  full funding  of  the  Base  Student                                                                    
Allocation (BSA), school bond  debt reimbursement, and pupil                                                                    
transportation. She  discussed that for the  past five years                                                                    
education had  been flat  funded, but it  did not  mean that                                                                    
education  had not  suffered  its fair  share  of cuts.  She                                                                    
shared  that the  Juneau School  District had  cut teachers,                                                                    
staff,  materials, programs,  and  other. She  spoke to  the                                                                    
importance  of student/teacher  relationships.  She did  not                                                                    
want   her  younger   siblings  to   merely  survive   their                                                                    
education; she wanted them to  flourish. She shared that she                                                                    
is  a first  generation Vietnamese  American and  she shared                                                                    
her  personal story  through the  education system.  Through                                                                    
the help of her teachers  she had overcome difficulties with                                                                    
reading  and  writing.  She  wanted   to  see  more  success                                                                    
stories, which  would begin with a  well-developed education                                                                    
system.  Education  was  an  investment  in  the  future  of                                                                    
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:27:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID  PARISH,   SELF,  JUNEAU,  testified  in   support  of                                                                    
education. He  shared that his  seven children had  all gone                                                                    
through the  Juneau school  system when  it had  been better                                                                    
funded. He  believed the cutbacks and  increased class sizes                                                                    
was  not benefitting  the community.  He shared  information                                                                    
about  his place  in  Tenakee  that had  a  well and  septic                                                                    
system,  while his  place in  Juneau did  not. He  supported                                                                    
extending the  services farther  out the  road. He  spoke in                                                                    
support  of  a  future  for   fisheries.  He  spoke  to  the                                                                    
community's  landfill and  wanted to  see it  stop polluting                                                                    
the channel.  He recalled  fish stocks  in the  river around                                                                    
the landfill years  back. He supported a  cleanup project to                                                                    
decontaminate its  water. He hoped the  legislature would be                                                                    
successful.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:31:45 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:32:38 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ANDI  STORY,   JUNEAU  SCHOOL   BOARD,  JUNEAU,   urged  the                                                                    
legislature  to   continue  to  invest  in   education.  The                                                                    
investment  really impacted  the state's  future. She  asked                                                                    
the  committee to  fully fund  the  Base Student  Allocation                                                                    
(BSA).  She spoke  to  $11  million in  cuts  to the  Juneau                                                                    
School District  over the past  several years.  She stressed                                                                    
that education needed to be  responsive to students and jobs                                                                    
for the present. She stated  the board had to make unpopular                                                                    
cuts to  balance the district's  budget. She  discussed that                                                                    
100  percent  of the  Thunder  Mountain  High School  senior                                                                    
Native Alaskan students had graduated.  She was opposed to a                                                                    
cut to the school bond  debt reimbursement. She stressed the                                                                    
change  would take  away from  teachers.  She stressed  that                                                                    
school  boards  could  not  generate  revenue  to  meet  the                                                                    
students' needs;  they relied on  the legislature  and local                                                                    
municipal leaders  for funding.  She asked the  committee to                                                                    
prioritize education.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:35:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BETH  RIVEST, SELF,  JUNEAU, thanked  the committee  for its                                                                    
hard  work   on  the  budget.  She   stressed  that  funding                                                                    
education built  tolerance and understanding.  She supported                                                                    
reaching  all of  the state's  students  and people  through                                                                    
education.  She  spoke  from the  perspective  of  a  single                                                                    
parent.  She   relayed  the   travel  struggle   had  become                                                                    
prohibitive due to cuts to  the Alaska Marine Highway System                                                                    
(AMHS). She  wanted her children  to return to  Alaska after                                                                    
seeing  other  parts  of  the  world; if  the  goal  was  to                                                                    
reinvest in Alaska, they needed  to encourage people to come                                                                    
back. She spoke to the  Permanent Fund. She budgeted tightly                                                                    
and the PFD had provided  funding for her children's medical                                                                    
bills and had helped to  save for college. She explained the                                                                    
PFD was  a community  owned. She  thanked the  committee for                                                                    
working very hard.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton  noted the committee would  break until 2:00                                                                    
p.m. to give testifiers an opportunity to sign up.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:40:58 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:01:44 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:02:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GAVIN MARTIN, THUNDER MOUNTAIN  HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT, JUNEAU,                                                                    
testified in  support of  full funding  of the  Base Student                                                                    
Allocation (BSA). He thanked the  committee for its time. He                                                                    
was the  senior president  at Thunder Mountain  High School.                                                                    
He shared that he is  dyslexic, which had created tremendous                                                                    
struggles  within   his  academic  career.  He   shared  his                                                                    
personal story  in the education  system. He  discussed that                                                                    
research  had shown  that 75  percent  of youths  struggling                                                                    
with reading  in third grade  never caught up.  The students                                                                    
were four times more likely to  drop out of high school. The                                                                    
goal of public education was  to allow students with optimal                                                                    
education to succeed in life.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:04:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CECELIA MILLER, SELF, JUNEAU, thanked  the House for forming                                                                    
a coalition.  She was  excited the House  had a  leader from                                                                    
rural  Alaska;   she  believed  the  perspective   would  be                                                                    
valuable. She supported the committee's  look at new revenue                                                                    
sources.   She  spoke   to  concerns.   She  addressed   the                                                                    
University and  relayed its funding had  been seriously cut.                                                                    
She detailed that one of  the University's goals was to have                                                                    
90 percent  of its  teachers being  prepared in  Alaska. She                                                                    
believed it would not happen  if the University did not have                                                                    
the budget.  She supported funding  for K-12  education. She                                                                    
spoke in  support of  state employees.  She shared  that the                                                                    
pink slips passed  out in the previous year  had resulted in                                                                    
the loss  of some  great employees.  She spoke  to furlough.                                                                    
She encouraged  the legislature to honor  its contracts with                                                                    
state employees.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:07:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GREG FITCH,  FOUNDER AND  EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,  MENTAL HEALTH                                                                    
CONSUMER  ACTION  NETWORK,  JUNEAU,   spoke  in  support  of                                                                    
funding  to bolster  the mental  health budget.  He believed                                                                    
mental  health  should  take   the  forefront.  He  believed                                                                    
investments needed to be made  in new programs. He supported                                                                    
ADUs  and respite,  which would  save funding.  He explained                                                                    
they  were  basically  residential  centers  that  could  be                                                                    
opened in places like Sitka,  Juneau, and other. He believed                                                                    
it  was important  to take  care of  the state's  people. He                                                                    
believed   "we  could   do   better."   He  understood   the                                                                    
legislature  cared about  state  residents.  He thanked  the                                                                    
committee for its time.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Seaton relayed  the committee  would break  for 30                                                                    
minutes. There  were currently  no additional  testifiers in                                                                    
the room.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:10:01 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:41:49 PM                                                                                                                    
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ANJI GALLANOS,  SELF, JUNEAU, spoke in  support of education                                                                    
funding.  She shared  that she  had two  sons in  the Juneau                                                                    
public  high  school system.  She  was  encouraging and  was                                                                    
encouraged  by  the  support   the  committee  had  provided                                                                    
education  thus far.  She  spoke to  the  value of  Alaska's                                                                    
education  system  and  the   importance  of  continuing  to                                                                    
support it.  She wanted to  contribute as a citizen  and was                                                                    
more  than willing  to  pay  an income  and  sales tax.  She                                                                    
wanted to  ensure she  was doing her  part. She  thanked the                                                                    
committee for its time.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:43:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAMES GALLANOS,  SELF, JUNEAU, shared information  about his                                                                    
background in social work and  as a Juneau resident. He felt                                                                    
strongly  about the  prioritization of  health, safety,  and                                                                    
education. He spoke to  challenges and struggles communities                                                                    
experienced   and  the   importance  of   strong  supportive                                                                    
communities  and  recovery  environments. He  spoke  to  the                                                                    
importance of  giving people the  opportunity to  thrive. He                                                                    
supported a strong fiscal plan and seeking new revenues.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:45:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN PHIPPS,  MENTAL HEALTH CLIENT ACTION  NETWORK, JUNEAU,                                                                    
shared that she  had come to Juneau on vacation  in 1975 and                                                                    
was still  in Juneau.  She was a  survivor of  mental health                                                                    
and  substance abuse  treatment and  the corrections  system                                                                    
(it had been  20 years since that time). She  wanted to "get                                                                    
on the band wagon" for  giving kids everything possible. She                                                                    
relayed  that  400  people would  be  released  from  Juneau                                                                    
Correctional  Center in  the coming  year due  to recidivism                                                                    
legislation [SB  91] passed in  2016. She stressed  only ten                                                                    
additional  beds  had  been  allocated  to  Gastineau  Human                                                                    
Services.  She relayed  that  consumer  run programs  worked                                                                    
very well.  She shared information about  her volunteer work                                                                    
for various  treatment services.  She urged  the legislature                                                                    
to continue  spending funds on  services for  people getting                                                                    
out of prison and without anything else.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
^PUBLIC TESTIMONY: OVERFLOW                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:47:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKE  SWANSON,  SELF,   WASILLA  (via  teleconference),  was                                                                    
greatly concerned  about a budget  cycle that did  not align                                                                    
spending with  earnings. He believed  the bill  continued to                                                                    
kick  the can  down the  road. He  did not  support spending                                                                    
$6.6  billion on  the operating  budget in  FY 18.  He cited                                                                    
data  from  the  Department of  Revenue  regarding  incoming                                                                    
revenue.  He shared  that former  Governor Parnell  had been                                                                    
voted  out partially  due  to deficits  and  he stated  that                                                                    
Governor Walker  had doubled the  deficit. He  reasoned that                                                                    
at the  current rate the  state was spending savings  it had                                                                    
one or  two years before  it would  have to borrow  money to                                                                    
pay its bills. He spoke  to numerous taxes on mines, people,                                                                    
fishing, and other. He believed  the only way forward was to                                                                    
cut  the  budget to  a  sustainable  level. He  believed  $2                                                                    
billion should be cut from  the budget. He supported cuts to                                                                    
everything including education and  human services. He asked                                                                    
the committee  to consider  Gunnar Knapp's  revenue analysis                                                                    
[formerly  with Institute  of Social  and Economic  Research                                                                    
(ISER)]. He  supported cuts to  oil tax credits. He  did not                                                                    
support handouts for government or corporate Alaska.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:53:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Seaton shared that the  3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. slot                                                                    
had  been  reserved  for any  overflow  testimony;  however,                                                                    
there were no additional testifiers online or present.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
HB  57  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
HB  59  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:54:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 2:54 p.m.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 57 Documents in Opposition 3- 3.4.17.pdf HFIN 3/4/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 57
HB 57 Documents in Support3- 3.4.17.pdf HFIN 3/4/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 57
HB 57 HB 59 Public Testimony PKT.pdf HFIN 3/4/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 57
HB 59
HB 57 Documents in Opposition5 3.14.17.pdf HFIN 3/4/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 57
HB 57 Documents in Support5 3.14.17.pdf HFIN 3/4/2017 9:00:00 AM
HB 57