Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/20/1995 05:10 PM WTR

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                   HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON                                  
            WORLD TRADE AND STATE/FEDERAL RELATIONS                            
                         April 20, 1995                                        
                           5:10 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative Ramona Barnes, Chairman                                        
 Representative Gary Davis                                                     
 Representative Bill Williams                                                  
 Representative Gene Kubina                                                    
                                                                               
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
                                                                               
 Representative Gail Phillips, Vice Chairman                                   
 Representative Eldon Mulder                                                   
 Representative Jerry Mackie                                                   
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 * HJR 39:   Relating to the Northern Sea Route.                               
                                                                               
             PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
                                                                               
 * HJR 31:   Urging the United States Congress to consider and                 
             enact legislation to revise the Internal Revenue                  
             Service Code to levy a flat tax.                                  
                                                                               
             PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
                                                                               
 * HJR 41:   Supporting an exemption from the Jones Act for bulk               
             commodities, such as coal and coal derived fuels,                 
             produced in Alaska.                                               
                                                                               
             PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
                                                                               
 (* First public hearing)                                                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 ORSON P. SMITH, PE, PhD.                                                      
 Coastal Engineer/Oceanographer                                                
 Civil Works Branch                                                            
 United States Army Corps of Engineers                                         
 Post Office Box 898                                                           
 Anchorage, Alaska  99506-0898                                                 
 Telephone:  753-2632                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 39                                         
                                                                               
 PAUL FUHS, Self                                                               
 10652 Portar Lane                                                             
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  790-3030                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 39                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES                                                
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 102                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  645-3743                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered sponsor statement to HJR 31                      
                                                                               
 JACK PHELPS, Legislative Assistant                                            
 Representative Bill Williams                                                  
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 128                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  465-3424                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided position statement for HJR 41                   
                                                                               
 THOMAS CRAFFORD, Manager                                                      
 Minerals and Coal                                                             
 Cook Inlet Region, Inc.                                                       
 2525 C Street,  Suite 500                                                     
 Anchorage, Alaska  99503                                                      
 Telephone:  274-8638                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HJR 41                                         
                                                                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                              
 BILL:  HJR 39                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: NORTHERN SEA ROUTE DEVELOPMENT                                   
 SPONSOR(S): SP CMTE WORLD TRADE & ST/FED RELATIONS                            
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 03/27/95       932    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/27/95       932    (H)   WTR, TRANSPORTATION                               
 04/20/95              (H)   WTR AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 408                       
                                                                              
 BILL:  HJR 31                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: ENDORSE FEDERAL FLAT INCOME TAX                                  
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) JAMES,Kott                                      
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 02/15/95       369    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/15/95       369    (H)   FINANCE                                           
 02/27/95       511    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): KOTT                                
 03/15/95       756    (H)   WTR REFERRAL ADDED                                
 04/20/95              (H)   WTR AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 408                       
                                                                              
 BILL:  HJR 41                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: JONES ACT EXEMPTION FOR BULK COMMODITIES                         
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) WILLIAMS,Bunde,Kott                             
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG               ACTION                                      
 04/06/95      1051    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 04/06/95      1051    (H)   WTR, TRANSPORTATION                               
 04/11/95      1270    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): KOTT                                
 04/20/95              (H)   WTR AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 408                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 There is no tape available due to technical difficulties.                     
                                                                               
 The meeting of the House Special Committee on World Trade and                 
 State/Federal Relations was called to order by Chairman Ramona                
 Barnes at 5:10 p.m.  Members present at the call to order were                
 Representatives Barnes, Davis and Kubina.  Members absent were                
 Representatives Phillips, Mulder, Williams and Mackie.                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN RAMONA BARNES stated that there was not a quorum                     
 present, but would conduct the meeting until such time as a                   
 quorum could be satisfied.                                                    
                                                                               
 HJR 39 - NORTHERN SEA ROUTE DEVELOPMENT                                     
                                                                               
 DR. ORSON P. SMITH, Project Manager for the study of the Northern             
 Sea Route for the United States Army Corps of Engineers,                      
 testified via teleconference from Anchorage in support of HJR 39,             
 reiterating much of his testimony from a previous World Trade                 
 State/Federal Committee meeting (3/23/95). Dr. Smith urged                    
 passage of the Resolution.                                                    
                                                                               
 PAUL FUHS, spoke in favor of HJR 39, stating that he had no                   
 changes to make to the legislation.  He hoped the legislature                 
 would be able to act on the Resolution this session.                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS informed the committee that he would                
 confer with his committee to waive HJR 39 from the House                      
 Transportation Committee.                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS arrived at 5:17 p.m.                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE RAMONA BARNES noted that with Representative                   
 Williams presence, a quorum had been satisfied.                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA made a motion to move HJR 39 out of                
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN BARNES asked if there were any objections.  Hearing                  
 none, the motion passed out of the Special Committee on World                 
 Trade and State/Federal Relations.                                            
                                                                               
 HJR 31 - ENDORSE FEDERAL FLAT INCOME TAX                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES, sponsor of the Resolution, stated            
 the current federal Internal Revenue Code is characterized by                 
 loopholes, exceptions, exemptions, complicated schedules, and                 
 targeted tax breaks, which makes it difficult for the taxpayer to             
 calculate the tax obligation due.  Thus, there is a real need to              
 replace the current system with one that is fairer and simpler.               
                                                                               
 This Resolution calls for the United States Congress to enact                 
 legislation replacing the current IRS tax code with a fixed-rate              
 or "flat" tax.  This will create a tax system that is less                    
 difficult to comply with and tax all income once.  A "flat" tax               
 would also exclude from the definition of taxable income the                  
 earnings from personal and business savings, encouraging                      
 individuals and families to save and invest a portion of their                
 incomes.                                                                      
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA asked if this would exempt all savings from             
 taxation.  A scenario would be that people who earn millions each             
 year could place huge sums of money into personal savings and                 
 thus escape being taxed.                                                      
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said that it was the intent of the measure               
 to help the struggling and average income families who had                    
 scrimped and saved all year long and then be penalized by taxes.              
 The current system does not work.  She added that the "devil of               
 this Resolution is in the details," referring to the fact that                
 the millionaires and billionaires of this country would find ways             
 around this measure.                                                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA suggested that deleting lines 14-16 on page             
 1, would tighten up the language and intent of the Resolution.                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES supported the suggested change.                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS suggested amending HJR 39 by changing                    
 "would" on line 14, page 1 to "could".                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES said she would support any change that would             
 keep in tact where individuals would not have to pay a "penalty"              
 for savings.                                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KUBINA made a motion to delete lines 14-16.                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN BARNES asked if there were any objections.  Hearing                  
 none, the motion passed.                                                      
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked what percent of Internal Revenue                   
 Service would be eliminated by this Resolution.                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES was not certain of the total effect the                  
 Internal Revenue Service would feel by this measure.                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS made a motion to move CSHJR 31(WTR) out of               
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN BARNES asked if there were any objections.  Hearing                  
 none, the motion passed.                                                      
                                                                               
 HJR 41 - JONES ACT EXEMPTION FOR BULK COMMODITIES                         
                                                                               
 JACK PHELPS, Legislative Assistant to Representative Bill                     
 Williams, stated that HJR 41 asks Congress to carve out of the                
 Jones Act an exemption for Alaska bulk commodities, thus allowing             
 Alaska coal suppliers to respond to new opportunities in the                  
 world market for coal.  There are currently no United States                  
 manufactured vessels capable of servicing large scale movements               
 of Alaska coal.  Therefore, a Jones Act exemption is an important             
 part of any effort to market Alaska coal, especially since the                
 effort is likely to include markets in the western United States              
 and Hawaii.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. PHELPS said that Alaska is the only state that is                         
 discriminated against by the Jones Act.  Under current                        
 conditions, Alaska suppliers of coal will be noncompetitive with              
 Asian coal shipments to the United States ports, which harms both             
 Alaska and the United States balance of trade.                                
                                                                               
 MR. PHELPS added that HJR 41 is consistent with state policy set              
 forth in Title 44 which requires the Governor to use "best                    
 efforts and all available means to persuade the United States                 
 Congress to repeal" the Jones Act.                                            
                                                                               
 THOMAS CRAFFORD, Manager, Minerals and Coal for Cook Inlet                    
 Region, Inc., testified in support of HJR 41 and that he's always             
 looking into safe methods for shipping coal.                                  
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN BARNES asked Mr. Crafford if he was familiar with the                
 Healy Coal Project.  She said that a Hawaii market would be very              
 advantageous for Alaska.                                                      
                                                                               
 MR. CRAFFORD responded by saying that he knew of the project, but             
 was not totally familiar with it.                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS asked Mr. Crafford about the status of the               
 Beluga coal fields.                                                           
                                                                               
 MR. CRAFFORD stated that no one had stepped forward to work these             
 fields.  Coal is a much different commodity in terms of handling              
 and shipping.  It's not like oil, where if a spill would occur,               
 it would leave a  major impact on the environment.                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS made a motion to pass HJR 41 out of                      
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN BARNES asked if there were any objections.  Hearing                  
 none, the motion passed.                                                      
                                                                               
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 There being no further business to come before the House Special              
 Committee on World Trade and State/Federal Relations, CHAIRMAN                
 BARNES adjourned the meeting at 5:45 p.m.                                     
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                              
                                                                               

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