Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211

02/22/2006 01:30 PM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 265 BONDS OF BOND BANK AUTHORITY TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 265 Out of Committee
+= SB 193 DEFERRAL OF MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAXES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ SB 247 REVENUE SHARING PROGRAM TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Postponed>
*+ SB 246 APPROP TO REVENUE SHARING FUND TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Postponed>
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    SENATE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                  
                       February 22, 2006                                                                                        
                           1:31 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bert Stedman, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Gary Stevens, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Thomas Wagoner                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Albert Kookesh                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 265                                                                                                             
"An Act increasing  the total amount of bonds and  notes that the                                                               
Alaska Municipal  Bond Bank Authority  may have  outstanding; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     MOVED SB 265 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 193                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to an  optional deferral of  municipal property                                                               
taxes  on  certain  primary  residences  owned  and  occupied  by                                                               
individuals with  incomes at or below  federal poverty guidelines                                                               
for the state."                                                                                                                 
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 247                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to the  revenue sharing program;  and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
     BILL HEARING POSTPONED                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 246                                                                                                             
"An Act  making a special  appropriation from the  Alaska capital                                                               
income fund  to the  revenue sharing fund;  and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     BILL HEARING POSTPONED                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 265                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: BONDS OF BOND BANK AUTHORITY                                                                                       
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) STEDMAN                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
02/03/06       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/03/06       (S)       CRA, FIN                                                                                               
02/15/06       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
02/15/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/15/06       (S)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
02/22/06       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 193                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: DEFERRAL OF MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAXES                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) BUNDE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
05/04/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/04/05       (S)       CRA, FIN                                                                                               
01/30/06       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
01/30/06       (S)       -- Rescheduled to 02/08/06 --                                                                          
02/08/06       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
02/08/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/08/06       (S)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
02/15/06       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
02/15/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/15/06       (S)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
02/22/06       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR CON BUNDE                                                                                                               
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor SB 193                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ANDY HERRINGTON                                                                                                                 
Fairbanks, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 193                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
STEVE VAN SANT, State Assessor                                                                                                  
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development                                                                        
PO Box 110800                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK 99811-0800                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 193                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MARIE DARLIN                                                                                                                    
Capital City Task Force for AARP                                                                                                
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Stated support for SB 193                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  BERT  STEDMAN called  the  Senate  Community and  Regional                                                             
Affairs  Standing  Committee  meeting  to order  at  1:31:30  PM.                                                             
Present  were Senators  Thomas Wagoner,  Gary  Stevens and  Chair                                                               
Bert Stedman.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
              SB 265-BONDS OF BOND BANK AUTHORITY                                                                           
                                                                                                                              
1:32:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BERT STEDMAN  announced SB 265 to be  up for consideration.                                                               
He noted that public testimony  was taken at the previous hearing                                                               
then  asked if  anyone else  had questions  or comments.  Finding                                                               
none, he asked for a motion.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:32:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS motioned  to report  SB 265  from committee                                                               
with individual recommendations and  attached fiscal notes. There                                                               
being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          SB 193-DEFERRAL OF MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAXES                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:33:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BERT  STEDMAN announced SB  193 to be up  for consideration                                                               
and asked for a motion to adopt the committee substitute (CS).                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GARY  STEVENS  moved  \G  version  CS  for  SB  193  for                                                               
discussion purposes.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN called a brief at ease at 1:35:18 PM.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:37:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN asked Senator Bunde to comment on the CS.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR CON  BUNDE, Sponsor of  SB 193, explained he  changed the                                                               
title  and  removed  "owned  and  occupied  by  individuals  with                                                               
incomes  at  or below  the  federal  poverty guidelines  for  the                                                               
state". In  Section 1  the requirement of  10 years  occupancy in                                                               
the  home  was  changed  to  eligibility  for  a  permanent  fund                                                               
dividend. That  streamlines the requirement with  current statute                                                               
relating to the  senior and veteran exemptions. Page  1, line 13,                                                               
(C) increases the income requirements  to three times the federal                                                               
poverty  guidelines. That  allows municipalities  more discretion                                                               
in choosing  eligibility guidelines. He  noted that the  last two                                                               
changes were  made at the Chair's  request. Page 2, line  2 deals                                                               
with partial ownership. It requires  that all owners maintain the                                                               
property as  a primary  residence; that they  are eligible  for a                                                               
permanent fund  dividend; and  that the  combined income  is less                                                               
than three times the federal  poverty guideline. Page 2, line 10,                                                               
(b) requires  that all  owners apply annually.  Page 2,  line 18,                                                               
(c) allows  municipalities to  record a lien  on the  property to                                                               
ensure that they would be reimbursed.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN  asked if he was  comfortable with the bill  in its                                                               
current form.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:39:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE  replied yes. He  then emphasized that the  bill is                                                               
designed as a local option.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN  asked if  the reason  for the  bill is  that under                                                               
current statute  communities don't have the  flexibility to offer                                                               
the deferral.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE responded if this  were established in statute more                                                               
communities  would  probably  consider  offering  residents  this                                                               
option. He  reiterated that people in  catastrophic circumstances                                                               
shouldn't have  to worry  about losing their  property due  to an                                                               
inability to pay property taxes.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN asked about anticipated participation.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE replied anecdotal  evidence indicates that there is                                                               
considerable interest in the option.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEDMAN asked  him  to  clarify that  there  isn't an  age                                                               
limit. He then reiterated the requirements listed previously.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE said  correct. Some people have  suggested that the                                                               
senior deferral [exemption] be increased,  but that program is an                                                               
unfunded mandate.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN opened public testimony.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:43:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANDY  HERRINGTON,  Fairbanks,  testified  via  teleconference  to                                                               
state support for SB 193.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:44:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE  VAN   SANT,  State   Assessor,  Department   of  Commerce,                                                               
Community  &  Economic  Development  clarified  that  the  senior                                                               
program is an exemption rather  than a deferment. He advised that                                                               
most   assessors  see   this   as  a   useful   tool,  but   some                                                               
municipalities have  expressed concern  that there is  no ability                                                               
to collect interest on the deferred property tax.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN asked about anticipated participation.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN SANT replied  it's hard to say, but in  the five years he                                                               
was an  assessor in  Anchorage about  a dozen  or so  people came                                                               
forward who would have benefited from this proposal.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEDMAN asked  if this  would impact  the senior  hardship                                                               
exemption.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. VAN SANT  explained that very few  senior hardship exemptions                                                               
are applied  for or granted.  This would offer  municipalities an                                                               
option other than granting an outright exemption.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:49:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE  referenced the concern  Mr. Van Sant  voiced about                                                               
municipalities not  receiving interest on the  deferred taxes and                                                               
said  he   still  views   this  as   a  win-win   situation.  The                                                               
municipality would eventually get its money.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:51:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARIE DARLIN, Capital  City Task Force for AARP,  reported that a                                                               
supporting  letter had  been submitted.  She  expressed the  view                                                               
that the \G version CS improves the bill further.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:52:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN reiterated  there is no tie between SB  193 and the                                                               
current $150,000 senior property tax exemption.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
There was no further testimony and he closed the public hearing.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN  stated that he  didn't have  a quorum so  he would                                                               
hold SB 193 in committee.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Stedman adjourned the meeting at 1:54:24 PM.                                                                            

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