Legislature(2021 - 2022)SENATE FINANCE 532

03/18/2021 09:00 AM FINANCE

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Audio Topic
09:02:29 AM Start
09:03:56 AM SB49 || SB50 || SB51
09:03:56 AM Public Testimony: Southeast, Prince William Sound, and Kodiak
10:44:44 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Please Note:
All Public Testimony Conducted via Telephone
Juneau (907) 586-9085
Anchorage (907) 563-9085
Elsewhere (844) 586-9085
Written Testimony Will Be Accepted at:
finance.committee@akleg.gov
For Southeast, Prince William Sound & Kodiak:
Call In/Sign Up by 10:30 a.m.
+= SB 49 APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
+= SB 51 APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
+= SB 50 APPROP: CAP; REAPPROP; SUPP; AMEND TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      March 18, 2021                                                                                            
                         9:02 a.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:02:29 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman   called  the  Senate   Finance  Committee                                                                    
meeting to order at 9:02 a.m.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Click Bishop, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Bert Stedman, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Natasha von Imhof                                                                                                       
Senator Bill Wielechowski (via teleconference)                                                                                  
Senator David Wilson (via teleconference)                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Rebecca  Himschoot,  Self,  Sitka;  Mike  Coons,  President,                                                                    
Association of  Mature American  Citizens -  Alaska Chapter,                                                                    
Palmer;  Pat Branson,  Mayor of  Kodiak, Kodiak;  Tom Brice,                                                                    
University of  Alaska Fairbanks Alumni Association  Board of                                                                    
Directors,  Juneau;  Dianne  MacRae,  Self,  Kasilof;  Josie                                                                    
Bahnke, City of Kodiak,  Kodiak; Darlene Turner, Kodiak Teen                                                                    
Court,  Kodiak;  Richmond  Tolles, Self,  Haines;  Vikki  Jo                                                                    
Kennedy, Self,  Juneau; Mark  Detter, City  Manager, Valdez;                                                                    
Nikki  Love, Community  Engagement Coordinator,  Association                                                                    
for the Education  of Young Children SE  AK, Juneau; Shannon                                                                    
Adamson,   Masters,  Mates,   and   Pilots  Union,   Juneau;                                                                    
Elizabeth   Leban,  Juneau   Youth  Court,   Juneau;  Andrew                                                                    
Cremata, Mayor of Skagway,  Skagway; Nancy DeCherney, Juneau                                                                    
Arts  and  Humanities  Council, Juneau;  Amy  Lujan,  Alaska                                                                    
Association  of  School  Business Officials,  Juneau;  Nancy                                                                    
Bird, Self, Cordova; Paul Rioux,  Sitka School Board, Sitka;                                                                    
Mike  Brown,  Matsu  Borough, Palmer;  John  Erickson,  City                                                                    
Manager, Yakutat;  Larry Lewis,  Self, Kasilof;  John Sonin,                                                                    
Self,  Juneau-Douglas;  Jim  Tebow,  Self,  Kodiak;  Michele                                                                    
Elfers,  Alaska Professional  Design  Council, Juneau;  Beth                                                                    
Weldon, Mayor  of Juneau,  Juneau; Katie  Bender, President,                                                                    
UAA  Alumni  Association,  Anchorage;  Don  Sorenson,  Self,                                                                    
Wasilla;  Mary Loewen,  Member  of  UAF Alumni  Association,                                                                    
Kodiak;  Erin Reinders,  City Manager,  Unalaska; Joy  Lyon,                                                                    
Executive Director,  Association for the Education  of Young                                                                    
Children, Juneau.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SUMMARY                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SB 49     APPROP: OPERATING BUDGET/LOANS/FUNDS                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
          SB 49 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SB 50     APPROP: CAP; REAPPROP; SUPP; AMEND                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
          SB 50 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SB 51     APPROP: MENTAL HEALTH BUDGET                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          SB 51 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                     
          consideration.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 49                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain   programs;    capitalizing   funds;   amending                                                                    
     appropriations;    making   reappropriations;    making                                                                    
     supplemental   appropriations;  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. 50                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act   making  appropriations,   including  capital                                                                    
     appropriations,     reappropriations,     and     other                                                                    
     appropriations;  making   supplemental  appropriations;                                                                    
     making   appropriations   to  capitalize   funds;   and                                                                    
     providing for an effective date."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 51                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     capital    expenses   of    the   state's    integrated                                                                    
     comprehensive    mental    health    program;    making                                                                    
     supplemental  appropriations;  and   providing  for  an                                                                    
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:03:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
^PUBLIC  TESTIMONY:  SOUTHEAST,  PRINCE WILLIAM  SOUND,  AND                                                                  
KODIAK                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:03:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA   HIMSCHOOT,  SELF,   SITKA  (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in support  of funding  for Pre-K  education. She                                                                    
had been a  teacher and a member of the  Sitka Assembly. She                                                                    
asserted  that investment  in Pre-K  education had  lifetime                                                                    
benefits to children  and society and saved  public funds in                                                                    
the long  term. She thought COVID-19  had created innovation                                                                    
in  schools. She  noted  the  Sitka had  been  able to  keep                                                                    
schools  open  with  small   class  sizes.  She  discouraged                                                                    
cutting  education funding.  She  noted that  Sitka did  not                                                                    
have  equitable federal  funds. She  relayed that  Sitka did                                                                    
not  have  Title  1  needs that  other  districts  had.  She                                                                    
suggested that the legislature allowed  for districts to use                                                                    
the  2019 student  count because  of enrollment  losses over                                                                    
the  previous year  during the  pandemic. She  asserted that                                                                    
the October 2020 student count  would not accurately reflect                                                                    
the number  of students that would  be there in the  fall of                                                                    
2021. She mentioned the importance of school bond debt.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman noted  that the  legislature  had not  yet                                                                    
discussed how  it would  deal with  the student  count issue                                                                    
due to COVID-19.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:08:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKE  COONS,  PRESIDENT,   ASSOCIATION  OF  MATURE  AMERICAN                                                                    
CITIZENS  -  ALASKA  CHAPTER, PALMER  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
spoke in support  of reduced spending. He  thought the state                                                                    
had a revenue problem. He  was concerned about socialism. He                                                                    
suggested that socialists ran the  presidency and the United                                                                    
States Congress.  He had concerns about  education outcomes.                                                                    
He did  not support additional funding  for Pre-K education.                                                                    
He  mentioned  an  audit  as  proposed  by  Senator  Shelley                                                                    
Hughes.  He  supported  SJR  1 and  a  full  Permanent  Fund                                                                    
Dividend (PFD).                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:09:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAT BRANSON,  MAYOR OF KODIAK, KODIAK  (via teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in  support  of  funding   for  the  Kodiak  Fire                                                                    
Station. The building  was constructed in the  1940s and was                                                                    
in the tsunami inundation zone.  She discussed the origin of                                                                    
the  buildings and  the lack  of  structural integrity.  She                                                                    
mentioned earthquakes  in previous  years. The  building was                                                                    
not  Americans With  Disabilities  Act, Occupational  Safety                                                                    
and Health  Administration, or Federal  Emergency Management                                                                    
Agency compliant. The building  had insufficient offices and                                                                    
resources   for  emergency   response.  She   asserted  that                                                                    
renovation was not an option.  The city expected to purchase                                                                    
a  site by  the  end  of June  2021  and  had invested  $1.3                                                                    
million  in  the  project. The  city  was  requesting  $18.6                                                                    
million in funding  from the state. She  thought the project                                                                    
might be suitable for general  obligation bonds if the state                                                                    
pursued bonds as a capital budget financing mechanism.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stedman stated that the  committee was aware of the                                                                    
project.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:12:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TOM   BRICE,   UNIVERSITY   OF   ALASKA   FAIRBANKS   ALUMNI                                                                    
ASSOCIATION    BOARD     OF    DIRECTORS,     JUNEAU    (via                                                                    
teleconference),  testified in  support of  funding for  the                                                                    
University.  He  noted  that  he  understood  the  difficult                                                                    
issues  that  needed  to  be  addressed  in  the  state.  He                                                                    
asserted that the University was  a part of the solution. He                                                                    
wanted the University budget to  be stabilized. He mentioned                                                                    
SJR 8 [Urging the Alaska  delegation in Congress, the United                                                                    
States  Department  of the  Interior,  and  the Governor  to                                                                    
facilitate  a  land grant  endowment  to  the University  of                                                                    
Alaska  as  well  as  other   measures].  He  mentioned  the                                                                    
Technical  Vocational Education  Program (TVEP).  He thought                                                                    
addressing deferred maintenance and  debt relief helped with                                                                    
operating  costs.  He thanked  the  committee  for its  hard                                                                    
work.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:13:22 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DIANNE MACRAE, SELF, KASILOF  (via teleconference), spoke in                                                                    
support of a  government audit. She shared  that her husband                                                                    
experienced disabilities.  She thought funding had  been set                                                                    
aside  for   her  husband's   care  and   discussed  funding                                                                    
challenges.  She  mentioned  an audit  and  Senator  Shelley                                                                    
Hughes.  She  discussed  use  of land  grants  and  lack  of                                                                    
federal  patents. She  thought  many agencies  had money  in                                                                    
different accounts that was not being fully used.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:16:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOSIE BAHNKE,  DEPUTY CITY MANAGER,  CITY OF  KODIAK, KODIAK                                                                    
(via  teleconference), supported  funding  for regional  and                                                                    
community  jails, pre-trial  services, funding  to prosecute                                                                    
state  misdemeanors and  the  Alaska  Marine Highway  System                                                                    
(AMHS).  She   referenced  the  city's  contract   with  the                                                                    
Department of Corrections (DOC).  She asked for full funding                                                                    
of the DOC budget. The  city opposed the governor's proposal                                                                    
to charge  home rule  municipalities for the  prosecution of                                                                    
state misdemeanor crimes by the  Department of Law. The city                                                                    
supported full  funding for AMHS.  She discussed  how Kodiak                                                                    
utilized the ferry system to  support supply of construction                                                                    
projects and transfer of U.S. Coast Guard personnel.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:18:34 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DARLENE  TURNER,  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,  KODIAK  TEEN  COURT,                                                                    
KODIAK  (via teleconference),  spoke in  support of  funding                                                                    
for  the Kodiak  Youth Court  and the  Division of  Juvenile                                                                    
Justice (DJJ). She  asserted that the youth  court saved the                                                                    
DJJ a great  deal of money. She shared a  story of a student                                                                    
experiencing  challenges  and  utilizing  the  Kodiak  Youth                                                                    
Court  process.  She asserted  that  teen  and youth  courts                                                                    
saved  the division  money and  changed the  lives of  young                                                                    
people.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:22:53 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICHMOND   TOLLES,   SELF,  HAINES   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified  against  continued  cuts to  state  services.  He                                                                    
supported a state  income tax. He suggested  a seasonal tax.                                                                    
He opposed  budget cuts to  the AMHS and the  University. He                                                                    
discussed  challenges with  accessing  medical care  without                                                                    
reliable ferry service. He did  not support using the PFD as                                                                    
a political weapon.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:24:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VIKKI JO  KENNEDY, SELF, JUNEAU (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support  of funding essential services.  She thought some                                                                    
reappropriation  of  funds  was needed.  She  mentioned  $40                                                                    
million appropriated  for a  13-mile road  in Kake  that was                                                                    
not wanted  by the  residents. She  thought there  should be                                                                    
some auditing  of funds. She thought  reappropriations could                                                                    
be  done.  She  supported  an   income  tax.  She  had  been                                                                    
contributing  funds to  the  state.  She emphasized  finding                                                                    
ways  to make  the budget  work. She  wanted to  protect the                                                                    
Permanent  Fund  and  protect essential  services  like  the                                                                    
AMHS.  She discussed  the poor  condition of  the road  from                                                                    
Homer to Kenai.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:27:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK  DETTER,  CITY  MANAGER, VALDEZ  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
urged the committee  to fund the Division  of Motor Vehicles                                                                    
(DMV) office  in Valdez. He  discussed the  aging population                                                                    
that needed in-person  DMV services in Valdez.  He urged the                                                                    
committee to  fund school  debt reimbursement.  He supported                                                                    
funding the AMHS  at 2020 funding levels.  He expressed that                                                                    
the City of Valdez opposed  any plan to force municipalities                                                                    
to pay for the prosecution of misdemeanors.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:29:20 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NIKKI  LOVE, COMMUNITY  ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR,  ASSOCIATION                                                                    
FOR  THE EDUCATION  OF  YOUNG CHILDREN  SE  AK, JUNEAU  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  supported  funding   for  early  childhood                                                                    
education. She  supported Head  Start, Parents  as Teachers,                                                                    
Best  Beginnings,   REACH  Infant  Learning   Programs,  and                                                                    
supports  to help  children's earliest  years. She  had seen                                                                    
success  over time  and emphasized  that the  investments in                                                                    
early  childhood were  working. She  asked the  committee to                                                                    
remember  families and  young children  when working  on the                                                                    
budget.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:30:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SHANNON ADAMSON,  MASTERS, MATES,  AND PILOTS  UNION, JUNEAU                                                                    
(via teleconference),  testified in  support of  funding for                                                                    
the  AMHS.  She  was  also speaking  on  behalf  the  Marine                                                                    
Engineers  Beneficial Association.  She  was  on the  Marine                                                                    
Transportation    Advisory   Board    and   the    Southeast                                                                    
Conference's AMHS Reform Steering  Committee. She had sailed                                                                    
as a  licensed deck  officer for the  AMHS for  seven years.                                                                    
She discussed  the importance  of the  AMHS. She  noted that                                                                    
the vast  majority of AMHS  employees were  Alaska residents                                                                    
that were invested  in the ferry system.  She suggested that                                                                    
the legislature engage with crew  members. She asserted that                                                                    
management disregarded  the opinions  and feedback  given by                                                                    
captains,  chief  engineers,  and  other  department  heads,                                                                    
specifically  with regard  to  maintenance  of vessels.  She                                                                    
proposed  that  significant  savings could  be  achieved  by                                                                    
putting  people with  shipping expertise  in  charge of  the                                                                    
ferry  system.  She  encouraged the  committee  to  increase                                                                    
funding for  AMHS. As  a private  citizen, she  believed the                                                                    
PFD could  be put to  better use supporting  public services                                                                    
rather than as a dividend.  She supported a tax structure to                                                                    
pay for state service. She  encouraged the committee to seek                                                                    
revenue solutions to stabilize the budget.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:33:12 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELIZABETH   LEBAN,   JUNEAU   YOUTH   COURT,   JUNEAU   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  supported funding  for  state youth  court                                                                    
programs.  She encouraged  the  committee  to reinstate  the                                                                    
cuts proposed by the governor.  She had been director of the                                                                    
Juneau  Youth Court  for  15 years.  She  had witnessed  the                                                                    
success  of   the  youth   court  programs.   She  discussed                                                                    
successful  outcomes from  youth  court programs,  including                                                                    
reduced  recidivism. The  programs had  part time  staff and                                                                    
utilized  a  small amount  of  funds  from the  Division  of                                                                    
Juvenile Justice. She thought  the proposed cuts would limit                                                                    
the  ability  to  support  families  and  teens  in  Alaskan                                                                    
communities.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:34:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANDREW   CREMATA,    MAYOR   OF   SKAGWAY,    SKAGWAY   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke  in   support  of  local  government                                                                    
funding.  He  mentioned  that  Senator  Lisa  Murkowski  had                                                                    
mentioned that  no community had  been more affected  by the                                                                    
pandemic  as much  as Skagway  and the  Denali Borough.   He                                                                    
discussed the  loss of municipal  funding. He  discussed use                                                                    
of CARES Act  funding and local government  reserves to help                                                                    
the economy in Skagway. He  hoped for a fruitful cruise ship                                                                    
season  the upcoming  summer. He  advocated for  funding for                                                                    
the AMHS.  He discussed the  importance of the  ferry system                                                                    
in  Skagway. He  emphasized the  need for  local control  of                                                                    
finances. He  discussed focusing on independent  tourism and                                                                    
the need for a robust ferry system.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:37:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NANCY  DECHERNEY,   EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,  JUNEAU   ARTS  AND                                                                    
HUMANITIES COUNCIL, JUNEAU  (via teleconference), echoed the                                                                    
comments of  the previous speaker regarding  support for the                                                                    
AMHS.  She commended  the  legislature  for supporting  non-                                                                    
profits. She  commented that the  arts council had  a budget                                                                    
of   over  $900,000.   The   council  provided   educational                                                                    
services, facilities  services, and did other  things in the                                                                    
community.  She  encouraged  support of  non-profits,  which                                                                    
were nimble  and could effectively address  social issues in                                                                    
the community. She thanked the members for their work.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:38:46 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AMY  LUJAN,  LEGISLATIVE   LIAISON,  ALASKA  ASSOCIATION  OF                                                                    
SCHOOL  BUSINESS  OFFICIALS,  JUNEAU  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
supported increased funding for  education. She thought past                                                                    
legislatures had been kicking the  can down the road and had                                                                    
not addressed  the long-term financial  needs of  the state.                                                                    
She  cautioned  there would  be  a  fiscal cliff  after  the                                                                    
pandemic funds  ran out.  She thought  it was  misleading to                                                                    
say that the current level  of Base Student Allocation (BSA)                                                                    
was  fully funded.  She cited  that  the BSA  had been  flat                                                                    
since  2017. She  mentioned inflation  and increased  costs,                                                                    
while  the  legislature  asked for  increased  results  with                                                                    
reduced  funding. She  encouraged the  members to  visit the                                                                    
association's website to see  inflation adjusted BSA charts.                                                                    
She noted  that less than  10 percent of the  capital budget                                                                    
maintenance projects requested by  school districts had been                                                                    
funded  in recent  years. She  asserted that  infrastructure                                                                    
was crumbling. She stressed the  need for a long-term fiscal                                                                    
plan. She supported a broad-based tax.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:41:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NANCY  BIRD, SELF,  CORDOVA (via  teleconference), spoke  in                                                                    
opposition  to   cuts  to  services,  specifically   to  the                                                                    
University and  the AMHS. She supported  additional revenues                                                                    
through an  income tax and  changes to  the oil and  gas tax                                                                    
structure.  She thought  the deficit  could be  addressed by                                                                    
multiple new  revenue sources. She supported  the percent of                                                                    
market value (POMV) draw from  the Earnings Reserve Account.                                                                    
She did not  support the governor's proposed  PFD. She urged                                                                    
the committee to maintain the AMHS funding so that year-                                                                        
round service could continue.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:43:21 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAUL RIOUX, SITKA SCHOOL  BOARD, SITKA (via teleconference),                                                                    
testified in  support of fully funding  public education. He                                                                    
appreciated  the  funding  added   outside  the  formula  in                                                                    
previous years.  He supported full  funding for  school bond                                                                    
debt  reimbursement.  He  supported funding  for  the  AMHS,                                                                    
which he thought was a  prime economic driver that supported                                                                    
industries in Southeast.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:44:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKE   BROWN,   MANAGER,    MATSU   BOROUGH,   PALMER   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke  in  support  of  full  funding  for                                                                    
school  bond  debt  reimbursement   for  past  projects.  He                                                                    
advocated  for support  for  school  construction and  major                                                                    
maintenance  grant   funding  in  the  capital   budget.  He                                                                    
supported the  Community Assistance  Program. He  noted that                                                                    
the borough  had a  ballot measure  approved by  voters that                                                                    
required a 50 percent match for road infrastructure.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:45:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN ERICKSON,  CITY MANAGER, YAKUTAT  (via teleconference),                                                                    
supported funding  for the Power Cost  Equalization Program.                                                                    
He noted  that there  was PFAS pollution  at the  airport in                                                                    
Yakutat,  which he  had tried  to address  with the  Village                                                                    
Safewater  Program. He  supported funding  for the  AMHS. He                                                                    
relayed  the  Physical  Recovery  Fund. The  city  had  only                                                                    
received $112,000 because of its small population.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:47:13 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman  thought  there were  several  communities                                                                    
that faced the same issue  as Yakutat due to the population.                                                                    
He  stated that  the  legislature would  be  looking at  the                                                                    
matter.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:47:26 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LARRY LEWIS,  SELF, KASILOF (via  teleconference), testified                                                                    
in  support of  frugal government.  He was  a retired  state                                                                    
employee and  current business owner.  He thought  there was                                                                    
an  "either/or" option  to raise  revenue via  taxes or  cut                                                                    
spending.  He  thought  there should  be  more  options.  He                                                                    
proposed that the state look  at restructuring how money was                                                                    
spent in  the state.  He discussed zero-based  budgeting and                                                                    
the year-end  expenditure of funds.  He wanted the  state to                                                                    
encourage  frugality. He  suggested that  there should  be a                                                                    
method  for  state employees  to  communicate  ideas to  the                                                                    
legislature regarding agency spending.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:51:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  SONIN,  SELF,   JUNEAU-DOUGLAS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
spoke  in  support of  funding  for  essential services  for                                                                    
children such  as education and  the AMHS. He  reminded that                                                                    
even  in  the current  constrained  fiscal  climate, it  was                                                                    
important  to  remember   that  essential  services  allowed                                                                    
society to  remain civilized. He stressed  the importance of                                                                    
children  and  the future.  He  requested  full funding  for                                                                    
essential services.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:53:45 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JIM TEBOW,  SELF, KODIAK (via teleconference),  testified in                                                                    
support of  budget reductions as  proposed by  the governor.                                                                    
He  had  lived  in  the   state  since  1972.  He  supported                                                                    
conservative candidates.  He thought  the state  should live                                                                    
within  its   means.  He  supported  Senator   Mike  Shower,                                                                    
Representative  George   Rauscher,  and  the   governor  for                                                                    
working to reduce spending. He  thought the state should not                                                                    
over-spend.  He  took  issue  with  the  school  system  and                                                                    
thought there  should be less principals  and more teachers.                                                                    
He thought  there were too many  administrative positions in                                                                    
education.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:55:57 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHELE ELFERS,  ALASKA PROFESSIONAL DESIGN  COUNCIL, JUNEAU                                                                    
(via   teleconference),  supported   the   Land  and   Water                                                                    
Conservation   Fund  within   the   Department  of   Natural                                                                    
Resources.   There  was   approximately   $2.1  million   of                                                                    
Unrestricted  General Funds  (with $3.5  million of  federal                                                                    
matching  funds from  the Great  American Outdoors  Act. Her                                                                    
organization  included ten  other organizations.  She was  a                                                                    
landscape  architect.  The  federal  funding  had  not  been                                                                    
accepted by the state and  could provide jobs through design                                                                    
and construction of outdoor spaces.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:57:33 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:15:58 AM                                                                                                                   
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BETH WELDON,  MAYOR OF JUNEAU, JUNEAU  (via teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in support  of a  broad-based  tax as  part of  a                                                                    
sustainable budget.  The city  supported a  broad-based tax,                                                                    
particularly an  income tax. She noted  that Juneau expected                                                                    
to receive  only about  $12 million  from the  Recovery Act.                                                                    
The  city was  hoping  for independent  travelers. The  city                                                                    
supported funding for the AMHS.  She mentioned federal funds                                                                    
for rural transit,  which she felt could be  used to support                                                                    
the  ferry system.  She supported  funding  for school  bond                                                                    
debt reimbursement.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
10:19:03 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
KATIE  BENDER, PRESIDENT,  UAA ALUMNI  ASSOCIATION BOARD  OF                                                                    
DIRECTORS, ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference), spoke in support                                                                    
of funding for  the University of Alaska.  She asserted that                                                                    
a strong university would bring  stability to the state. She                                                                    
spoke to  addressing deferred  maintenance and  debt relief.                                                                    
She mentioned  SJR 8 and the  Technical Vocational Education                                                                    
Program (TVEP).                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:20:06 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DON SORENSON, SELF,  WASILLA (via teleconference), testified                                                                    
against funding  increases in education. He  asked why there                                                                    
was  increased   funding  for   education  when   there  was                                                                    
decreasing  results.   He  supported   decreasing  education                                                                    
funding to reflect decreasing results.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:21:28 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARY LOEWEN,  MEMBER OF UAF ALUMNI  ASSOCIATION, KODIAK (via                                                                    
teleconference), supported  funding for the  University, the                                                                    
AMHS, and supported  a broad-based tax. She and  many of her                                                                    
family  members  were  graduates   of  the  UA  system.  She                                                                    
asserted that a  strong University made for  a strong state.                                                                    
She advocated for  funding for AMHS, which  was important to                                                                    
Kodiak and other remote areas on the coast.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:22:50 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:37:32 AM                                                                                                                   
RECONVENED                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ERIN REINDERS, CITY  MANAGER, UNALASKA (via teleconference),                                                                    
spoke in support of  recapitalizing the Community Assistance                                                                    
Fund  to  the  full  amount. The  city  supported  retaining                                                                    
shared taxes  in place for distribution  to communities. The                                                                    
city  supported   PCE  payments  and  all   efforts  towards                                                                    
reliable  internet  broadband  assistance.  She  cited  that                                                                    
Unalaska's  internet   connection  speed   impeded  business                                                                    
growth,  medical services,  postsecondary education  and the                                                                    
overall  quality of  life. The  city  supported funding  for                                                                    
AMHS at  the previous year's  level. She expressed  that the                                                                    
AMHS  provided a  cost-effective way  for community  members                                                                    
and  business to  travel and  ship materials.  She discussed                                                                    
the important uses  of the AMHS, including  transport of the                                                                    
mobile mammogram. The city supported  funding for the harbor                                                                    
facility  matching grants.  She  mentioned  the boat  harbor                                                                    
inherited from  the state. She  asserted that  public safety                                                                    
and   emergency  preparedness   were  vital   and  supported                                                                    
renegotiated  agreements  and  funding. The  city  supported                                                                    
reinstatement of the local emergency planning committee.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:41:14 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JOY LYON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,  ASSOCIATION FOR THE EDUCATION                                                                    
OF  YOUNG CHILDREN,  JUNEAU (via  teleconference), supported                                                                    
stable  funding for  early  learning  programs: Head  Start,                                                                    
infant Learning,  Parents as Teachers, Best  Beginnings, and                                                                    
Imagination Library. She thanked  the committee for its hard                                                                    
work  during  challenging  times.   She  asserted  that  the                                                                    
programs  she referenced  were helping  parents cope  during                                                                    
the difficult  times being  experienced. She  encouraged the                                                                    
committee  to  take a  strong  role  in  the large  wave  of                                                                    
federal relief funding  coming to the state.  She thought it                                                                    
was expected that  Alaska would receive over  $90 million to                                                                    
stabilize childcare.  She questioned  whether the  state was                                                                    
ready to have the staffing in  place to put the funds to the                                                                    
best use.  She hoped that  the legislature would  be devoted                                                                    
to improving the wages for  childcare providers. She thought                                                                    
better  coordination would  help to  utilize the  funds more                                                                    
effectively.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stedman discussed  the  agenda  for the  afternoon                                                                    
meeting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SB  49  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in   committee  for  further                                                                    
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SB 50 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SB 51 was HEARD and HELD in committee for further                                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
10:44:44 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 10:44 a.m.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 49.51.50 Public Testimony Packet 2.pdf SFIN 3/18/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 49
SB 49.51.50 Public Testimony Packet 3.pdf SFIN 3/18/2021 9:00:00 AM
SB 49