Legislature(2011 - 2012)SENATE FINANCE 532

02/21/2011 09:00 AM Senate FINANCE

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09:01:10 AM Start
09:02:13 AM SB46 || SB47 || SB48
10:00:05 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Introduction of the Governor's Budget Amendments TELECONFERENCED
by the Office of Management and Budget
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                     February 21, 2011                                                                                          
                         9:01 a.m.                                                                                              
9:01:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Hoffman called the Senate Finance Committee                                                                            
meeting to order at 9:01 a.m.                                                                                                   
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Lyman Hoffman, Co-Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Bert Stedman, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Dennis Egan                                                                                                             
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Joe Thomas                                                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Lesil McGuire, Vice-Chair                                                                                               
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Karen Rehfeld, Director, Office of Management and Budget,                                                                       
Office of the Governor                                                                                                          
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
SB 46     BUDGET: CAPITAL                                                                                                       
          SB 46 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
SB 47     APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                  
          SB 47 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
SB 48     APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET                                                                                          
          SB 48 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
SENATE BILL NO. 46                                                                                                            
     "An Act  making and amending  appropriations, including                                                                    
     capital   appropriations   and  other   appropriations;                                                                    
     making   appropriations   to  capitalize   funds;   and                                                                    
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
SB  46  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
SENATE BILL NO. 47                                                                                                            
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan program expenses of  state government, for certain                                                                    
     programs, and  to capitalize  funds; and  providing for                                                                    
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
SB  47  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
SENATE BILL NO. 48                                                                                                            
     "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."                                                                                                        
SB  48  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
9:02:13 AM                                                                                                                    
KAREN REHFELD,  DIRECTOR, OFFICE  OF MANAGEMENT  AND BUDGET,                                                                    
OFFICE OF  THE GOVERNOR, announced  that she would  be using                                                                    
the amended  fiscal summary, and the  amendment spreadsheets                                                                    
(copy  on  file). She  stated  that  she would  occasionally                                                                    
refer to the supplemental budget, SB 76.                                                                                        
Ms. Rehfeld stated that the  FY 12 budget amendments totaled                                                                    
$148.8  million, of  which  $15.4  million was  unrestricted                                                                    
general fund.  She declared that  the budget  included $31.8                                                                    
million for agency operating  non-formula amendments, and $4                                                                    
million  for  operating   agency  formula  amendments;  with                                                                    
$112.9 million  in capital budget amendments.  She announced                                                                    
that  the   updated  fiscal  summary  included   lines  that                                                                    
displayed amendments since December 15, 2010.                                                                                   
Ms. Rehfeld  discussed the operating budget  amendments. She                                                                    
stressed that there were three  categories for the operating                                                                    
budget  amendments:  some  were based  on  the  supplemental                                                                    
requests,  some were  technical adjustments  or corrections,                                                                    
and some  were new  items that  were reconsidered  since the                                                                    
budget was drafted.                                                                                                             
Ms.  Rehfeld  highlighted  some   major  amendments  in  the                                                                    
operating budget.  She discussed line 1  of the spreadsheet:                                                                    
costs  associated   with  mail  carrier  charges   from  the                                                                    
Department of Administration (DOA), and  stated it was a new                                                                    
request  for $60  million.  She remarked  that  most of  the                                                                    
other  items  for  DOA  were   technical,  and  were  mostly                                                                    
interagency receipts.  She stated  that lines  6 and  7 were                                                                    
specific to the Alaska  Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.                                                                    
She remarked that line 8  was a correction for the Qualified                                                                    
Trade Association Contract, and  the fund source was changed                                                                    
from  ports and  harbors to  the unrestricted  general fund.                                                                    
She reported that  lines 11 through 15 were  specific to the                                                                    
Department   of   Corrections   (DOC),  and   mirrored   the                                                                    
supplemental bill.                                                                                                              
9:08:26 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair   Hoffman   remarked    that   $8.8   million   was                                                                    
substantial,  and  wondered  how   it  was  overlooked.  Ms.                                                                    
Rehfeld  replied that  the Office  of Management  and Budget                                                                    
(OMB) had  not originally  considered the cost  of overtime.                                                                    
She stressed  that inmate health costs  were also considered                                                                    
in the supplemental budget.                                                                                                     
Co-Chair Hoffman  pointed to  line 12,  and wondered  if the                                                                    
consideration  was short  term. Ms.  Rehfeld responded  that                                                                    
the DOC was advised to evaluate its personnel.                                                                                  
Co-Chair Hoffman  wondered when  the DOC  personnel analysis                                                                    
would be incorporated  into the FY 12  operating budget. Ms.                                                                    
Rehfeld replied  that if the  analysis was  available before                                                                    
the  deadline   of  the  operating   budget,  it   would  be                                                                    
Ms. Rehfeld  referred to  lines 20 and  21, and  stated that                                                                    
the  amendments   related  to   the  Bering  Sea   crab  and                                                                    
management  activities.  She   remarked  that  $400,000  was                                                                    
requested from  test fisheries receipts, and  announced that                                                                    
in years prior a federal  earmark had been requested for the                                                                    
Co-Chair  Hoffman wondered  if there  were previous  federal                                                                    
earmarks that were currently requested  in the state budget.                                                                    
Ms. Rehfeld  replied that  in the  two years  prior, earmark                                                                    
requests had significantly reduced.                                                                                             
Ms. Rehfeld continued  with line 23, and  specified that the                                                                    
funds  would be  used  for research  in labeling  endangered                                                                    
species listings.                                                                                                               
9:13:32 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms.   Rehfeld   discussed   Health   and   Social   Services                                                                    
amendments,   and    remarked   that   many    were   budget                                                                    
restructuring  adjustments. She  referred  to  line 26,  and                                                                    
remarked that  there was a  $935,000 request for  front line                                                                    
social workers.  This funding  would target  the significant                                                                    
case load  in Wasilla.  She discussed  lines 30  through 33,                                                                    
and stated  that those funds  were because  of restructuring                                                                    
and  combining  components.  She  pointed to  line  34,  and                                                                    
remarked that  it was  the amount  necessary for  the senior                                                                    
benefits  program  in FY  12:  totaling  $22.4 million.  She                                                                    
stressed  that $1.968  million would  be necessary  for full                                                                    
funding of  the senior benefits program.  She discussed line                                                                    
35,  and  stated  that  the amendment  was  for  the  Public                                                                    
Assistance/Energy  Assistance Program.  She pointed  to line                                                                    
38,  which   would  continue  the  Student   Loan  Repayment                                                                    
Program;  this funding  would  allow 16  to  22 health  care                                                                    
practitioners  to receive  support for  their student  loans                                                                    
based on their  residency a high need area.  She referred to                                                                    
lines  39 and  40,  and stated  that  those amendments  were                                                                    
based on re-structuring. She pointed  to line 41, and stated                                                                    
that  there  were three  grantees  in  the state  that  were                                                                    
providing public  health services: Anchorage,  Maniilaq, and                                                                    
the  North Slope  Borough. She  stressed  that requested  $1                                                                    
million would  help to stabilize  funding for  public health                                                                    
nursing grantees.  She pointed to  line 42, and  stated that                                                                    
that  funding would  enhance the  personal services  for the                                                                    
public  nursing programs  around  the state.  She looked  at                                                                    
line 44,  and stated that  the Corrective Action  Plan (CAP)                                                                    
would require  an additional $250,000. She  pointed to lines                                                                    
45 through 49, which  were technical adjustments to Medicaid                                                                    
9:20:21 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Rehfeld looked  at lines  51  and 52  under the  Alaska                                                                    
Vocational Technology  Center, and stated that  two training                                                                    
grants were not known when  the December budget was drafted.                                                                    
She  stressed  that the  funding  would  allow for  distance                                                                    
education training and  medical coding/billing training. She                                                                    
pointed to  lines 53 through 55,  which specifically focused                                                                    
on  Department of  Law needs.  She  looked at  line 59,  and                                                                    
stated that the Veterans Affairs  Office was moving off base                                                                    
providing  additional service  for  veterans. She  discussed                                                                    
lines 60  through 64 that  referred to amendments  under the                                                                    
Department  of Natural  Resources  (DNR),  and she  remarked                                                                    
that  DNR was  facing some  permitting issues  that required                                                                    
further funding relating to mining, land, and water.                                                                            
Co-Chair  Stedman  looked at  line  62,  and commented  that                                                                    
there had been a potential  permit back log, and he wondered                                                                    
what  the  expectation was  to  alleviate  the backlog.  Ms.                                                                    
Rehfeld  replied   that  DNR  had   plans  to   improve  the                                                                    
permitting  process, and  stated  that there  was a  concern                                                                    
about filling positions.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair  Stedman requested  that  the  committee develop  a                                                                    
methodology  related to  addressing  permit and  application                                                                    
backlog  issues. Co-Chair  Hoffman agreed,  and wondered  if                                                                    
the  backlog  issue had  to  do  with  DNR taking  on  other                                                                    
departments'  responsibilities.  Ms.  Rehfeld  replied  that                                                                    
multiple factors contributed to the backlog problem.                                                                            
9:27:13 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Rehfeld continued  with lines 67 and 68,  and stated the                                                                    
amendments referred  to access issues, RS2477.  She referred                                                                    
to  line 69  with  a  request of  $390,000  to continue  the                                                                    
Wildland Fire Academy: training  courses for 80-120 students                                                                    
for  training  in  fire-fighting activities.  She  discussed                                                                    
line 70  that was a request  of $1.3 million for  the Bureau                                                                    
of  Highway Patrol.  She referred  to line  71, which  was a                                                                    
request  for two  new troopers  to establish  a new  post in                                                                    
northwest Alaska (Kiana or Selawik).  She looked at line 72,                                                                    
which  was a  request for  a position  to coordinate  public                                                                    
safety  communications.  She  referred  to  line  73,  which                                                                    
requested  a position  in the  Council on  Domestic Violence                                                                    
and  Sexual  Assault  that   would  deal  specifically  with                                                                    
Co-Chair  Hoffman  referred  to  line 71,  and  wondered  if                                                                    
Northwest Alaska  had a high  rate of domestic  violence and                                                                    
sexual  assault. Ms.  Rehfeld replied  that she  was unsure,                                                                    
but stated that  it was an area of  significant concern. She                                                                    
stressed that the  region had asked for  trooper presence in                                                                    
the area.                                                                                                                       
Senator Olson wondered if the  new Alcohol laws in Kiana and                                                                    
Selawik  were  the  reason  for  the  trooper  request.  Ms.                                                                    
Rehfeld did not know.                                                                                                           
Ms.  Rehfeld  looked  at  line   75,  and  stated  that  two                                                                    
positions  were  requested  for   the  Kodiak  Airport.  The                                                                    
positions  were needed  to maintain  the  service hours  and                                                                    
operations. She  pointed to  line 76,  and stated  that five                                                                    
positions  were requested  at the  Bethel airport  to extend                                                                    
the hours of  operations to 24 hours a day.  She referred to                                                                    
line 77,  and stated  that the request  was for  $980,000 in                                                                    
Pell grant  funding. She  looked at lines  79 and  80, which                                                                    
were for funding related to  bargaining unit requests at the                                                                    
University of Alaska.                                                                                                           
9:33:29 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Rehfeld looked  at line 84, which was  a continuation of                                                                    
the  Alaska  Energy  Authority (AEA)  $2  million  renewable                                                                    
energy fund.                                                                                                                    
Senator Olson  wondered if AEA's  request would  provide for                                                                    
the  Susitna Hydro-electric  project. Ms.  Rehfeld responded                                                                    
that it was not.                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Hoffman  wondered  if   the  $2  million  was  for                                                                    
additional  positions, or  if it  was for  a replacement  of                                                                    
general  funds. Ms.  Rehfeld replied  that  the funding  was                                                                    
specifically for AEA grant management.                                                                                          
9:35:55 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Rehfeld  looked at  line 85,  and stated  that it  was a                                                                    
request  for the  Department of  Education to  carry forward                                                                    
funds  that  were made  available  in  August 2010  for  the                                                                    
education  jobs bill.  She pointed  to line  86, and  stated                                                                    
that   it   was   Federal  Medical   Assistance   Percentage                                                                    
contingency  language. She  stressed that  if the  state did                                                                    
not  receive the  higher  reimbursement  rate, $123  million                                                                    
would be needed  in FY 12. She referred to  lines 88 through                                                                    
90,  and stated  that they  were language  clarifications in                                                                    
debt management.                                                                                                                
9:37:10 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:37:59 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Thomas wondered  if money  would be  requested from                                                                    
the  federal government  for Medicaid.  Ms. Rehfeld  replied                                                                    
that  the  language in  the  bill  was specific  to  overall                                                                    
reimbursement  rates, so  money  would be  requested if  the                                                                    
federal government did not extend the reimbursement rate.                                                                       
Co-Chair Hoffman wondered if  the reimbursement estimate was                                                                    
$123 million. Ms. Rehfeld affirmed.                                                                                             
Senator  Thomas  encouraged  the administration  to  request                                                                    
some  money. He  referred to  line  62, and  stated that  he                                                                    
appreciated   the  attempt   to  streamline   the  recurring                                                                    
permitting process.                                                                                                             
Senator Thomas referred to line  35, and queried the plan if                                                                    
the  federal funding  were cut.  Ms. Rehfeld  responded that                                                                    
increased state general  funds would be used  if the federal                                                                    
funding were cut.                                                                                                               
9:41:45 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms.  Rehfeld   discussed  Capital  Budget   amendments,  and                                                                    
referred to  the Capital Budget Amendment  spreadsheet (copy                                                                    
on  file). She  pointed out  line  1, and  stated that  $2.8                                                                    
million  in   DGF  program   receipts  were   requested  for                                                                    
improvements in  security, safety, and access  at the Atwood                                                                    
Building and  Linny Pacillo Parking Garage.  She stated that                                                                    
$3 million in cruise vessel  funds were proposed for Skagway                                                                    
City dock improvements.  She stated that line  4 referred to                                                                    
the  Health Insurance  Portability  and Accountability  Act,                                                                    
which  was for  specific  electronic transaction  standards.                                                                    
She  pointed out  line 5,  and stated  that it  was a  $36.5                                                                    
million  request for  federal  authorization for  electronic                                                                    
health record  incentive payments.  She stated that  lines 7                                                                    
through 27 had to do with the Airport Improvement Program.                                                                      
9:45:34 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Olson  referred to  line 6,  and wondered  where the                                                                    
DOT/PF deep  water studies would occur.  Ms. Rehfeld replied                                                                    
that the  money was  for a review  for potential  deep water                                                                    
sights. She remarked  that she did not know  of any specific                                                                    
areas DOT/PF would be exploring.                                                                                                
9:47:24 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Stedman  requested more information on  line 4. Ms.                                                                    
Rehfeld  detailed  that it  was  a  request for  the  Health                                                                    
Insurance  Portability and  Accountability  Act. She  stated                                                                    
that there  was a previous  planning grant for  the project,                                                                    
and approval had since been  given for implementation of the                                                                    
grant system.  She stressed that  the compliance  was needed                                                                    
by January 2012.                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  looked back to  line 4, and wondered  why the                                                                    
implementation was  not approved.  Ms. Rehfeld  replied that                                                                    
the information  was not  available at  the time  the budget                                                                    
was created in December 2010.                                                                                                   
9:49:22 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Rehfeld  continued with lines  28 though 50.  She stated                                                                    
that  these  changes  were  based  on  State  Transportation                                                                    
Improvement  Program (STIP)  amendments.  She stressed  that                                                                    
DOT/PF could provide more information about the projects.                                                                       
Co-Chair Stedman  remarked that  it was frustrating  for the                                                                    
STIP amendments to come in after the December budget.                                                                           
Ms. Rehfeld looked  at lines 52 and 53, and  stated that the                                                                    
request was for  an additional $3.1 million  from the Denali                                                                    
Commission that would go into  the Emerging Technology Fund.                                                                    
She stated that  line 54 referred to  the National Petroleum                                                                    
Reserve-Alaska (NPRA) Impact Grant Program.                                                                                     
9:52:27 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Hoffman  referred  to  a letter  he  and  Co-Chair                                                                    
Stedman  wrote  to  the   administration  that  requested  a                                                                    
separation  of  capital  and   operating  budget  items.  He                                                                    
wondered  if  there  were   any  amendments  regarding  that                                                                    
request. Ms.  Rehfeld replied that there  were no amendments                                                                    
to  move  specific items  from  the  capital budget  to  the                                                                    
operating budget.                                                                                                               
Co-Chair   Hoffman  stressed   that  the   legislature  uses                                                                    
oversight,  and  felt  that  they   would  not  be  able  to                                                                    
carefully   analyze   the   capital  budget.   Ms.   Rehfeld                                                                    
understood the  concern, and stated that  OMB was attempting                                                                    
to find a balance.                                                                                                              
Co-Chair  Hoffman  furthered  that  the  capital  items  and                                                                    
operating items  should be carefully  separated in  order to                                                                    
fully   analyze  the   items.  Ms.   Rehfeld  replied   that                                                                    
discussions would occur regarding  placement of the items in                                                                    
the budgets.                                                                                                                    
9:55:47 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair   Stedman  requested   a  comparison   between  the                                                                    
Operating  Budget  and   Capital  Budget.  Co-Chair  Hoffman                                                                    
stated that  the Operating Budget  was the  daily operations                                                                    
and funding  for the state  for one year. He  furthered that                                                                    
the Capital  Budget could be  extended for up to  six years,                                                                    
and allowed for flexibility  in the departments. He stressed                                                                    
the issue  of the DOL's  requests, and felt that  many cases                                                                    
were still  unresolved. He pointed  out that  past governors                                                                    
had  not requested  money in  the capital  budget for  rural                                                                    
schools.  He appreciated  that  the  governor had  requested                                                                    
rural  school funding  in the  capital  budget. Ms.  Rehfeld                                                                    
responded that she understood the concerns.                                                                                     
Senator  Thomas  wondered  if  the  governor  had  requested                                                                    
federal funding  for Medicaid. He also  requested a detailed                                                                    
description  of the  state dollars  needed  for the  Heating                                                                    
Assistance Program,  should the  federal government  cut the                                                                    
funding; and would the governor  request federal funding for                                                                    
the  Heating Assistance  Program. Ms.  Rehfeld replied  that                                                                    
the  OMB  alerts  the  delegation of  any  concerns  in  the                                                                    
budget. Senator  Thomas surmised that specific  requests for                                                                    
those items  would not occur.  Ms. Rehfeld replied  that the                                                                    
delegation were aware of concerns.                                                                                              
10:00:05 AM                                                                                                                   
Senator Olson referred to line  54, and wondered if the NPRA                                                                    
grants  would be  re-allocated somewhere  else. Ms.  Rehfeld                                                                    
replied  that the  amendment adjusts  the actual  amounts of                                                                    
the approved grants.                                                                                                            
Co-Chair Hoffman referred to  the Fiscal Summary Spreadsheet                                                                    
(copy on  file), and wondered  what the savings would  be if                                                                    
$123 million was appropriated with  a higher Federal Medical                                                                    
Assistance Percentage  (FMAP). Ms.  Rehfeld pointed  to line                                                                    
54,  and stated  that  there would  be  $266.2 million  that                                                                    
could go  into the  statutory budget  reserve, and  would be                                                                    
reduced  to $134  million if  the higher  reimbursement rate                                                                    
was not extended.                                                                                                               
Co-Chair  Stedman remarked  that  if the  FY  12 budget  was                                                                    
compared with  the FY 12  revenue, the state would  be under                                                                    
$92  million; and  if the  FMAP was  not extended  the state                                                                    
would be  under $215  million. He  stressed that  the budget                                                                    
was predicated  on $62.67  per barrel  of oil,  with 622,000                                                                    
barrels  of  oil produced  per  day.  He understood  that  a                                                                    
revenue adjustment would occur,  but stressed that there was                                                                    
no savings  component in FY  12. Co-Chair  Hoffman furthered                                                                    
that  savings were  used in  the FY  12 budget.  Ms. Rehfeld                                                                    
replied   that  the   governor   was  presenting   strategic                                                                    
investments  for consideration,  and stressed  that OMB  had                                                                    
been very clear about the budget strategies.                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hoffman  commented that the savings  accounts would                                                                    
be  diminished. Ms.  Rehfeld responded  that  the long  term                                                                    
plan included how reserves are managed.                                                                                         
The meeting was adjourned at 10:06 AM.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 47 FY2012 Governor Amended Fiscal Summary.pdf SFIN 2/21/2011 9:00:00 AM
SB 47