Legislature(2011 - 2012)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/23/2012 03:30 PM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS


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03:34:02 PM Start
03:34:42 PM SB183
03:50:34 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 183 PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION/MILITARY WIDOW(ER) TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    SENATE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                  
                       February 23, 2012                                                                                        
                           3:34 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Donald Olson, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Albert Kookesh                                                                                                          
Senator Linda Menard                                                                                                            
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Thomas Wagoner                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 183                                                                                                             
"An  Act  authorizing  municipalities  to  exempt  from  tax,  by                                                               
ordinance approved  by the voters  in the municipality,  the real                                                               
property that is  the primary residence of a resident  who is the                                                               
widow  or  widower of  a  person  who  was  killed while  in  the                                                               
military  service of  the  United States;  and  providing for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 183                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION/MILITARY WIDOW(ER)                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DAVIS                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/30/12       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/30/12       (S)       CRA, FIN                                                                                               
02/23/12       (S)       CRA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CELESTE HODGE, Staff                                                                                                            
Senator Bettye Davis                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SB 183 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DICK TRAINI, Assembly Member                                                                                                    
Anchorage Assembly                                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 183.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BETTYE DAVIS                                                                                                            
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 183.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
WENDY LAWRENCE, Assistant State Assessor                                                                                        
Office of the State Assessor                                                                                                    
Department of Community and Regional Affairs                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Neutral on SB 183.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:34:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  DONALD  OLSON called  the  Senate  Community and  Regional                                                             
Affairs Standing Committee meeting to  order at 3:34 p.m. Present                                                               
at  the call  to order  were Senators  Kookesh, Menard  and Chair                                                               
Olson.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
        SB 183-PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION/MILITARY WIDOW(ER)                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:34:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON announced the consideration of SB 183.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CELESTE  HODGE,  staff  to Senator  Bettye  Davis,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, said  the bill  authorized municipalities  to exempt                                                               
from tax  the real property that  was the primary residence  of a                                                               
resident who was  a widow or widower of a  person killed while in                                                               
the military service.  She said the legislation  would extend the                                                               
exemption  towards a  surviving spouse,  age  60 or  older, of  a                                                               
military member or veteran who  qualified for the senior property                                                               
tax exemption  and was killed  in the line  of duty. She  said SB                                                               
183 would  exempt the widow or  widower on the first  $150,000 of                                                               
the  assessed  value of  the  real  property.  She said  the  tax                                                               
exemption  would  have to  be  approved  by  the voters  in  each                                                               
municipality   or  borough   to   take  effect.   She  said   the                                                               
municipality of  Anchorage had  considered putting  the exemption                                                               
on the ballet for voters to  consider in April. She said disabled                                                               
veterans  and spouses  of  disabled  veterans currently  received                                                               
property tax exemptions under state law.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:35:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELLIS arrived.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:36:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON asked if there would  be a difference as to whether a                                                               
person was a widow or widower to receive the tax exemption.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. HODGE answered no.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OLSON  asked if  the exemption applied  to all  branches of                                                               
the military.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. HODGE answered yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OLSON asked if the National Guard was included.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. HODGE answered yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   MENARD  asked   if  the   bill   was  patterned   after                                                               
municipalities  that provided  property tax  relief to  permanent                                                               
residents over the age of 64.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. HODGE answered yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   MENARD  commented   that  municipalities'   budgets  be                                                               
affected.  She asked  if communities  other  than Anchorage  have                                                               
considered putting the exemption on upcoming ballets.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. HODGE answered that she did not know.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OLSON  asked  if  Alaska   Municipal  League  (AML)  had                                                               
provided feedback.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS HODGE answered no.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OLSON  asked if a city  would have to pass  an ordinance in                                                               
order to implement the tax exemption.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. HODGE answered correct.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MENARD asked how many Alaskans would qualify.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. HODGE answered that five would qualify in Anchorage.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:40:13 PM                                                                                                                    
DICK  TRAINI, Assembly  Member, Municipality  of Anchorage,  said                                                               
the tax  exemption was introduced  to the Anchorage  Assembly and                                                               
the initiative  was placed on the  April ballet. He noted  that a                                                               
tax exemption  approved by voters  would be conditional  upon the                                                               
legislature passing SB  183. He said the  municipality would take                                                               
full responsibility for covering lost tax revenue.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MENARD commented  on previous  legislation for  military                                                               
widow or widower  that an extra year would be  given to a collect                                                               
a Permanent  Fund Dividend  (PFD). She  said legislation  like SB                                                               
183 would show sensitivity and help aid widows or widowers.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:41:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MENARD asked  if  a tax  exemption  strictly applied  to                                                               
military personnel killed in line of duty.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRANI answered yes.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:42:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  OLSON  asked  about eligibility  if  a  soldier  committed                                                               
suicide.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRANI answered that he did  not know. He said the legislature                                                               
would have to define "in the line of duty."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:44:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MENARD commented that "line  of duty" must be defined and                                                               
noted possible suicide issues relating to mental illness.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KOOKESH  said the  bill's title  stated "while  killed in                                                               
the line  of military service" and  did not mention "in  the line                                                               
of duty."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MENARD responded  that "killed in the line  of duty while                                                               
in the military" was noted in the bill.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:44:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KOOKESH commented that the  bill's title and content were                                                               
different and would have to be changed.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BETTYE DAVIS, sponsor of  SB 183, asked if Senator Menard                                                               
was referring to the bill or the sponsor statement.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MENARD  responded that  the bill  stated "who  was killed                                                               
while in military  service to the United States  in providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR KOOKESH  noted that the  bill was pretty clear  from what                                                               
Senator Menard had read.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OLSON asked  if the bill's sponsor had any  comments on the                                                               
suicide question.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DAVIS  responded  that  she   was  not  able  to  answer                                                               
questions involving suicide.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRANI  commented  that  Senator   Davis  could  contact  the                                                               
military base in Anchorage and  find out what their definition of                                                               
suicide was.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVIS  responded that she  would check with  the military                                                               
base.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  MENARD  asked how  many  other  states had  similar  tax                                                               
exemption statutes.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVIS answered that she did not know.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:46:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HODGE responded that several states had similar legislation.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR OLSON  noted Florida was  one state.  He asked if  the bill                                                               
was similar to Florida's legislation.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. HODGE  answered yes. She said  Arkansas, Maryland, Wisconsin,                                                               
Illinois, South Dakota and Arizona had similar legislation.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR MENARD asked  if most of the states were  at the $150,000                                                               
exemption level.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:47:35 PM                                                                                                                    
WENDY  LAWRENCE, Assistant  State Assessor,  Office of  the State                                                               
Assessor, Department of Community  and Regional Affairs, said the                                                               
bill  was  an  optional  exemption  placed  under  the  mandatory                                                               
section under  AS.29.45.030 and  the state  would be  required to                                                               
reimburse municipalities.  She noted  that reimbursement  had not                                                               
occurred in the last ten years.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  OLSON  asked to  clarify  that  the  state would  have  to                                                               
reimburse the municipalities for the tax exemptions.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. LAWRENCE answered correct.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  OLSON  asked  if  reimbursement  would  be  on  the  first                                                               
$150,000.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. LAWRENCE answered  correct. She said the  exemptions would be                                                               
mandatory and must be reimbursed to municipalities.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  OLSON asked  why there  was a  zero fiscal  note with  the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. LAWRENCE answered that she did not know.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:49:14 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DAVIS  said she would  confirm that the state  would have                                                               
to reimburse  local municipalities  for property  tax exemptions.                                                               
She said the  only reason why she introduced the  bill was due to                                                               
municipalities not being able to  approve property tax exemptions                                                               
without legislative approval.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:50:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON said SB 183 would be held.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:50:34 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Olson  adjourned the Senate Community  and Regional Affairs                                                               
Standing Committee meeting at 3:50 p.m.                                                                                         

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