Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/18/2002 09:01 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                              MINUTES                                                                                         
                     SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                          April 18, 2002                                                                                      
                              9:01 AM                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPES                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SFC-02 # 66,  Side A                                                                                                            
SFC 02 # 66,  Side B                                                                                                            
SFC-02 # 67,  Side A                                                                                                            
SFC 02 # 67,  Side B                                                                                                            
SFC 02 # 68,  Side A                                                                                                            
SFC-02 # 68,  Side B                                                                                                            
SFC 02 # 69,  Side A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Dave Donley convened  the meeting at approximately 9:01 AM.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Dave Donley, Co-Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Pete Kelly, Co-Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Jerry Ward, Vice Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Donald Olson                                                                                                            
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Loren  Leman                                                                                                            
Senator Alan Austerman                                                                                                          
Senator Lyda Green                                                                                                              
Senator Gary  Wilken                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Also Attending: Testifiers  are listed in the body of the minutes in                                                          
the order they testified.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
HB 403-APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                     
SB 289-APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                     
HB 404-APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET                                                                                             
SB 288-APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
The  Committee   heard   public  testimony   from  the  Legislative                                                             
Information   Offices  in  the  Mat-Su   Borough,  Delta   Junction,                                                            
Ketchikan, Tok,  Wrangell, Nome, Kotzebue, Barrow,  and Fairbanks as                                                            
well  as from  offnet  sites  and  from testifiers  in  Juneau.  Two                                                            
committee  substitutes  were adopted,  and  the bills  were held  in                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 403(FIN) am(SENATE BILL NO. 289                                                                      
     "An  Act  making appropriations   for the  operating  and  loan                                                            
     program  expenses of  state government,  for certain  programs,                                                            
     and to capitalize  funds; 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."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE BILL NO. 289                                                                                                        
     "AN  ACT  MAKING APPROPRIATIONS   FOR THE  OPERATING  AND  LOAN                                                            
     PROGRAM  EXPENSES OF  STATE GOVERNMENT,  FOR CERTAIN  PROGRAMS,                                                            
     AND TO CAPITALIZE  FUNDS; 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."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 404(FIN)                                                                                             
     "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."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE BILL NO. 288                                                                                                        
     "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."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was the fourth hearing for these bills in the Senate Finance                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley  announced  that  public   testimony  would  resume                                                            
regarding  the FY 03 Operating  Budget. He  requested testifiers  to                                                            
limit their  remarks to two minutes  in order to provide  sufficient                                                            
time for all testifiers to comment.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN MASON-BOUTERSE, Executive  Director, Sunshine Community Health                                                            
Center  and  Board  Member,  Primary  Care  Association  of  Alaska,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from Mat-Su and noted  that the small,                                                            
non-profit health  center located in Talkeetna provides  a multitude                                                            
of  services to  the residents  of  the area.  She  shared that  the                                                            
previous  year the  Center provided  2,000 individuals  with  health                                                            
care and  6,000 counseling  sessions. She  stated that although  the                                                            
Center receives some federal  Community Health Center grant funding,                                                            
patient fee  revenue, and  a small amount  of United Way funds,  its                                                            
primary  funding  is  through  an  Assistance  to  Community  Health                                                            
Facilities  (ACHF)  grant program  through  the Division  of  Public                                                            
Health, Department of Health and Social Services.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Mason-Bouterse  asserted  that the proposed  elimination  of the                                                            
ACHF  grant  program  would  also  negatively  affect  the  Center's                                                            
opportunity to  receive federal grant program funding  would further                                                            
impact the Center's ability to provide services.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Mason-Bouterse  continued,   on  behalf  of  the  Primary  Care                                                            
Association  of  Alaska, that  rural  clinics  that do  not  receive                                                            
federal  Community Health  Center grant  funding  rely on the  State                                                            
ACHF  grant  program   funding  "to  survive."  She  stressed   that                                                            
elimination  of the  ACHF  grant program  "will be  devastating"  to                                                            
rural clinics  and could result in rural clinic closures  across the                                                            
State.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Mason-Bouterse  noted  that proposed  Senate  Operating  Budget                                                            
reductions to the Department  of Health and Social Services programs                                                            
such as the  Early Infant Learning  Program would negatively  affect                                                            
preventive  care which could, if maintained,  "save the State  money                                                            
in  the future,  not  to mention  saving  incredible  hardships  for                                                            
families."  She stressed that  cuts to Mental  Health and  Substance                                                            
Abuse  programs  would  also  limit  services   to  individuals  and                                                            
communities.  She  voiced  understanding  of  the  fiscal  challenge                                                            
facing the  State; however, she urged  the Committee to not  support                                                            
the proposed elimination  of $218,000 of the total $315,000 of State                                                            
funding dedicated  to primary health  care nor significantly  reduce                                                            
the already  minimal funding  for other health  care and  behavioral                                                            
health care.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PATRICIA G.  COYNE, Member, Backcountry  Avalanche Awareness  Rescue                                                            
Team, testified via teleconference  from Mat-Su to ask the Committee                                                            
to include funding  for Avalanche Awareness Education  Programs. She                                                            
expressed  that the $50,000  included in the  FY 02 budget  provided                                                            
funding  for  a "reach  and  teach  program"  through  which  twenty                                                            
individuals received  training that allowed them to  teach avalanche                                                            
awareness and  search and rescue methods  in their communities.  She                                                            
stressed the  importance of continuing  to educate people  on how to                                                            
avoid being caught in an avalanche.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ERIC  T.  WAGENIUS  testified  via  teleconference  from  Mat-Su  in                                                            
support of  funding for drug  and alcohol  recovery centers  such as                                                            
Nugent's  Ranch. He  stated that the  program offered  at the  Ranch                                                            
"turned  his life  around," and  he stated  that he  is training  to                                                            
offer  counseling services  to  others. He  urged  the Committee  to                                                            
continue funding these programs.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DAVID BARTHOLMEW,  Wasilla Area Seniors Incorporated,  testified via                                                            
teleconference  from  Mat-Su  about  the  importance  of  continuing                                                            
kitchen  inspections,   for  he  attested,  if  this   program  were                                                            
eliminated, senior  centers would suffer due to the  loss of funding                                                            
food programs generate.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bartholmew read from  an article [copy not provided] authored by                                                            
Ray  Metcalfe  from  the Anchorage  Daily  News  that  while  Alaska                                                            
retains 33 percent and  the federal government retains approximately                                                            
24  percent of  the  profits generated  by  the State's  oil  fields                                                            
production,  the   worldwide  average  oil  field  revenue   profits                                                            
retained  by  governments  is approximately   79 percent  while  oil                                                            
companies  normally retain  approximately 23  percent. He asked  the                                                            
Committee why  the State allows oil companies to retain  more of the                                                            
profit than  is the norm,  and he suggested  that the State  tax the                                                            
oil companies  rather than the citizens of the State.  He noted that                                                            
the Alaska  Permanent Fund Dividend  is approximately $1,800  and he                                                            
asked the Committee  why the State could not provide  more money and                                                            
free education to its citizens.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PAULA HANDRICKS,  Alaska Native, testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Mat-Su  to detail the  treatment she  had received  at the  Nugent's                                                            
Ranch Drug and Alcohol  Treatment Center. She urged the Committee to                                                            
retain  the Ranch's  funding  to enable  the  Ranch  to continue  to                                                            
provide treatment  programs, which,  she attested, have enabled  her                                                            
to become a responsible citizen and parent.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL HANDRICKS testified  via teleconference from Mat-Su to voice                                                            
support  for  drug  and  alcohol  treatment  centers'  programs.  He                                                            
exclaimed that  the treatment centers have had a positive  impact on                                                            
his life,  and that he is  now a functioning  individual with  a job                                                            
and a family and  that he pays taxes and child support.  He stressed                                                            
that treatment  programs do work, and he urged the  Committee not to                                                            
reduce alcohol treatment program funding.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM WALLACE  testified via teleconference  from Mat-Su  that the                                                            
proposed  $4.75  million funding  reduction  in  treatment  programs                                                            
would be harmful  to both individuals and communities  in the State.                                                            
He asserted  that private  prisons and treatment  programs  in those                                                            
prisons do not work.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN  MCKITTRICK  testified  via  teleconference  from  Mat-Su  and                                                            
informed  the Committee that  she is a recovering  alcoholic  who is                                                            
testifying  in support of  rehabilitation  centers. She stated  that                                                            
alcoholism  is a disease  and that  many people  who suffer  from it                                                            
have received  assistance from the  rehabilitation centers  and have                                                            
become responsible  citizens.  She voiced  strong opposition  to the                                                            
proposed Senate's  funding reductions  as they would "only  serve to                                                            
perpetuate  the problem" by incarcerating  more people but  offering                                                            
fewer  recovery  opportunities,  and  she avowed,  would  result  in                                                            
"sentencing people to an untimely death."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT HENDRICKSON  testified  via teleconference  from Mat-Su  that                                                            
alcohol  abuse incurs  pain and  suffering to  families,  especially                                                            
children.  He attested  that recovery  programs  have benefited  his                                                            
family;  but that  other  families  would  suffer were  funding  for                                                            
alcohol  treatment  and other  mental  health programs  reduced.  He                                                            
voiced  support for  an  income tax  or the  use of  Permanent  Fund                                                            
earnings to provide money to support these programs.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DONALD  FISCUS   testified  via  teleconference   from  Mat-Su   and                                                            
acknowledged  Senator Ward's  efforts for  road improvements  in the                                                            
Kenai  Peninsula  area.  He  stated  that  dwindling  State  revenue                                                            
requires  the  development  of fiscal  responsibility,  however,  he                                                            
characterized  the  cuts to  the  Department  of Health  and  Social                                                            
Services  "to be  extreme," particularly  the  $4.4 million  funding                                                            
reduction  in  alcohol  and  drug  abuse  programs  thereby  denying                                                            
treatment  to approximately  1,000  people. He  asked the  Committee                                                            
where the money  generated from current  and proposed alcohol  taxes                                                            
and the money received  from the tobacco settlement fund and tobacco                                                            
taxes is being  spent. He asked whether new prison  facilities would                                                            
be housing people who need  treatment for alcoholism, as he stressed                                                            
that treatment  is "less  expensive than  incarceration in  the long                                                            
run."  He  voiced  that  some  legislators'   do  not  believe  that                                                            
treatment works, and he  again requested that the public be notified                                                            
as to how user tax money is being spent.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT WELLS testified via  teleconference from Mat-Su and noted that                                                            
Alaska has one of the highest  rates of alcoholism in the nation. He                                                            
exclaimed that  "it should be obvious"  that this abuse contributes                                                             
to many other  social illnesses and expenses. He noted  that he is a                                                            
contributing  member   of  society  and  that  he  is  a  recovering                                                            
alcoholic in treatment,  and he stressed, "that his  life depends on                                                            
maintaining sobriety."  He noted that treatment costs are exorbitant                                                            
and that financial  assistance from  the State is necessary  as most                                                            
alcoholics  have lost their jobs and  benefits and cannot  afford to                                                            
enter  treatment without  State assistance.  He  furthered that  the                                                            
State  should  provide   more  funding,  not  less,  for   treatment                                                            
facilities. He  asserted that by offering more treatment,  the State                                                            
would benefit from a reduction  in domestic violence, violent crimes                                                            
and assault,  traffic violations,  lost wages and psychiatric  care,                                                            
physical  ailments and  death. He furthered  that  if he had  had to                                                            
wait 120  days to enter  treatment, he would  not have survived.  He                                                            
stated that the  proposed cuts would triple the waiting  time to get                                                            
into a  treatment program  and the number  of people on the  waiting                                                            
list  would escalate.   He  stressed that  treatment  works, and  he                                                            
urged the Committee to reconsider the proposed funding cuts.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CAROL  KANE, Executive  Director,  Alaska Association  of  Secondary                                                            
School Principals, testified  via teleconference from Mat-Su to urge                                                            
full  funding  for  education   as it  would   benefit  all  Alaskan                                                            
children. She  assured the Committee  that the Association  supports                                                            
education  standards,  and she  asserted  that a  quality  education                                                            
contributes to a stronger economy.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ANN KILKENNY  testified  via teleconference  from  Mat-Su and  spoke                                                            
with concern regarding  funding for education; particularly that the                                                            
State  is lowering  the  standards  required  of teachers  and  that                                                            
teaching  positions  are difficult  to  fill.  She stated  that  the                                                            
current  hiring   practices  "are  a  disservice"   to  the  State's                                                            
children. She  asserted that economists  specify "that education  is                                                            
as  much  an engine  of  economic  growth  as new  jobs  in  mining,                                                            
tourism,  and  oil   and  gas,"  and  that  "abundant  intellectual                                                             
resources  play  a  more  important  role  in  a  region's  economic                                                            
development than  do physical resources. She stressed  that a strong                                                            
school system  would benefit the State, and she urged  the Committee                                                            
to increase the State's  school funding formula by $190 per student.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 9:28 AM / 9:29 AM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA  KLEINSCHMIDT testified  via teleconference  from  Ketchikan                                                            
regarding the  tobacco settlement money. She informed  the Committee                                                            
that  tobacco is  the  number one  cause  of preventative  death  in                                                            
America. She  stated that "allocating  a mere 20 percent  of the $25                                                            
million tobacco  settlement funds"  to educate the public  about the                                                            
adverse results of smoking  tobacco is not sufficient, and she urged                                                            
the Committee  to use the  funds as they were  intended to  be used,                                                            
which is "to treat and prevent tobacco addiction in the State."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
KEVIN MURPHY Deputy Director,  Gateway Center for Human Services and                                                            
President,  Substance   Abuse  Directors  Association   for  Alaska,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from  Ketchikan to urge the  Committee                                                            
to reconsider  the proposed 20 percent funding cut  to the substance                                                            
abuse treatment  program as well as the reduction  in Alcohol Safety                                                            
Action Programs (ASAP)  funding which would result in the closure of                                                            
the Juvenile ASAP  program, a three year pilot project  that focused                                                            
on  juveniles  and  minor  consuming.  He  asked  the  Committee  to                                                            
maintain  the  FY  02  funding  levels  or  consider  the  House  of                                                            
Representatives  FY 03 funding level  proposal, which would  require                                                            
the programs  "to  tighten their  belts,"  but would  allow them  to                                                            
continue functioning.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
ED ZASTROW, Representative,  Ketchikan AARP and President, Ketchikan                                                            
Senior Center,  testified via teleconference from  Ketchikan to urge                                                            
the  Committee to  reconsider  the proposed  reduction  in the  food                                                            
safety and  sanitation program  of the  Department of Environmental                                                             
Conservation.  He voiced that full State funding of  this program is                                                            
required as  any reduction in funding  could lead to major  closures                                                            
in senior food services  facilities in Ketchikan. He aired that this                                                            
"would be unacceptable."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Leman  interjected   that  the  funding  reductions   being                                                            
referred  to are proposed  by the  House of  Representatives  rather                                                            
than by the Senate  subcommittee. He continued that,  although there                                                            
is  a  proposed  reduction  in  funding,  the  Senate  subcommittee                                                             
recommends  the establishment of receipt-supported  services  rather                                                            
than  the  use of  general  funds  to  support,  and  continue,  the                                                            
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
KASAY  KELLEY,   Representative,   Alaskans  for  Drug  Free   Youth                                                            
testified via teleconference  from Ketchikan and spoke regarding the                                                            
Alaska  tobacco  settlement  fund. She  stated  that this  fund  has                                                            
provided  programs  to educate  young people  about  the dangers  of                                                            
tobacco use, and  she requested the Committee to fully  fund, at the                                                            
maximum  level of "20  percent, the Tobacco  prevention,  education,                                                            
and  cessation  program  as  it is  intended."  She  challenged  the                                                            
Committee to protect Alaska's  children from the tobacco industry by                                                            
providing this funding.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
VALEREE  RICE,  Representative,   Alaskans  for  Drug   Free  Youth,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from  Ketchikan to urge the  Committee                                                            
to fully fund  the tobacco prevention program at the  recommended 20                                                            
percent  level of  the tobacco  settlement  fund money  in order  to                                                            
continue to  educate youth, businesses  and schools "on the  harmful                                                            
and deadly  effects  of tobacco."  She stated  that the recommended                                                             
funding  level of  20 percent  would allow  for "counter-marketing"                                                             
against the aggressive  tobacco companies and would provide a strong                                                            
foundation for the prevention for tobacco use in Ketchikan.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PAT CHAPMAN, Employee,  Ketchikan General Hospital Tobacco Cessation                                                            
Program, testified  via teleconference  from Ketchikan and  informed                                                            
the Committee  that the program  is beginning  to gain momentum  and                                                            
exhibit positive  results. She stated that if funding  were reduced,                                                            
the expanding  client base of the  program could not be served.  She                                                            
stated that 20  percent of the tobacco settlement  fund money should                                                            
be designated for the Alaska  Prevention and Cessation programs, and                                                            
she encouraged  the Legislature  to provide  that level of  funding.                                                            
She  attested that  this funding  support  would  benefit the  State                                                            
because associated medical  expenses would diminish as the number of                                                            
smokers  lessens;  particularly  as the  majority of  the  Ketchikan                                                            
program's clients are from low-income families on Medicaid.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley  informed the Committee that the communities  of Tok                                                            
and Delta are  experiencing teleconferencing difficulties  and would                                                            
be submitting  testimony via facsimile  which would be incorporated                                                             
into the public testimony record                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
LUCY ANNE HARBOR,  Director of Finance,  North Slope Borough  School                                                            
District testified  via teleconference  from Barrow and thanked  the                                                            
Committee for  the increase in base student allocation  funding that                                                            
the  Borough  received  this  year.  She  noted  that  the  increase                                                            
assisted  in  offsetting  some  major  cuts  instituted  within  the                                                            
District. She  also voiced appreciation for the commitment  to fully                                                            
fund K-12 education funding in FY 03.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Harbor  informed  the Committee  that the  affects of  inflation                                                            
have been substantial,  and she exampled, that a math  textbook cost                                                            
$18 in 1989;  however, that same book  costs more than $40  in 2000.                                                            
She stated  that all  schools face  "the challenge  of retooling  of                                                            
instructional  staff to meet the demands  of the informational  age"                                                            
and incorporating  that into the curriculum; "aligning  standards to                                                            
assessments;  and  retaining  and  recruiting  good  teachers."  She                                                            
asserted that inflation  has reduced the buying power of the State's                                                            
educational  funds  and  has  thereby  produced  budget   reductions                                                            
Statewide. She voiced that  federal education standards mandate that                                                            
schools  hire competent  teachers,  be accountable  and institute  a                                                            
student management  data system; however, she argued,  no supportive                                                            
funding  was provided  to  uphold the  mandates.  She explained  the                                                            
approach the  District is taking to  accomplish the mandated  goals,                                                            
and  informed  the Committee  that  the State  should  increase  and                                                            
inflation-proof the base  number used in the student funding formula                                                            
to  allow schools  the  finances  required  to operate  and  provide                                                            
necessary services to Alaskan students.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
RECESS 9:41 AM / 10:00 AM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TAFFY  FOX,  Employee,  Bering  Straits  Community  Partnership  and                                                            
Tobacco Prevention  and Control, testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Nome  to urge  the Legislature  to  support the  Tobacco  Education,                                                            
Prevention and  Cessation Program by allocating the  full 20 percent                                                            
of the Tobacco Master Settlement Money Funding, "as promised."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SUE WHITE, Director, Family  Resource Program, Maniilaq Association,                                                            
testified via teleconference  from Kotzebue and voiced concern about                                                            
the  proposed  cuts  to  child  protection  programs,   foster  care                                                            
services,  and alcohol  treatment  programs. She  opined that  these                                                            
funding  reductions would  negatively affect  child/parent  outreach                                                            
programs  services  in  the region,  where,  she  attested,  "family                                                            
violence  is rampant,"  primarily as  a result of  alcohol and  drug                                                            
abuse. She  stressed that children  are "trapped" in an environment                                                             
surrounded  by alcohol  and drug  abuse at  an early  age, and  as a                                                            
result they themselves  become alcoholics. She continued  that these                                                            
children  are also defenseless  against "sexual  predators  in their                                                            
own homes when  their parent cannot  protect them." She stated  that                                                            
currently, the  insufficient numbers of troopers and  social workers                                                            
are barely able to investigate  all the reported abuses of children,                                                            
and she exclaimed  that the proposed cuts to the budget  are not the                                                            
solution  to protect the  children and "break  the cycle of  abuse."                                                            
She communicated the understanding  that the State is facing revenue                                                            
shortfalls;  therefore, she expressed  the willingness to  pay sales                                                            
taxes  or  income  taxes  to  support  needed   services,  for,  she                                                            
attested, we all "have an obligation" to protect the children.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TODD FASTON,  Representative, North  Slope Borough Fire Department,                                                             
testified via teleconference  from Barrow and informed the Committee                                                            
that the department  serves an area  of approximately 90,000  square                                                            
miles with a population  of 8,000. He shared that the Department has                                                            
developed  and  supports   volunteer  fire  and  Emergency   Medical                                                            
Services (EMS)  teams in every village in the region,  and he stated                                                            
that the proposed reduction  or elimination of the State block grant                                                            
through  the  Department   of  Health  and  Social  Services   would                                                            
significantly  impact  EMS  services   statewide  because  it  would                                                            
negatively  affect  the  fire  department's  ability  to  travel  to                                                            
provide training  to the villages.  He "strongly requested  that the                                                            
funding be restored to, at least, maintenance levels."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JACK SMITH, Training  Officer, North Slope Borough  Fire Department,                                                            
testified  via teleconference  from  Barrow to voice  that the  fire                                                            
department's ability to  provide training, equipment, accreditation,                                                            
and other  assistance to  the fire and EMS  volunteers in the  eight                                                            
villages in the region  would be negatively affected by the proposed                                                            
budget cuts.  He stated that  current funding  is received  from two                                                            
"small"  sources;  the EMS  State  block grant  and  the State  Fire                                                            
Marshall  funding. He  noted that  the EMS block  grant allowed  the                                                            
department  to provide,  in FY 02,  85 courses  including first  aid                                                            
training,   CPR  training,  Emergency   Medical  Technicians   (EMT)                                                            
training, and fire fighting  training. He stated that further budget                                                            
reductions  would impact  the services provided  to the communities                                                             
and the ability  to re-certify EMTs. He informed the  Committee that                                                            
local budget cuts have  also been experienced, and to compensate for                                                            
that funding  reduction,  the fire department  has formed  alliances                                                            
with  entities  such as  the  local community  college  and  borough                                                            
governments  to partner  together  to try  and meet  basic  training                                                            
needs. He asserted  that any additional State cuts  would result "in                                                            
a more serious impact."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
GARY LEWIS, Vice Mayor,  Wrangell, testified via teleconference from                                                            
Wrangell  and asserted  that  "any reduction  in  municipal  capital                                                            
grant  sharing" would  "have  a huge impact  on  the community."  He                                                            
stressed that  a State sales tax would result in Wrangell  being the                                                            
highest sales taxed community  in the State at ten percent, which he                                                            
declared, "would  be devastating to  the community." He stated  that                                                            
Wrangell annually  generates approximately $250,000  per one percent                                                            
of its current  sales tax, and, he  asserted, that were a  State tax                                                            
to be established,  the City might  be required to offset  the total                                                            
tax level  by reducing  the current  City tax  by three percent.  He                                                            
clarified that the resulting  loss of $750,000 to the City's revenue                                                            
would  prohibit the  community's  ability  to maintain  its  current                                                            
level of City operations.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 02 # 66, Side B 10:08 AM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE   HARDING,   Mayor,   City   of   Wrangell,    testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from Wrangell  to address the  proposed cuts  to the                                                            
Marine  Highway  System  (MHS)  and  the affect  it  would  have  on                                                            
communities  in Southeast Alaska  as well as  those in the  Railbelt                                                            
area. He  attested that now  that he is  a Wrangell resident  rather                                                            
than a  resident of  the Mat-Su  area, he understands  the level  of                                                            
impact that  a reduction in ferry  service would have in  Southeast;                                                            
particularly in the tourism  arena, which he attested, would be felt                                                            
on a  statewide basis.  He urged the  Committee to  fund the  MHS at                                                            
sufficient levels.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Harding  additionally  addressed the "serious  impact"  that the                                                            
proposed  MHS  funding   reductions  would  incur   on  the  State's                                                            
fisheries  which use the  ferry system to  ship large quantities  of                                                            
fish. He expressed  that, "tying up  boats is about the only  way to                                                            
save money."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson informed  the Committee that there would be a delay in                                                            
the  public testimony  from  the  villages  of Nome,  Kotzebue,  and                                                            
Barrow as the  residents of the area  were incorrectly notified,  on                                                            
the local level, about the scheduled time for public testimony.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
INEZ WEBB,  Student, University of  Alaska Fairbanks, testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Nome  to urge the Committee  to fund  President                                                            
Mark  Hamilton's  proposed  budget  request for  the  University  of                                                            
Alaska  as  it  is  important  that  rural  campuses   remain  open;                                                            
particularly  the distance delivery  programs. She acknowledged  the                                                            
numerous budget  challenges presented  to the Legislature;  however,                                                            
she stressed the benefits that an education provides.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DIANE  SCHAEFFER,   testified  via  teleconference   from  Nome  and                                                            
informed the  Committee that she is  the first member of  her family                                                            
to go to college  and that she is  continuing to pursue her  degree.                                                            
She urged the Committee to continue funding education programs.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHARLES PULLOCK,  University of Alaska  Fairbanks Northwest  campus,                                                            
testified  via teleconference  from Nome in  support of the  student                                                            
services  that   the  University   provides.  He  stated   that  the                                                            
University benefits the  community and the region in addition to the                                                            
students. He spoke  of a partnership between the University  and the                                                            
United  States National  Park  Service  through which  they  jointly                                                            
present seminars  such as one that he is currently  attending titled                                                            
"Culture, Museum,  and Tourism Development." He attested  that these                                                            
types  of  student  services  are  a great  benefit,  and  he  urged                                                            
continued funding support for education.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
TREVOR  COLBY, Vice  President,  Community Health  Services,  Norton                                                            
Sound Regional  Hospital  (NSRH) testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Nome regarding  proposed budget cuts to small, regional  clinics. He                                                            
stated that  the eliminated  funding supports  the salaries  of four                                                            
Physician Assistants (PAs)  who work in conjunction with health aids                                                            
in small clinics  in Unalakleet, Shishmaref, Gambell,  and Stebbins.                                                            
He  explained  that while  approximately  twenty  medivacs,  costing                                                            
approximately  $10,000  each, occur  each  month in  the region;  he                                                            
asserted  that  the medical  knowledge  of  the  PAs is  helpful  in                                                            
preventing approximately  twenty unnecessary medivacs  each year for                                                            
total annual  savings of $200,000.  He clarified that approximately                                                             
$60,000  of the  $90,000 being  eliminated  equates to  one full  PA                                                            
position,  and  he stressed  that  removal  of this  position  would                                                            
adversely  affect  medical  services  in  a  community  as  well  as                                                            
increase expenses such as the unnecessary medivacs.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ROSEMARY  DEGMAN, Director,  Village  Health Service,  Norton  Sound                                                            
Regional Hospital  testified via teleconference  from Nome  that the                                                            
proposed removal  of one PA position from the budget  would harm the                                                            
health care  of a community,  remove medical  assistance and  "moral                                                            
support"  to  nurse's aids,  limit  health  education  options,  and                                                            
lessen  the integration  of  other services  in the  community.  She                                                            
stated that it  would negatively affect the perception  of community                                                            
health care delivery in  the villages and raise expenses incurred by                                                            
unnecessary  medivacs.  She  urged  the  Committee  to  continue  to                                                            
provide funding for PA salaries.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly  moved to adopt "the Senate CS for  House Bill Number                                                            
403 Version 'R'  as the working document for the operating  budget."                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  commented  that while "he  does not agree  with the                                                            
document at this time," he would not object to the motion.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There being  no objection, SCS for  CS HB 403(FIN), 22-LS1295\R  was                                                            
ADOPTED as a working draft.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly moved to adopt "Version 'J' of House Bill 404."                                                                  
Senator Hoffman restated his previous comment.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Kelly objected to  clarify language  of the original  bill                                                            
verses language in the committee substitute.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Kelly removed his objection.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  further  objection,  SCS for  CS HB  404(FIN),  22-                                                            
LS1483\J was ADOPTED as a working draft.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
RECESS 10:21 AM / 10:27 AM                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  further  public testimony  at  this  time from  the                                                            
scheduled  teleconferencing  sites,  Co-Chair  Donley  called for  a                                                            
recess.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
RECESS 10:31 AM / 4:04 PM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                              
[Note:  The remainder  of Side  B, Tape  66 is  blank; however,  the                                                            
testimony resumes  on Side A, Tape 67. No portion  of the meeting is                                                            
unrecorded.]                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 02 # 67, Side A 04:04 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JENNY CAROL testified  offnet from Fort Yukon to urge  the Committee                                                            
to  provide  full  funding  for the  University  of  Alaska  as  the                                                            
University is essential  to the growth of the State. She stated that                                                            
education is particularly  important in rural Alaska  as it provides                                                            
individuals  with   the  education  and  training   required  to  be                                                            
successful.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ERA   EKTU   [name   and   title   indiscernible]    testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from Fort  Yukon to  urge the  Committee to  support                                                            
funding  for  the University  of  Alaska,  especially  funding  that                                                            
supports rural programs that benefit people in the region.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
EVELYN JAMES testified  offnet from Fort Yukon to  urge full funding                                                            
for the University  of Alaska's budget,  especially rural  education                                                            
opportunities  that  allow people  to  remain in  their communities                                                             
while taking classes.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
[Name not provided],  Student, Aleutian Campus of  the University of                                                            
Alaska testified  via teleconference  from  Fort Yukon to urge  full                                                            
funding  for the University.  She  noted that  her participation  in                                                            
teleconferenced  courses  has allowed  her to  become certified  and                                                            
obtain employment  in the Early Childhood field. She  stressed that,                                                            
without  these   rural  long-distance   educational  opportunities,                                                             
current  residents  and future  generations  might  not  be able  to                                                            
continue their  education because  relocating to other areas  in the                                                            
State is not an option.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
GARY  CRANDALL,   Representative,   Lower  Yukon  School   District,                                                            
testified from  an offnet site to inform the Committee  that current                                                            
regulations  require  Peer  Instructional   Aids  to  acquire  their                                                            
Associate's  Degree or  60 hours  of post-secondary  instruction  in                                                            
order  to  be  hired   as  a  Peer  Instructor  in  the   district's                                                            
classrooms.  He stated that without  adequate funding for  the rural                                                            
Universities,  the required classes would not be available  to these                                                            
individuals; and  furthermore, he stated these courses  also provide                                                            
the education  necessary for these  individuals to become  certified                                                            
teachers.  He expressed that  the individuals  taking these  courses                                                            
are the  "anchors" in  the community  as they have  grown up  in the                                                            
region and  would remain there to  teach in the schools,  as opposed                                                            
to the normal high turnover  that has been experienced with teachers                                                            
who are not native to the area.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Crandall  additionally urged the  Committee to continue  funding                                                            
the Quality  Schools Learning Opportunities  Fund that the  District                                                            
has used to provide after school tutorials for at-risk children.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ANDY  DURNY testified  offnet  from  Nulato  and spoke  to  proposed                                                            
budget  "cuts  that would  most  negatively"  affect  rural  Alaska,                                                            
particularly  proposed  reductions  in  the  Village  Public  Safety                                                            
Officers  (VPSO) and troopers  programs. He  divulged that  villages                                                            
could not provide the required  funds to support these programs, and                                                            
he  stressed  that  more  money would  be  saved  by  funding  these                                                            
programs  than would  be saved  by  reducing them.  He additionally                                                             
protested  proposed  cuts  to  the University's   Distance  Delivery                                                            
education program, as the  benefits to the receiving communities are                                                            
important. He  voiced support for a State income tax,  school tax or                                                            
a limit on  the Permanent Fund Dividend  checks in order  to provide                                                            
the money necessary to continue needed programs in rural Alaska.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley asked Mr.  Durny how rural communities might acquire                                                            
the ability "to self-police."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Durny  responded   that  "the  huge  movement   away  from  the                                                            
traditional  subsistence-based-lifestyle  to a cash economy"  within                                                            
the past 30 years  has forced the need for State funding  assistance                                                            
to address  the problems  that  have developed  with these  changes,                                                            
particularly  problems involving alcohol  and drug abuse.  He stated                                                            
that  local funding  is  not  available to  support  enforcement  as                                                            
mandated by State  law; however, he stressed that  some level of law                                                            
enforcement  and public  safety is  required. He  stated that  until                                                            
other options are implemented,  the VPSO program is the best current                                                            
alternative.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAULA HARRIS  testified offnet from  McGrath to state that  any cuts                                                            
in community health, education,  or safety would be harmful to rural                                                            
Alaska. She  stated that cuts to the  Power Cost Equalization  (PCE)                                                            
program  and public  radio would  also  be felt.  She stressed  that                                                            
limiting   health  clinic,   VPSO,  and   troopers  programs   would                                                            
negatively  affect  the  villages,  as  unlike  larger communities,                                                             
oftentimes,  there is only  one VPSO officer  and no other  resource                                                            
available. She urged the  Committee to consider the negative results                                                            
of these cuts on rural  communities. She informed the Committee that                                                            
same communities,  like  McGrath,  have limited  local funding  that                                                            
makes it difficult  to provide for  all the needs of the  community.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JERRI NAGARUK  testified offnet from Elim to state  that were it not                                                            
for the University's  distance learning program, she  would not have                                                            
been able to further her  education and become a teacher. She shared                                                            
the opportunities that  acquisition of an education has provided her                                                            
and her three  children. She urged  the Committee to fully  fund the                                                            
University as  she stated that cuts to the University  would prevent                                                            
others from receiving this opportunity.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JIMMY  HURLEY  testified   offnet  from  Ekwok  to   note  that  the                                                            
University of  Alaska funding is "very important to  the Bristol Bay                                                            
area." He  stated that since  the decline  in the fishing  industry,                                                            
the University has provided  rural Alaskans other opportunities from                                                            
which to  make a living.  He communicated  that the VPSO program  is                                                            
very  important to  rural areas,  and he  shared  the importance  of                                                            
continuing to fund VPSO  training opportunities due to the fact that                                                            
officers are  not allowed to carry  firearms. He noted that  funding                                                            
for health  and social service programs  is also essential  to rural                                                            
areas, especially  to address  the problem  of alcohol. He  stressed                                                            
that funded programs provide  jobs for people in rural Alaska, which                                                            
assists in  addressing the alcohol  problem, as having a  job deters                                                            
people from developing vices.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BART LABOND,  President,  Board of Education,  Fairbanks North  Star                                                            
Borough School  District testified  in Juneau  and likened  the flat                                                            
funding being considered  for K12 education as being a cut to school                                                            
budgets  due to  inflation.  He stated  that the  Fairbanks'  school                                                            
district welcomes  State initiatives  such as the State High  School                                                            
Qualifying Exit Exam that  challenges the educational system to meet                                                            
the goals established  for the State; however, he  remarked that the                                                            
proposed education budget  is like "being put on a long-term diet to                                                            
gain  weight." He  stated that  schools  must have  more funding  to                                                            
address  the  State's  mandate  for increased   student performance                                                             
levels.  He  stated  that the  District  used  the  increased  funds                                                            
provided  in  the  FY  02  budget  to  enhance   its  summer  school                                                            
operations   and  provide  additional   elementary  school   reading                                                            
enhancement  programs.  He  revealed  that  money  is  earmarked  to                                                            
address  middle school  and high  school math  enhancement  programs                                                            
which, he attested,  is an area that needs assistance  Statewide. He                                                            
stressed  that  without   sufficient  funding,  "schools   might  go                                                            
backwards,  as there is no  such thing as  status quo." He  stressed                                                            
that "the budget  is needs-based," and support must  be demonstrated                                                            
on the local and State level.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JIM  HOLT,  Superintendent,  Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough  School                                                            
District, testified in  Juneau and acknowledged the Legislature's FY                                                            
02  education funding  efforts.  He  testified that  the  Fairbanks'                                                            
School  District's   $100,000,000  budget  is  affected   by  annual                                                            
inflation rates  of one to three percent  which results in  the need                                                            
of  an  additional  one  to  three  million  dollar  increase  being                                                            
budgeted each  year just to maintain status quo, without  addressing                                                            
labor adjustment increases.  He stated that flat funding is the same                                                            
as a budget decrease  due to inflation, and he stated  that to reach                                                            
the  mandated  State education  benchmarks,   the District  must  be                                                            
appropriately funded.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Leman  asked the  witness  to clarify  whether  the  funded                                                            
specified for  inflation-proofing  the District's budget  allows for                                                            
salary scale increases.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Holt  responded  that  84  percent  of  the  District's  budget                                                            
addresses salaries and  employee benefits, and he explained that the                                                            
District is currently  in teacher salary negotiations.  He clarified                                                            
that the  one to  three percent  increase  aforementioned  addresses                                                            
inflation proofing  requirements for the contract  that is currently                                                            
in place.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Wilken voiced  appreciation,  on  behalf of  the  Fairbanks                                                            
legislative  delegation,  for Mr.  Holt's  years of  service to  the                                                            
education community.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ROGER  JENKINS   testified   offnet  from   Nikolai  to  thank   the                                                            
Legislature  for the Community Capital  Matching Grant program  that                                                            
has been used  to fund the community's generator shed  improvements.                                                            
He  informed  the  Committee  that any  reduction  in  the  kilowatt                                                            
formula  in the  Power  Cost  Equalization  (PCE) program  would  be                                                            
detrimental  to rural  residents overall.  He exampled  some of  the                                                            
community's residential kilowatt usage.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAM SOLOMAN testified  offnet from Kaltag that budget cuts would                                                            
harm rural communities  and that his foremost concern  is a proposed                                                            
kilowatt  formula  reduction in  the  PCE program.  He additionally                                                             
stated that budget  cuts to Head Start programs would  be harmful to                                                            
communities.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELIZABETH WOODS testified  offnet from Manley Hot Springs to address                                                            
proposed road  maintenance budget reductions for the  Elliot Highway                                                            
that provides  access  to Manley Hot  Springs. She  stated that  the                                                            
option  of  flying  to  the  area  is  limited   and  often  weather                                                            
dependant.  She stated that road maintenance  cuts would  be harmful                                                            
to the community,  especially with the recent development  of winter                                                            
tourism.  She voiced support  of a  State income  tax or gas  tax to                                                            
assist the State's fiscal needs.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
FRANK KELTY, Natural  Resource Analyst, City of Unalaska,  testified                                                            
offnet from  Unalaska to urge the  Committee to investigate  methods                                                            
to raise  revenues for the  State rather  than continuing to  reduce                                                            
services. He stated  that the community of Unalaska  "is not looking                                                            
for handouts"  and has contributed  to its  road, prison and  school                                                            
district  well-being.   He  continued   that  while  the   community                                                            
contributes  in many ways,  there are, he  attested, things  that it                                                            
could  not  do  such  provide  funding  to  manage   the  commercial                                                            
fisheries in the  Bering Sea area. He stated that  fishing licensing                                                            
and landing  fees contribute  to this cause,  and he voiced  support                                                            
for continuing State, rather  than federal management, of commercial                                                            
fisheries. He urged the  Committee to continue its fisheries funding                                                            
to   enable   the   State's   experienced   biologists   and   other                                                            
professionals  to work to address the challenges facing  the State's                                                            
fisheries as this  resource is critical to communities  in the area.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SAM  LIGHTWOOD,   Farmer,   Kenney  Lake,   testified  offnet   from                                                            
Glennallen  to urge  the  Committee  to not  reduce  funding to  the                                                            
Division  of Probation and  Corrections,  Department of Corrections                                                             
budget;   specifically   the   funding   support   of   the   Palmer                                                            
slaughterhouse  operation.  He stated  that this  small budget  item                                                            
impacts agriculture operations  throughout the State and impacts the                                                            
funding operations of other  Department of Corrections divisions. He                                                            
additionally voiced support for a State business tax.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SHERYLE CHARLIE  testified offnet from Minto to voice  opposition to                                                            
road maintenance funding  reductions, as, she alerted the Committee,                                                            
the road system  is critical for the  community of Minto  to receive                                                            
supplies, groceries and  medical care. She stated that air travel is                                                            
not reliable  due  to weather  conditions. She  additionally  voiced                                                            
opposition  to any proposed  cuts  to the VPSO  program and  medical                                                            
aide positions  as the community relies  heavily on their  services,                                                            
and she considers them community assets.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
AL UNOK  testified offnet  from Kotlik and  thanked the Legislature                                                             
for the Community Capital  Matching Grant Program that the community                                                            
has used to  upgrade such things as  its jail. He voiced  opposition                                                            
to any funding reductions  in the VPSO or State Trooper programs. He                                                            
voiced support for allowing  VPSO officers to carry guns, as well as                                                            
appreciation for the community's Head Start program.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
LAWRENCE BRENDEMAN, Tanana  Chiefs, testified offnet from Manley Hot                                                            
Springs  to   voice  opposition  to   the  proposed  Department   of                                                            
Transportation  and Public  Facilities budget  cuts. He stated  that                                                            
transportation system in  the State is diverse and requires a lot of                                                            
money;  however,   he  asserted,  continuing  maintenance   is  less                                                            
expensive  than reconstructing  a neglected  road system. He  voiced                                                            
support for  a State income  tax as it would  be the most  equitable                                                            
method of addressing  the State's  needs and would allow  the people                                                            
who earn  money in the  State to support  State services. He  stated                                                            
that  eliminating  road  maintenance   to  villages  would  be  very                                                            
harmful, as local economies  would be negatively affected. He opined                                                            
that road closures would be very irresponsible.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CRYSTAL WILSON,  Student, College  of Rural Alaska Interior  Regions                                                            
Campus, Tok Center,  testified offnet from Tok to  urge full funding                                                            
for the  University  as it  allows people  like  herself to  further                                                            
their  education  without   being  required  to  move  to  a  larger                                                            
community.  She  stated that  the  education  she has  received  has                                                            
enabled her  to obtain an administrative  position that has  enabled                                                            
her to provide for her family.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 02 # 67, Side B 04:51 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Wilson  stated that many  productive citizens  of the area  have                                                            
benefited from  the opportunity to earn a university  education. She                                                            
stated  that  the community  has  additionally  benefited  from  the                                                            
ability to hire  local Natives who have become teachers  through the                                                            
University program. She  stated that the University funding is vital                                                            
to the State.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LYNN  CULBERTSON,  Teacher, testified  offnet  from  Mento to  voice                                                            
support for continued road  maintenance to ensure medical and dental                                                            
services  for the community's  residents,  especially for  community                                                            
elders.  She  stated  that plane  service  is  limited  and  weather                                                            
dependent.  She stated that  the cost of  receiving school  supplies                                                            
"would  skyrocket,"  and  that mail  service  would  be restricted,                                                             
school extracurricular  activities would be eliminated, trips out of                                                            
town would  require a minimum of three  days as small plane  service                                                            
is limited to  Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. She  furthered that                                                            
family  trips  would   diminish,  and  the  cost  of   living  would                                                            
dramatically increase;  thereby forcing families to  move elsewhere.                                                            
She concluded that due  to the resulting isolation, drug and alcohol                                                            
abuse would  increase, and asserted  that all aspects of  life would                                                            
be negatively  affected, and  if the road  were not maintained,  the                                                            
village "would die."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
GLENN MARUDE testified  offnet from Northway to urge full funding of                                                            
the  Department  of  Transportation  and  Public  Facilities  budget                                                            
rather than targeting the Department for budget cuts.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
PATTY BROWN,  Middle School Science  Teacher, testified offnet  from                                                            
Haines to urge more funding  for schools. She noted that the decline                                                            
in the Haines  student enrollment  this year has adversely  affected                                                            
the  community.   She  attributed  the  enrollment   decline  to  be                                                            
"partially  due  to  a  wobbly  economy;"  however,  she  urged  the                                                            
Committee to increase the  school funding formula level per child to                                                            
assure that Alaska's students  could be educated to be good citizens                                                            
and be able  to have the educational  background required  to obtain                                                            
good jobs and  contribute to the economy. She stated  that currently                                                            
Haines  could loose  five teachers  at the  time when  the State  is                                                            
mandating that a certain level of education be acquired.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
BILL BEYORK, Teacher,  Fairbanks North Star Borough  School District                                                            
informed the  Committee of his involvement  for the past  five years                                                            
with  a  Fairbanks   at-risk  student  program  consisting   of  110                                                            
students, four teachers,  and a secretary. He stated that any budget                                                            
cuts to the  District would place  this program in jeopardy,  and he                                                            
urged the Committee  to rank K12 school funding as  a high priority.                                                            
He stated that the program's  kids would not be served by the public                                                            
school  system  if  the  school  funding   for  Fairbanks  were  not                                                            
increased. He  stressed that the investment in school  funding would                                                            
be money well spent.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE ROBERTS testified  offnet from Tanana to voice support for                                                            
funding  for  the  Head Start  program  and  the  PCE  program.  She                                                            
additionally  urged that no reductions  be made to the State's  road                                                            
maintenance budget.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
RECESS 5:03 PM / 5:15 PM                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ART BUSWELL testified via  teleconference from Fairbanks to urge the                                                            
Committee to  fully fund the University's  budget request  to enable                                                            
the University  to offer  programs needed to  fill in-State  jobs in                                                            
the medical, engineering,  health, and psychology  fields. He stated                                                            
that investing  in the University  now would  support the future  of                                                            
the State and would continue  the progress that has been made in the                                                            
last few years.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ROYCE CHAPMAN,  Member, Fairbanks  North Star Borough School  Board,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from Fairbanks that  flat funding from                                                            
the State  is not acceptable  when, at the  same time, the  State is                                                            
mandating  that schools  must meet  higher standards.  He  continued                                                            
that flat funding would  be the same as a budget reduction and would                                                            
result  in  math  and  other  critical  programs  being  reduced  or                                                            
eliminated.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JAMES PARRISH, General  Counsel, University of Alaska, testified via                                                            
teleconference  from Fairbanks  in support  of full  funding of  the                                                            
University  as  recent  funding  increases   have  provided  for  an                                                            
improved educational experience.  He asserted that the University is                                                            
using  its general  funds  "wisely" and  is providing  training  and                                                            
skills that  Alaskans need  to acquire Alaskan  jobs in addition  to                                                            
retaining youth  in the State; thereby, reducing the  State's "brain                                                            
drain." He  reiterated that the University  has kept "its  promises"                                                            
regarding  the intent of  the increased funding,  and he  reiterated                                                            
that the University requires  the proper level of inflation proofing                                                            
to continue its mission.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MIKE  DONALDSON  testified  via  teleconference  from  Fairbanks  in                                                            
support of  a fiscal plan rather than  program cuts. He stated  that                                                            
the current proposed  operating budget would be a  disservice to the                                                            
most disadvantaged citizens of the State.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD WRIGHT,  Employee, Department  of Transportation  and Public                                                            
Facilities  testified via teleconference  from Fairbanks  to ask the                                                            
Committee how  the Department's employees  would be expected  "to do                                                            
more with less;"  specifically how fewer employees  would be able to                                                            
maintain the  same amount of lane  miles. He urged the Committee  to                                                            
allot the necessary funding  to maintain and manage the road system.                                                            
He stated  that the  Retirement  Incentive Program  (RIP) should  be                                                            
revised in order  to encourage more employees to retire  in order to                                                            
lower overall employee expenses.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CARTER  CRAWFORD testified  via  teleconference  from Fairbanks  and                                                            
encouraged  the Committee  to maintain the  State's block grants  to                                                            
entities as, he attested,  these programs provide more services at a                                                            
25  percent   less  cost  than  similar   State  managed   programs;                                                            
particularly  in the legal,  penal and health  fields. He  continued                                                            
that "the  University is  the most powerful  economic engine  in the                                                            
State,"  as it supplies  jobs,  attracts outside  revenue,  supports                                                            
community  businesses,  creates an  educated work  force,  "provides                                                            
vital  communication  links  to  rural  communities,"  and  provides                                                            
cultural  events  throughout  the State.  He  supported  use of  the                                                            
Permanent  Fund,  rather  than  a State  tax,  as  "an appropriate"                                                             
revenue source  for the State as "it is not our money,  it is meant"                                                            
to support the State.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD  HARNOS  testified  via  teleconference  from  Fairbanks  to                                                            
support funding for road  maintenance in Norton Region of the State.                                                            
He  stated,  "that further  cuts  in  road maintenance  would  be  a                                                            
disaster and would cost the State more money in the long run."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JAMES  DART,  Operator,  Department  of  Transportation  and  Public                                                            
Facilities, testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks  in support                                                            
of funding for  road maintenance. He detailed the  needs of the area                                                            
and  how  it would  be  "grossly  unfair"  to reduce  the  level  of                                                            
service.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
JERI LANIER testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks  to declare                                                            
that the  proposed cuts to  the State's Mental  Health Budget  would                                                            
"set  the program  backward." She  stated  that as a  result of  the                                                            
proposed  reductions,  adults would  receive treatment  through  the                                                            
Department  of  Corrections,  which  is  more  expensive  and  could                                                            
violate federal law that  demands that people be treated rather than                                                            
"held for long  periods of time."  She continued that many  children                                                            
would be treated  through the DFYS by use of expensive  out-of-State                                                            
programs,  and she asserted  that more extensive  efforts should  be                                                            
undertaken  to provide more  opportunities  for in-State  treatment.                                                            
She  expressed  that  program  quality  would  be  impacted  by  the                                                            
proposed  budget reductions.  She avowed that  the State should  "be                                                            
fiscally  responsible   and  that  that  could  be  accomplished  by                                                            
treating  people in  their own  community in  the least restrictive                                                             
manner possible, and keeping kids at home with their families."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DAVID LEONE  testified via  teleconference  from Fairbanks  to voice                                                            
that the  State's Safe  Communities Revenue  Sharing budget,  and in                                                            
particular,  the State's  Community  Matching Block  Grants,  should                                                            
include inflation-proofing  measures. He urged full  funding for the                                                            
University system  to ensure economic development  in the State, and                                                            
he encouraged  the Committee  "to do whatever  it can to  inflation-                                                            
proof" the school foundation funding formula for K12.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
JUDY  DOELTS,   Principal,   Fort  Wainwright   Elementary   School,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from  Fairbanks to urge the  Committee                                                            
to  increase  education  funding  as,  she  stressed,  children  are                                                            
"greatly  impacted" by  funding cuts.  She shared  that children  of                                                            
military families move  frequently, have no extended family, and she                                                            
stated  that  a standard  curriculum  should  be  offered  as  these                                                            
children  move from one  school environment  to another. She  stated                                                            
that  while teachers  work  hard to  meet State  standards;  smaller                                                            
class sizes  would assist  the effort. She  noted that the  military                                                            
school averages a 40 percent  student turnover during a school year.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SAMUEL FARIS,  Student, testified via teleconference  from Fairbanks                                                            
to announce  that Alaska  should levy a Statewide  education  tax to                                                            
promote economic growth and support the education system.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Austerman observed  that testifiers  have offered  numerous                                                            
funding source  ideas to acquire the  funds needed to support  State                                                            
programs. He  stated that he values  the suggestions and  deems them                                                            
worthy of consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
EVE LAMBERT, Fairbanks  North Star Borough School District testified                                                            
via teleconference  from  Fairbanks  in opposition  to the  proposed                                                            
budget cuts  to the infant  learning program.  She stated that  this                                                            
"wonderful service" assists  in identifying children at an early age                                                            
who  might  require  special  care to  assure  they  are  successful                                                            
individuals.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RIKI SIPE,  Member,  Fairbanks North  Star Borough  Social  Services                                                            
Commission  and  Employee,  Fairbanks   North  Star  Borough  School                                                            
District, testified  via teleconference  from Fairbanks to  urge the                                                            
Committee to consider  "that education funding is  essential" to the                                                            
State's future.  She attested that Permanent Fund  revenue should be                                                            
tapped to provide for necessary education funding.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DENISE DANIELLO,  Executive Director,  North Star Council  on Aging,                                                            
testified  via teleconference   from Fairbanks  in  support of  full                                                            
funding for the  community matching grant program.  She informed the                                                            
Committee  that  this  grant  provides   critical  funding  for  the                                                            
Fairbanks'  Meals-on-Wheels senior  services program that  saves the                                                            
State  a lot of  money by  allowing people  to remain  in their  own                                                            
homes rather  than in hospitals or  assisted living facilities.  She                                                            
detailed  the benefits provided  to the community's  seniors  by the                                                            
Meals  on  Wheels  program,  and she  stressed  that  the  need  for                                                            
adequate and expanding  funding of the grant program  is critical to                                                            
communities.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RUTHAMAE  KARR,  Employee,  Interior  Neighborhood   Health  Clinic,                                                            
testified  via  teleconference   from  Fairbanks   and  thanked  the                                                            
Legislature  for establishing  the Tobacco  Cessation and  Education                                                            
Fund  from  which  the  clinic  received  a  grant.  She  urged  the                                                            
Committee  to use  the recommended  20  percent of  the $25  million                                                            
Mastery  Tobacco  Settlement  money  for  education  and  prevention                                                            
programs.  She stated that  for every pack  of cigarettes bought  by                                                            
youth, the  State has to spend double  "that amount for health  care                                                            
in the long run."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
KRYSTAL HUWE,  Employee, University  of Alaska Fairbanks,  testified                                                            
via  teleconference  from  Fairbanks  to  urge  the  continuance  of                                                            
funding for  tobacco education and  prevention programs.  She stated                                                            
that continuing  education  is required to  combat the influence  of                                                            
youth peer pressure.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
TINA  KOCSIS,  Director,   Nanana  Valley  Hospice,   testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Fairbanks, and urged the Committee  to increase                                                            
funding for the  Department of Health and Social Services  community                                                            
matching  grant programs.  She noted  that while  90-percent of  the                                                            
work  performed  by  the  Nanana  Valley  Hospice  is  conducted  by                                                            
volunteers,  the matching  grant funding  the organization  receives                                                            
supports  programs  that are  offered.  She continued  that  without                                                            
programs such as Hospice,  individuals who have ill loved ones would                                                            
be  required to  leave  their jobs  to provide  care  for them.  She                                                            
continued  that   this  would  result  in  increased  unemployment,                                                             
increased applications  for public assistance, and an increased need                                                            
for Medicaid. She stated  that studies indicate that people who have                                                            
experienced  a loss due to  death incur increased  alcohol  and drug                                                            
abuse, divorce,  child abuse, illness, and suicide.  She stated that                                                            
these issues  would further impact  the State by increasing  demands                                                            
on social services.  She reiterated  that proper funding  for social                                                            
services  would assist in  negating these  concerns, and she  voiced                                                            
that the  State "has a  responsibility to  look after children,  the                                                            
elderly, the terminally ill, and those who are alone or afraid."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SHARON  BULLOCK,  Clinical  Director,  Fairbanks   Community  Mental                                                            
Health Center  testified via teleconference  from Fairbanks  to urge                                                            
funding for the Center's  children programs. She spoke of the growth                                                            
the program  has experienced  due to the  demand for assistance  and                                                            
that the program  currently has a  waiting list of 61 children  aged                                                            
two to seventeen.  She stated that  these children suffer  from such                                                            
things  as depression,  sexual, physical  and  emotional abuse,  and                                                            
fetal  alcohol  syndrome.  She  stressed  that  assisting  "severely                                                            
emotionally  disturbed children" prevents  further repercussions  on                                                            
society as the children  grow up. She urged the Committee to provide                                                            
assistance to this growing situation.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CYNTHIA  HENRY,  Member,  Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough  Assembly,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from  Fairbanks to voice appreciation                                                             
for  the Legislature's  continuing  support  for  municipal  revenue                                                            
sharing.  She noted  that the  Borough  is concerned  about the  K12                                                            
school  formula funding  for education  and urged  the Committee  to                                                            
continue to increase  the funding levels as, she attested,  progress                                                            
has been made and increased funding would continue that trend.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DON THIBEDEAU,  Board Member,  Tanana Valley  Hospice testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from  Fairbanks  to  urge  continuing  or  increased                                                            
support of  the Department of Health  and Social Services  community                                                            
matching  grants  funding. He  detailed  the services  that  Hospice                                                            
provides  and  the continuing  need  to expand  those  services.  He                                                            
stated  that increased  funding  is required  to  allow Hospice  and                                                            
other local non-profit agencies to provide assistance programs.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
STEVE SWEET,  Representative,  Public Employees  Local 71  testified                                                            
via teleconference  from  Fairbanks that  proposed operating  budget                                                            
cuts "are uncivilized  and atrocious."  He stated that the  proposed                                                            
elimination  of Department of Transportation  and Public  Facilities                                                            
jobs would  result in such things  as people losing their  homes and                                                            
an  increase   in   crime.  He   stated  that   because  other   job                                                            
opportunities  are limited; unemployment  claims would increase.  He                                                            
stated that efforts to  save money by contracting out such things as                                                            
the Dalton  Highway  road maintenance  have not  been successful  as                                                            
contractors  state  that they  would require  more  funding than  it                                                            
currently costs the State to undertake those responsibilities.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ANNETTE FRIEBURGER testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks that                                                            
she  is  concerned  about  the  proposed  budget  because  it  would                                                            
adversely impact children  and their families. She stressed that not                                                            
everyone is lucky enough  to be born into a striving environment and                                                            
that no one  asks to have a disability,  get cancer, to be  poor, or                                                            
to become  an alcoholic.  She stressed,  "that addiction  is  like a                                                            
disease  and  should  be  treated"  as such.  She  stated  that  any                                                            
reduction in drug and alcohol  treatment program "funding would cost                                                            
the State much  more in the long run" as the State  cuts would incur                                                            
a loss of federal  match money and  create a backlog of individuals                                                             
requiring treatment.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARGARET  WILSON testified  via teleconference  from Fairbanks  that                                                            
proposed budget  reductions "would  force the closure of  the 12-bed                                                            
residential treatment  program at Old Mitchell Recovery  Camp" which                                                            
is the  State's only family  treatment center.  She stated  that the                                                            
program  serves   up  to  150  clients  annually  and   employs  six                                                            
physicians  and other staffers. She  commented that, in addition  to                                                            
treating  individuals with  drug and alcohol  addiction, the  Center                                                            
prints and distributes  approximately 10,500 monthly substance abuse                                                            
prevention newsletters to schools in the State.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ANN HOPPER,  Director,  Fairbanks  Native Association  Family  Focus                                                            
Program testified  via teleconference  from Fairbanks and  explained                                                            
that this 24-hour a day  program provides assistance to homeless and                                                            
run-a-way  youth,   aged  ten  to  seventeen,  as   well  as  family                                                            
mediation.  She stated that the Center  receives grant funding  from                                                            
the  Division of  Family  & Youth  Services  and that  the  proposed                                                            
twenty  percent cut  to these grants  would  negatively affect  this                                                            
crisis  intervention  program  and  numerous  other  social  service                                                            
programs  in the  community.  She  stressed  that the  State  "needs                                                            
healthy  functioning   programs"  to  provide  care,   support,  and                                                            
referral services.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ELAINE LANDON, Tanana Chiefs  Council, Incorporated (TCC), testified                                                            
via teleconference from  Fairbanks, to inform the Committee that the                                                            
Council operates  a social  service program  with a $550,000  annual                                                            
budget in McGrath, a community  consisting of 401 people. She stated                                                            
that  currently  the program  receives  State  grants  amounting  to                                                            
$27,000;  however,  proposed cuts  would  lower that  Assistance  to                                                            
Community  Health grant  amount  to $9,000.  She  asserted that  the                                                            
current funding  level does  not provide  adequate and basic  health                                                            
care for the community's  residents, and "that the  proposed funding                                                            
barely qualifies  as a token  of State support  for this very  rural                                                            
health care facility."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CARLA  GOLDIZEN,  Parent  and  Member,  Parent  Teacher Association                                                             
testified  via teleconference  from Fairbanks  that she wants  other                                                            
children to have  the same educational advantages  and opportunities                                                            
that her children  have had in the  Fairbanks public school  system.                                                            
She  urged  the Committee  to  fully  fund, rather  than  flat  fund                                                            
education.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
TABER REHBAUM,  Arctic Alliance, testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Fairbanks  that  she  is  "grateful"   that  the  Committee  is  not                                                            
proposing unallocated  cuts to the departments nor  that it includes                                                            
a  reduction  in  the level  of  DFYS  social  workers.  She  voiced                                                            
disappointment;  however, that subsidized  foster care and  adoption                                                            
programs have  been targeted for budget reductions.  She stated that                                                            
children  in State custody  require  "all the support"  that  can be                                                            
supplied. She  characterized proposed reductions in  substance abuse                                                            
treatment  programs  as  "unconscionable   and irresponsible."   She                                                            
stressed that  this "is the most invasive  problem" the State  faces                                                            
as  it affects  law  enforcement,  the  Department  of Corrections,                                                             
incurs family  problems and child abuse, and medical  care expenses.                                                            
She  stated that  if  the Legislature  is  concerned  about  whether                                                            
funding  these programs  is  warranted,  then she  suggested,  "that                                                            
requirements  could  be built"  into  the  program. She  urged  "the                                                            
Committee to please rethink this one."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 02 # 68, Side A 05:55 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Rehbaum  thanked Committee members  who support full  funding of                                                            
the  Department  of  Health  and  Social  Services   Human  Services                                                            
Community Matching  block grant. She stated that the  State has flat                                                            
funded these grants for  years; however, she attested the demands on                                                            
the community programs  "has increased expediently." She stated that                                                            
the  block grants  in  Fairbanks  are awarded  to  local  non-profit                                                            
organizations  that concentrate on  prevention and must demonstrate                                                             
positive outcomes  from their efforts. She attested  "that this is a                                                            
wonderful example  of results-based funding," and  she avowed, "that                                                            
to cut this efficient,  effective use of State and  local funding is                                                            
again irresponsible,  and if anything, the funding  for these grants                                                            
should  be increased."  She  urged  the Committee  "to  address  the                                                            
State's fiscal problem with a fiscal plan not band aid cuts."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Green asked  for  Ms. Rehbaum  to  expand on  her  comments                                                            
regarding subsidized  adoption and  foster care funding,  as Senator                                                            
Green attested  that the  Senate budget version  proposal for  these                                                            
programs differs from the witness' testimony.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Rehbaum replied that  the information she has is not current and                                                            
that  some  of the  funding  levels  might have  been  updated.  She                                                            
continued  that her  information indicates  that  funding for  these                                                            
programs has been reduced.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green  corrected the  information by  pointing out  that the                                                            
Senate Purchase  Services Budget Request Unit (BRU)  specifies there                                                            
to be $10 million  more funding allotted  than in the FY  02 budget,                                                            
and approximately  $4.5 million more than the level  proposed in the                                                            
House of Representatives budget.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Rahbaum commented  that  her information  suggests  a  $600,000                                                            
reduction is proposed; however, she appreciates the update.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilken  stated that an updated  budget sheet would  be faxed                                                            
to the Fairbanks LIO office.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRENDA  HOLDEN  testified  via  teleconference  from  Fairbanks  and                                                            
informed the  Committee that she chaired  a recent Fairbanks  Health                                                            
and Social Service  Commission grant review process  during which 18                                                            
grant  funding proposals  were reviewed  and  scored. She  expressed                                                            
that  the  agencies   submitting  the  requests  provide   essential                                                            
community  services such as  hunger, safety  and housing needs.  She                                                            
pointed out  that the agencies requesting  grant funding  assistance                                                            
from  the  Department  of  Health  and  Social   Services  are  also                                                            
undergoing  budget reductions from  other sources, which  creates "a                                                            
ripple affect on the services  provided." She stated that the demand                                                            
for services  is increasing  rather than  decreasing, and that  "the                                                            
problems of hunger, safety and housing will not go away."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Holden stressed  that the agencies receiving community  matching                                                            
block  grants  leverage those  funds  to  acquire other  funding  in                                                            
excess of twelve times  the allotted grant amount. She stressed that                                                            
the community  block grant funding  should be increased rather  than                                                            
reduced.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD  KECK testified via  teleconference  from Fairbanks  to urge                                                            
the  Legislature   to  invest  in  children,  "the  most   important                                                            
investment  in the State." He urged  full funding for K12  education                                                            
and University  of Alaska. He asserted  that, "this is the  only way                                                            
the state would prosper."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHERYL  KEEPERS  testified  via teleconference  from  Fairbanks  and                                                            
applauded  the efforts  being undertaken  for the  development  of a                                                            
long-range State fiscal  plan; however, she voiced concern regarding                                                            
proposed reductions  in State programs that would  negatively affect                                                            
children.  She noted that  research indicates  that early  childhood                                                            
environments  are a significant factor  in how "a child would  grow,                                                            
their success  in school, and their  ultimate productivity  as adult                                                            
citizens." She  stated that investing in such things  as Head Start,                                                            
child protection,  and infant  learning programs  would "pay  off in                                                            
the long  run and  that cutting  back  on these  programs now  would                                                            
incur  more expenses  in the  years ahead  "in social  and  monetary                                                            
measures."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Keepers  additionally  urged funding for  alcohol and  substance                                                            
abuse programs.  She stated that more, rather than  fewer, treatment                                                            
options are needed. She  aired that a reduction in funding now would                                                            
create  additional expenses  later.  She thanked  the Committee  for                                                            
their support  of community matching  grants, which she attested  is                                                            
very valuable  in the community  as the funds  are used to  leverage                                                            
additional dollars to support the community programs.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
NICK  STAYROOK,  Employee,  Fairbanks   North  Star  Borough  School                                                            
District  testified via teleconference  from  Fairbanks that  he has                                                            
worked  on  the  development   of  the  State  education   standards                                                            
guidelines,  and  he  declared  that  education  in  the  State  has                                                            
improved  as   a  result  of  the   standards.  He  indicated   that                                                            
Legislative   support   has  enabled   schools   to  improve   their                                                            
curriculums, and he urged  the Committee to increase funding for the                                                            
State  school foundation  formula  funding  program  to further  the                                                            
momentum.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Stayrook  additionally  urged  the  Committee  to  support  the                                                            
Department  of Education  and Early  Development  Early Development                                                             
Program, which  conducts the State's student assessments.  He voiced                                                            
support  of a  limit being  placed on  the Permanent  Fund  Dividend                                                            
checks as a means of financing school programs.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
LINDA ROBERTSON,  Employee, Special Education Department,  Fairbanks                                                            
North  Star Borough  School District  testified  via teleconference                                                             
from Fairbanks  to voice opposition to any funding  reduction to the                                                            
State's   Infant  Learning   Program.   She  shared   her   personal                                                            
experiences  involving the  importance of  intervention at  an early                                                            
age, and she urged the  Committee to increase program funding for it                                                            
would benefit the State over time.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DON  TRIPLEHORN,  Geologist,   testified  via  teleconference   from                                                            
Fairbanks to voice support  for public radio funding. He stated that                                                            
the  programs  provided  by  public  radio  are  essential  to  many                                                            
people's quality of life.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
VANESSA SPENCER, Student,  University of Alaska Fairbanks, urged the                                                            
Committee to fully  fund the University. She shared  that university                                                            
graduates "are less likely  to spend time in prison, are less likely                                                            
to be  on welfare,  and make,  on average,  twice as  much as  those                                                            
people  without  a  degree."  She stressed  that  investing  in  the                                                            
University  would save the State money  in the long run.  She shared                                                            
that a recent  report identified Alaska as one of  five states where                                                            
a public educational college  education is affordable for low-income                                                            
individuals,  and  she stated  that  flat  funding might  result  in                                                            
tuition   increases  that   would  deny  some   Alaskans  from   the                                                            
opportunity of  a university education. She stated  that disallowing                                                            
individuals  a chance of  an advanced education  could result  in an                                                            
increase of demand  on social services. She stated  that in order to                                                            
have  a healthy  Alaskan economy,  the  University  should be  fully                                                            
funded.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MARTA  MUELLER,   Student,  University   of  Alaska  testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from Fairbanks to  urge the Committee to  fully fund                                                            
the University.  She noted the scores  of letters, phone  calls, and                                                            
testimony  of  individuals  who  have  urged  full  funding  of  the                                                            
University  system.  She  sang  the University  of  Alaska  song  to                                                            
accentuate her position of support.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
JULIA  PETERS,  Client,   [indiscernible]  Program   for  Women  and                                                            
Children,  testified  via teleconference   from Fairbanks  to  voice                                                            
opposition to  a reduction in funding for such programs.  She stated                                                            
that  Alaska must  address  the issue  of alcoholism  and  substance                                                            
abuse and that  funding for treatment programs should  be increased.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HAROLD  BROWN, President,  Tanana  Chiefs Conference  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Fairbanks to object to proposed  budget funding                                                            
reductions  that  negatively  affect the  Conference's  delivery  of                                                            
"services to  42 villages that the  Conference works for,  including                                                            
the Fairbanks  Native population."  He voiced disagreement  with the                                                            
"slash  and  burn technique  that  is  being  used to  address"  the                                                            
State's funding  shortfalls rather  than the development  of a long-                                                            
range fiscal  plan. He stated  that it is  incorrect to expect  that                                                            
federal  funding distributed  to the  Alaska  Federation of  Natives                                                            
would be able  to fill the gap "as these federal funds  could not be                                                            
used to  supplant any services  that are  currently provided  to the                                                            
villages or to Fairbanks  Native population through State funds." He                                                            
informed the Committee  that prior attempts to use the federal funds                                                            
to supplement the VPSO services in this manner failed.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MOLLY ANDREWS  testified via teleconference from Fairbanks  that too                                                            
many budget  cuts could harm all Alaskans.  She stated that  she has                                                            
personally experienced  alcohol and drug abuse and has been enrolled                                                            
in treatment  programs. She noted  that previous funding  reductions                                                            
already require  villagers to travel to larger communities  to enter                                                            
treatment programs;  however, she  stressed that it would  be easier                                                            
to have  those programs  within  the village  community. She  stated                                                            
that she supports treatment program funding.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WAYNE MCCOLLUM,  Social  Worker, Fairbanks  Community Mental  Health                                                            
Center  and Program  Director,  Community  Support  Program for  the                                                            
Mentally Ill testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks that while                                                            
State funding  for mental health services has been  decreasing since                                                            
1991, the costs of providing  those services has steadily increased.                                                            
He asserted that individuals  served by the program are "those least                                                            
able to advocate  for themselves."  He contended that more  and more                                                            
children  are being  sent  out of  State  for assistance,  and  that                                                            
because local  capacities have decreased, adequate  local support is                                                            
not available for those  children upon their return to the State. He                                                            
reminded  the Committee that  the Alaska  Psychiatric Institute  has                                                            
lowered  its bed  capacity from  144 to  72 beds.  He asserted  that                                                            
there is not enough  money for these critical services;  however, he                                                            
stressed  that sufficient  funding now  would save  the State  money                                                            
over time.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
KARA  MORIARTY, President  and  CEO,  Greater Fairbanks  Chamber  of                                                            
Commerce, testified via  teleconference from Fairbanks to inform the                                                            
Committee   that  the   Chamber's  business   membership   "strongly                                                            
supports" full  funding of the University of Alaska  and an increase                                                            
in the  K12 school funding  formula as means  to supply an  economic                                                            
impetus for the State.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Moriaty continued  that  investing in  the development  of  the                                                            
State's   natural  recourses   and  improvements   in  the   State's                                                            
transportation infrastructure  would assist the State in growing and                                                            
moving beyond  the years of fiscal  restraints. She voiced  that she                                                            
personally would prefer  to forego her Permanent Fund Dividend check                                                            
than have any taxes imposed to pay for State services.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JOSH HORST, Employee,  University of Alaska Fairbanks  and Graduate,                                                            
University  of Alaska Southeast  testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Fairbanks  to urge the  Committee  to fully fund  the University  of                                                            
Alaska Board of Regents'  budget request. He voiced appreciation for                                                            
the  recent  years   of  financial  support  and  avowed   that  the                                                            
University  has   improved  and  would  continue  to   improve  when                                                            
sufficiently   funded.  He  noted   that  University  students   and                                                            
graduates,  through community involvement,  contribute in  many ways                                                            
to the State.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JACKIE MCAREE testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks and urged                                                            
the Committee  to not cut  money for alcohol  treatment programs  as                                                            
her mom has worked  hard to get sober and she does  not "want her to                                                            
get drunk again."                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
JULIE  SHEFCHIK,  16-year-old  high school  student,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Fairbanks and  informed the Committee  that she                                                            
has served  for three years  in various capacities  on the  Board of                                                            
Directors for  the North Star Borough Youth Court  which conducts up                                                            
to four youth  hearings and sentences on a weekly  basis. She stated                                                            
that  the  Youth  Court  exerts  positive   peer  pressure  that  is                                                            
demonstrated  by Fairbanks having  a lower recidivism rate  than the                                                            
State average.  She continued that the Youth Court  has expanded its                                                            
program  to provide  for a Victim/Offender  Mediation  Program.  She                                                            
stated that a  funding reduction in the community  services matching                                                            
grant  program "would  cripple" the  Youth Court's  ability to  best                                                            
serve the community.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BEN M.  ANGEL testified  via teleconference  from Fairbanks  to urge                                                            
full  funding for  the University  of Alaska  as flat  funding  or a                                                            
funding reduction  would limit programs  offered by the University.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DOUG ISAACSON,  Council Member,  City of  North Pole, testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Fairbanks  and urged  the Committee to  address                                                            
the State's  budget by encouraging  economic growth and development                                                             
of  the  State's infrastructure.   He stated  that  a  reduction  in                                                            
infrastructure resources  negatively affects private businesses that                                                            
rely on the  road system to deliver  goods and services.  He thanked                                                            
the Legislature  for continuing to support the municipal  assistance                                                            
program;  however,  he voiced  concern  about the  proposed  funding                                                            
reductions   in  the  Department   of  Transportation   and   Public                                                            
Facilities. He opined that  cuts to this Department are concentrated                                                            
in the  Northern Region;  however,  he attested,  that when  funding                                                            
increases,  the Anchorage  area appears to  benefit. He stated  that                                                            
the  funding reductions  are  "not proportionally   applied" as  the                                                            
Northern  Region suffers the  most. He encouraged  the Committee  to                                                            
continue to fund  the University of Alaska as its  growth positively                                                            
impacts the Fairbanks region.  He urged the Committee to support the                                                            
Nano-Technology   agreement  as  it  would  benefit  the  State.  He                                                            
stressed  that  the  City  of North  Pole  is  concerned  about  the                                                            
implementation  of  a  State  sales  tax,  as  "it  wouldn't  be  an                                                            
equitable system  for the Municipality because the  exemptions would                                                            
be determined by the State not by the locality."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
H.B. TELLING  testified via teleconference  from Fairbanks  to state                                                            
that  "proper  funding and  new  leadership"  of the  University  of                                                            
Alaska has enabled the  University to become a powerful force in the                                                            
State. He encouraged  the Committee  to fully fund the University's                                                             
budget request.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DEREK  MILLER,  President,   Student  Body,  University   of  Alaska                                                            
Fairbanks   testified  via   teleconference   from  Fairbanks   that                                                            
increased funding has allowed  the University to expand its programs                                                            
and  become an  integral  part of  the State's  economy  as well  as                                                            
becoming  "the driving  force" in  the State's  economic future.  He                                                            
urged the Committee  "to invest in the State's future"  by investing                                                            
in the University.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JOE HARDENBROOK,  Student and Member,  Board of Regents,  University                                                            
of Alaska Fairbanks, testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks to                                                            
urge the  Committee to fully  fund the University  of Alaska  as the                                                            
University "is  a key component of developing Alaska's  economy." He                                                            
stated that while the State  "relies on developing natural resources                                                            
for a significant part  of its budget," he argued that the people of                                                            
the State,  particularly students  educated through the University,                                                             
would be the State's next great resource.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
OSCAR  JONES,  Employee, Department  of  Transportation  and  Public                                                            
Facilities, testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks  in support                                                            
of funding for  roads, particularly the Dalton Highway.  He informed                                                            
the Committee  that private contractors have complimented  the State                                                            
on  the  quality of  road  maintenance  performed  at  the  budgeted                                                            
levels, and he  attested that good employees would  be laid off from                                                            
their  positions   if  Department  road  maintenance   funding  were                                                            
reduced. He suggested  the use of the Permanent Fund  interest, as a                                                            
funding source  for the State's transportation  needs. He  urged the                                                            
Committee   to  fund  Department   of  Transportation   and   Public                                                            
Facilities  at  the  level  recommended  in  the  Governor's  budget                                                            
proposal.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ERIN  MCGRATH,   Student,  University   of  Alaska,  testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from Fairbanks  and  stated that,  as a new  Alaskan                                                            
resident, she realizes  the unique challenges and opportunities that                                                            
Alaska  has. She  exclaimed  that  the University  is  one of  these                                                            
opportunities  as it provides excellent education  opportunities and                                                            
contributes  to the State's economic  success by allowing  residents                                                            
to remain in  the State and get good  jobs. She urged the  Committee                                                            
to  "not  rob Alaskans  of  the  opportunity  to  benefit  from  the                                                            
University"  and   she  urged  the  Committee  to   fully  fund  the                                                            
University's  budget request.  She declared  that she "would  rather                                                            
pay State taxes  than to watch the University wither  due to lack of                                                            
funding."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JIM LYNCH,  Associate Vice-President  Finance, University  of Alaska                                                            
testified via teleconference  from Fairbanks and spoke in support of                                                            
education  funding  for  K12  and  for  the  University.  He  voiced                                                            
appreciation for the wide  variety of funding needs of the State and                                                            
he noted  that, with  his professional  experience,  the State  must                                                            
limit the Permanent  Fund Dividend and implement a  State income and                                                            
sales tax in addition  to implementing alcohol and  cigarettes taxes                                                            
and other user  taxes. He implored  the Committee to act  quickly as                                                            
it takes a considerable amount of time to establish new systems.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAMMY GANGULI testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks and urged                                                            
full funding  for the University.  She reminded  the Committee  that                                                            
medical  education courses  provided  through the  University  could                                                            
address the  State's need  to provide adequate  medical care  to its                                                            
citizens.  She stated that  the University  could provide the  State                                                            
with a skilled workforce that would benefit the State's economy.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MARTIN P. BRANVILLE,  Employee, Alaska Department  of Transportation                                                            
and Public Facilities,  testified via teleconference  from Fairbanks                                                            
to voice that  proposed cuts to the Department's workforce  would be                                                            
harmful to the State's  road system. He reiterated other testifiers'                                                            
comments that  private contractors could not perform  the same level                                                            
of  road maintenance  for  as low  a price  as State  personnel.  He                                                            
stated  that  while contracting  out  road  maintenance  jobs  would                                                            
reduce  the number  of  operators'  jobs, it  would  only result  in                                                            
eliminating a few management positions.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
IRENE PEYTON testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks and stated                                                            
that  the State's  senior  citizen population  is  growing, and  she                                                            
urged the Committee  to recognize this trend and fund  corresponding                                                            
support services  accordingly. She voiced support  of user fees as a                                                            
method to fund needed services.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
LISA VILLANO,  Student Member,  Alaska Commission  on Postsecondary                                                             
Education  Board   and  Student,  University  of  Alaska   Fairbanks                                                            
testified  via teleconference  from Fairbanks  to urge full  funding                                                            
for the  University. She  thanked the Committee  for the support  of                                                            
the  University  and  the  high  school  graduates  Alaska  Scholars                                                            
program which, she attested,  is an example of a successful program.                                                            
She stated that  retaining Alaska's youth in the State  is important                                                            
to the State's future.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
TODD LARKIN testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks  to declare                                                            
that the majority  of people who have been testifying  rely on State                                                            
funds  to support  them. He  expressed that  the belief  is that  if                                                            
programs  are not funded  by the State  that "the  sun will  fail to                                                            
rise, all children  will starve, the elderly will  die, and you will                                                            
be despised among men."  However, he stated, that if the Legislature                                                            
institutes  a new Statewide  tax,  "then you would  be revered."  He                                                            
expressed  that he, a private  jobholder, does  not want to  pay for                                                            
more State funded programs.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ALFRED KETZLER,  Employee,  Tanana Chiefs  Conference testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Fairbanks  to comment  that the FY 03  proposed                                                            
general fund  expenditures level is  similar to that of budget  year                                                            
FY 76; however, he declared  it should be sufficiently higher due to                                                            
inflation  and increased  demands.  He voiced  support  for a  State                                                            
income tax rather than a State sales tax.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
PAT  SWEETSIR,   Deputy   Administrative   Officer,  Tanana   Chiefs                                                            
Conference testified via  teleconference from Fairbanks and spoke of                                                            
the  harm  that poor  families  would  endure  as  a result  of  the                                                            
Permanent  Fund Hold  Harmless  Clause. He  urged  the Committee  to                                                            
pursue a reasonable  fiscal plan that would establish  standards for                                                            
future budgeting needs.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
BETTY DUPREE, 25-year Employee,  University of Alaska, testified via                                                            
teleconference from Fairbanks  to voice that the funding provided to                                                            
the University  during the last two years "has been  instrumental in                                                            
giving the University  back the impetus" that is required  to create                                                            
new programs  needed by  the citizens  of the  State. She asked  the                                                            
Committee to fully fund the University's budget request.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
RECESS 6:41 PM / 7:15 PM                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
The following witnesses testified in person in Juneau.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JODI RUMPH, a  Juneau parent, informed the Committee  that while she                                                            
does not like  to pay taxes, she would support an  alcohol tax and a                                                            
two percent  across-the-board  State income  tax to provide  revenue                                                            
for State programs.  She acknowledged  that the cost of Medicare  is                                                            
rising,  and she  stated that  early  intervention  would assist  in                                                            
reducing Medicare costs.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 02 # 68, Side B 07:15 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Rumph  stated that currently  there is  an eight-year wait  list                                                            
for Medicare services,  and she suggested that the  Medicare funding                                                            
should be equally distributed to program applicants.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARC  WHEELER,  Member,   City  and  Borough  of  Juneau   Assembly,                                                            
expressed to the  Committee that he was personally  "shocked to hear                                                            
about the  steep cuts" proposed  by the Senate  for the Division  of                                                            
Alcohol and  Drug Abuse programs.  He reminded the Committee  of the                                                            
"huge problems"  that  occur in the  State due  to alcohol and  drug                                                            
abuse and the  high cost incurred to the State as  a result of those                                                            
abuses.  He  stressed  the need  for  "more  funding  for  treatment                                                            
programs not less,"  and he contended that these treatment  programs                                                            
do  produce results.  He  urged  the Committee  to  protect  Alaskan                                                            
families from  alcohol and drug abuse and to pass  an alcohol tax to                                                            
support the endeavor.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
JAMES KENWORTHY,  Alaska Science and  Technology Foundation  (ASTF),                                                            
informed the Committee  that ASTF is concerned about "the first ever                                                            
use of our endowment  funds" for non-ASTF purposes.  He informed the                                                            
Committee that  ASTF funds have been used to fund  a wide variety of                                                            
concerns  in  the  State  including  funds  for  numerous   start-up                                                            
businesses   including  seafood   plants  in   Wrangell  and   other                                                            
communities  and science research  projects and training  grants. He                                                            
urged  the Committee  to  allow  ASTF to  have  full access  to  its                                                            
earnings.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DAVID  HULL, Fire  Fighter, Paramedic,  and  Representative,  Alaska                                                            
Council  of  Emergency   Medical  Services  (ACEMS),   notified  the                                                            
Committee that  written testimony [copy on file] has  been submitted                                                            
from  attendees at  the  organization's  recent Sitka  Symposium  in                                                            
which "imminent  doctors from  all over the  world came to  Sitka to                                                            
rewrite and  review the  Alaska State cold  water near-drowning  and                                                            
frostbite protocols."  He stated that symposiums such  as this would                                                            
be  endangered if  the  proposed 25  percent  cut in  the  emergency                                                            
services grant were adopted.  He stated that the public need for the                                                            
ACEMS  services has  increased; however,  the  funding has  remained                                                            
flat.  He  stated  that  cuts  in  this  program  would  weaken  the                                                            
foundation  for Statewide  medical programs  as these funds  provide                                                            
for  insurance coverage,  fuel  for  ambulance and  other  emergency                                                            
vehicles,  training and certification.  He  stated that the  results                                                            
could be "disastrous"  for the basic  emergency needs of  the State.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BILL LEGERE, Manager,  KTOO FM and TV Public Broadcasting  addressed                                                            
the proposed $69,900  reduction in radio grants provided  for in the                                                            
Public    Communications    Services     budget,    Department    of                                                            
Administration.  He asserted  that this "two  percent of the  total"                                                            
reduction  would  trigger  a loss  of $130,000  in  federal  funding                                                            
support of public radio across the State.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
STEPHEN SUNDBY, PHD, Administrator,  Juneau Recovery Hospital (JRH),                                                            
detailed  the  services  the  agency  provides   such  as  emergency                                                            
services  patrols, emergency  detoxification  services and  suicidal                                                            
treatment  care. He informed  the Committee  that the State  has not                                                            
increased  the funding  for these  types of agencies  in ten  years;                                                            
however, costs  continue to rise.  He stressed that further  funding                                                            
reductions would close  the agency and be a disservice to people who                                                            
do not have the financial means to pay for such services.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE MCINTYRE,  Director, American Lung Association  of Alaska,                                                            
testified to urge the Committee  to fund the Tobacco Use, Education,                                                            
and Cessation  program at the State recommended level  of 20 percent                                                            
of  the total  Master  Tobacco  Settlement  Fund. She  reported  the                                                            
positive  results occurring  as  a result  of the  program, and  she                                                            
advised  that when programs  are adequately  funded, positive  long-                                                            
term endeavors result.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
KATHRYN ARLEN,  Participant, Meeting the Challenge  Advocacy Program                                                            
and  Volunteer  for  the  Johnson  Youth  Center  and  Juneau  Youth                                                            
Services identified  herself as "a  grateful recovering alcoholic."                                                             
She  exclaimed "that  treatment  works," and  she  is a responsible                                                             
contributing   member  of  society.  She  urged  the   Committee  to                                                            
reinstate the  proposed 20 percent  reduction in treatment  programs                                                            
or to create a conduit  from the public sector to a private provider                                                            
to allow these programs to continue to be available.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MARK GRAVES,  Student, University  of Alaska  Southeast (UAS)  urged                                                            
full  funding  support  for  the  University.  He  stated  that  the                                                            
University  system is currently  educating  32,000 students  and has                                                            
7,000  employees.  He stated  that  for every  general  fund  dollar                                                            
invested in the University  system, there is a four dollar and fifty                                                            
cent  economic return  within  the State.  He stated  that  reducing                                                            
programs would jeopardize  enrollment numbers by causing students to                                                            
seek an education elsewhere.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MCKENZIE  MATAYA, Student,  University  of Alaska  Southeast,  urged                                                            
full support of  UAS. She is currently a tele-counselor  who markets                                                            
the University to prospective  students, and she would be pleased to                                                            
be  able to  continue  to boast  about  the  University's  qualities                                                            
afforded by appropriate levels of funding.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ERIC MORRISON,  Student, University  of Alaska Southeast  urged full                                                            
funding  for  the  University.   He  stated  that  if  education  is                                                            
supported the State would benefit.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Leman asked whether  the testifier is aware of "how much the                                                            
University's budget has  increased annually in the past five years."                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Morrison  responded that he was  not aware of the exact  amount.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Leman stated  that the  University's  budget has  increased                                                            
$150 million.  He voiced  that he wanted to  let the testifier  know                                                            
"how much the Legislature has chosen to support the University."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Morrison  expressed that  "it shows."  He thanked the  Committee                                                            
for the support.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JENNIFER  LOESCH,   Student,  University  of  Alaska,   thanked  the                                                            
Committee for  the support of the  University for she declared  that                                                            
the more  students  attending the  in-State University  system,  the                                                            
more  who would  remain in  the State  and join  the workforce.  She                                                            
stated, "that  support of the University  creates hope and  success"                                                            
for the future of the State.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SHYANN STEDMAN,  Transfer  Student, University  of Alaska,  has seen                                                            
the school  grow and develop tremendous  potential. She stated  that                                                            
students from all over  the country are attending the University and                                                            
"falling in  love" with the State,  which provides the State  with a                                                            
young growing  workforce. She noted that she is a  tele-counselor at                                                            
the University,  and she expressed  that "the affordability"  of the                                                            
school has real appeal to prospective students.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MARILYN PILLIFANT, accompanied  by THOIR THOMAS, Teachers, Anchorage                                                            
School District, detailed  the daily activities and responsibilities                                                            
involved  when teaching  29 third  grade students.  She stated  that                                                            
classroom sizes  must be reduced in order to provide  a teacher with                                                            
adequate  time to work  with each  student as well  as to allow  for                                                            
sufficient  planning time. Using a  classroom "window painting"  art                                                            
diagram, she  explained to the Committee  that her classroom  budget                                                            
consists of a  $54 per student allotment from which  she is required                                                            
to purchase  school district  standards  printed materials  totaling                                                            
$21 plus  shipping as well  as pay for use  of the school  copier to                                                            
publish newsletters and  other needed classroom material. She stated                                                            
that  after all  classroom  obligations  were deducted,  the  amount                                                            
remaining "for discretionary  spending" is $4 per student, which she                                                            
spent on glue and pencils.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Pillifant  exclaimed  that  the only  piece  of  new  classroom                                                            
equipment she has encountered  in her 14.5 years of teaching was new                                                            
student  chairs.  She  stated  that  the  school's  copying  machine                                                            
malfunctions  every  day.  She  related  that  applying  for  grants                                                            
"creates this  huge bureaucracy" which  taxes any limited  free time                                                            
she  might have;  therefore,  she  suggested  that grants  become  a                                                            
segment of the  State school funding foundation formula.  She stated                                                            
that in  order to  make the  educational system  function,  parents,                                                            
teachers, and the community  must be involved. She stressed that the                                                            
Legislature  must  be  involved  by  providing  appropriate   school                                                            
funding. She voiced  that there is disparity between  the schools in                                                            
every  district  in  the  State.  She  implored   the  Committee  to                                                            
"properly" fund education.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ANNETTE MARLEY, Representative,  Alaska Native Health Board, thanked                                                            
the Senate  for supporting  the establishment  of the Tobacco  Youth                                                            
Education  and  Cessation  Fund  the  prior  year  and subsequently                                                             
allocating  20 percent of  the State's tobacco  settlement  money in                                                            
the FY  02 budget to  support it.   She stressed  that the  proposed                                                            
Senate FY 03 budget  does not reflect that same level  of commitment                                                            
to the program, and she  urged funding to continue at the 20 percent                                                            
level. She  stated that while the  organization she is representing                                                             
does not receive  any of the tobacco settlement money  for programs,                                                            
the organization attests  that the program works and is necessary to                                                            
ensure healthier Alaskans.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PAM WATTS, Executive  Director, Advisory Board, Alcoholism  and Drug                                                            
Abuse Program  expressed concern regarding  "the crippling  proposed                                                            
cuts to  the Division  of Alcoholism  and Drug  Abuse budget"  which                                                            
would negatively  impact programs in every region  of the State. She                                                            
explained that  the $4 million cut  to treatment grant programs,  in                                                            
particular, "would  be devastating" since those programs  "have been                                                            
flat  funded  since  1992 with  no  increases  for  inflation."  She                                                            
detailed the impact  that alcoholism has on the State  such as child                                                            
abuse,  vehicular  accidents,  and  homicides,  and  she  urged  the                                                            
Committee  to  restore   full  funding  to  programs   because,  she                                                            
asserted, treatment does work.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
FRANK WRIGHT,  Student, Manley  Hot Springs  School, testified  that                                                            
the proposed  budget cuts to the Elliot  Highway winter maintenance                                                             
"would kill our community  because half of the town would lose their                                                            
jobs." He stated  that Manley Hot  Springs is located approximately                                                             
164 miles from Fairbanks.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HEIDI WRIGHT,  Teacher, Manley Hot  Springs School, stated  that she                                                            
and her students raised  money in order to travel "hundreds of miles                                                            
to be  here to talk  with Legislators  face to  face" because  "they                                                            
fear that their  school and their  homes would be brought  to an end                                                            
by the State  government." She urged  the Committee to consider  the                                                            
"ripple  effect" of  budget cuts  that would  negatively affect  the                                                            
community.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CRYSTAL  MELTON, Fifth Grade  Student, Manley  Hot Springs  informed                                                            
the Committee  that her  family would  be required  to move  if road                                                            
maintenance is not provided  on the Elliot Highway leading to Manley                                                            
Hot Springs,  because her step-father  is employed by Department  of                                                            
Transportation  and Public  Facilities and  would lose his  job. She                                                            
stressed that she does  not want to leave the community and that her                                                            
school provides a good education and "really is worth saving."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR.  SUE CLIFTON,  Principal,  Manley  Hot Springs  School  stressed                                                            
"that no child  in a State as great  as Alaska should have  to worry                                                            
so much about  how to keep their school open" due  to such things as                                                            
the State government  denying road  maintenance to their  community.                                                            
She urged the  Committee to remember, "that every  address is Alaska                                                            
is important  to our  children" whether  it is  urban or rural.  She                                                            
continued that were funding  for rural education "killed directly or                                                            
indirectly,  you kill  all that is  unique about  the State  and you                                                            
might as well  represent California" or Montana or  Mississippi. She                                                            
urged the Committee  to remember these  Manley Hot Springs  children                                                            
when deciding  financing  for rural  education  or road maintenance                                                             
funding leading to a small community that has a school.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JOHN ROWLETT,  Student, Manley Hot  Springs noted that the  proposed                                                            
road maintenance  budget cuts  would have a  "severe" impact  on his                                                            
school  and small  rural community.  He  stated that  many  families                                                            
would  be  required  to  move  resulting   in  the  closure  of  the                                                            
community's school and a further loss of jobs in the community.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DANE KOPONEN, Eighth Grade  Student, Manley Hot Springs informed the                                                            
Committee  that  he  and  other students  have  come  to  Juneau  to                                                            
specifically  lobby for the  "preservation  of rural education."  He                                                            
stated   that   the  effects   of   the   proposed   Department   of                                                            
Transportation and Public  Facilities budget cuts would "mean death"                                                            
to the community of Manley Hot Springs and its school.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CORI DART, Student, Manley  Hot Springs asserted that no winter road                                                            
maintenance  funding for the Elliot  Highway would indirectly  close                                                            
the school.  He attested  that closing a school  "in this manner  is                                                            
just as  shameful as directly  closing a  school." He asserted  that                                                            
the Gladys  Dart School "is the lifeline  of the community,"  and he                                                            
continued  that,   "it  is  our  right  to  have  and   the  state's                                                            
responsibility  to provide  education  to children  no matter  where                                                            
they live." He exclaimed  that rural education is just as productive                                                            
as education received in urban areas.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator Leman stated that  while he represents an urban area, he was                                                            
raised  in  rural  Alaska,  and he  attests  that  rural  areas  can                                                            
"deliver" a good education.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL GLUDE, Director, Southeast  Alaska Avalanche Center thanked the                                                            
Committee for  the FY 02 public safety budget funding  which allowed                                                            
the non-profit center to  educate the public about avalanche safety.                                                            
He urged  the Committee to  consider increasing  the funding  to the                                                            
program in  FY 03. He noted  Alaska leads  the nation in per  capita                                                            
avalanche  deaths and  is also  the only  state that  does not  have                                                            
formal  government education  or  forecasting programs  relating  to                                                            
avalanches.  He  supplied the  Committee  with  written testimonies                                                             
[copies  on file]  in  support  of avalanche  safety  programs  from                                                            
throughout  the State, and he asserted  that, "avalanche  deaths are                                                            
largely preventable through education."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Austerman asked  whether avalanche education could assist in                                                            
preventing snow machiner deaths caused by "high marking."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Glude  stated that education  could help  in this situation.  He                                                            
asserted  that  while  these  deaths  are  often  characterized   as                                                            
resulting  from "risk takers;"  he contended  that these people  are                                                            
just Alaskans  "going out recreating  and don't know better  than to                                                            
go up a steep slope." He  shared with the Committee that modern snow                                                            
machines are  powerful and allow snow  machiners to venture  to more                                                            
extreme  locations;  however,  he  asserted,  these  people  do  not                                                            
perceive  the  situation  to  be  dangerous.  He  stated  that  snow                                                            
machiners comprise 67 percent  of the avalanche deaths in the State.                                                            
He noted that the Southeast  Alaska Avalanche Center has purchased a                                                            
high power snow  machine to demonstrate and better  address teaching                                                            
snow machiners about avalanche safety.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
VIVIAN  MONTOYA,   Teacher,  Juneau   School  District,   asked  the                                                            
Committee to understand  how important it is to fully fund education                                                            
to allow teachers to meet  students' needs. She stated that properly                                                            
teaching children  involves providing significant  financial support                                                            
and resources,  qualified  teachers, and  a "tremendous commitment"                                                             
from  Legislators,  teachers and  families.  She attested  that  the                                                            
saying, "if kids  are mad, bad or sad, they can't  add" demonstrates                                                            
that educators must address the "whole child."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 02 # 69, Side A 08:03 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Montoya  stated that  children must have  all their basic  needs                                                            
met  in order  to  learn;  therefore,  she urged  the  Committee  to                                                            
adequately  fund alcohol  treatment programs  as this issue  affects                                                            
students' learning behavior.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Senator Leman  identified and acknowledged  that Ms. Montoya  is the                                                            
Alaska Teacher of the Year.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Austerman  voiced appreciation  for the efforts Ms.  Montoya                                                            
and other teachers contribute to their students.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DEBRA GARRISH,  President, Red Alaska  Child Abuse [unverified  name                                                            
of organization]  testified  that  the State  needs  more, not  less                                                            
State Troopers as child  abuse is a very large problem in the State.                                                            
She continued  that  alcohol and  mental health  issues also  affect                                                            
child  abuse, and  she  attested that  budget  reductions  affecting                                                            
these  programs  negatively  affect  children.  She  continued  that                                                            
proposed cuts  to the Foster Care program are unfortunate,  as these                                                            
services are  needed in the State.  She reminded the Committee  that                                                            
the State  Constitution requires  the State  to provide for  health,                                                            
education, and safety,  and she voiced that all of these things join                                                            
together to help protect children.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Dr.  ROBERT SEWELL,  Chair,  University  of Alaska  Statewide  Staff                                                            
Alliance thanked the Committee  for prior support of the University.                                                            
He informed  the Committee that McDowell  Group surveys attest  that                                                            
"things  are  blossoming"  at  the  University,  and  he  urged  the                                                            
Legislature to  fully fund the University's budget  request to allow                                                            
the school  to continue  that momentum  and  support President  Mark                                                            
Hamilton's leadership, "which has been remarkable indeed."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
VERNER  STILLNER,  Medical  Director,  Behavioral  Health,  Bartlett                                                            
Regional Hospital  and Psychiatrist, Juneau Recovery  Hospital (JRH)                                                            
stated that, "the  war on drugs is failing and the  war on treatment                                                            
is  succeeding."  He  pleaded  with  the  Committee  to  not  reduce                                                            
treatment  programs  by  the  proposed   20 percent   decrement.  He                                                            
informed the Committee  that while the State supplies  25 percent of                                                            
the JRH  funding; the proposed  20 percent  decrement combined  with                                                            
the flat funding  the Center has received for ten  years would close                                                            
the  facility.  He stated  that  the  JRH clients  "are  not  always                                                            
likeable,  they relapse,  they contribute  to domestic violence  and                                                            
fetal  alcohol  syndrome;  however,  they are  people  with  chronic                                                            
illnesses." He stated that treatment does work.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley announced  that there being  no further  testimony,                                                            
this concludes approximately  ten hours of public testimony that the                                                            
Senate  Finance  Committee  has  accepted  regarding  the  Operating                                                            
Budget.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Austerman voiced  appreciation for the testimony and for the                                                            
suggestions  as to how to  balance the budget,  garner new  revenue,                                                            
and pay for services throughout the State.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley ordered the bills HELD in Committee.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Dave Donley adjourned the meeting at 08:15 PM                                                                          
                                                                                                                                

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