Legislature(2001 - 2002)

2001-02-23 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2001-02-23                     House Journal                      Page 0417
HB 146                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 146 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                       
the Governor, entitled:                                                                             

2001-02-23                     House Journal                      Page 0418
     "An Act relating to the issuance of certificates of participation to                           
     finance deferred maintenance projects, and a construction project,                             
     for certain public harbor facilities; giving notice of and approving                           
     the entry into, and the issuance of certificates of participation in,                          
     lease-financing agreements for those public harbor facility                                    
     projects; repealing a provision relating to the financing of                                   
     construction and renovation of facilities for certain ports and                                
     harbors; and providing for an effective date."                                                 
was read the first time and referred to the Community & Regional                                    
Affairs, State Affairs, and Finance Committees.                                                     
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                 
1.  Fiscal, Dept. of Revenue                                                                        
The Governor's transmittal letter dated February 22, 2001, appears                                  
"Dear Speaker Porter:                                                                               
The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has a long-                                  
term goal of bringing state-owned harbor facilities up to suitable                                  
standard and divesting ownership to the municipalities that operate                                 
them.  Once deferred maintenance needs are addressed, the                                           
municipalities can support operation and maintenance of these                                       
valuable facilities through moorage and other fees.  In recent years                                
when transferring harbor ownership to the municipalities, the state has                             
provided grant money as well to address deferred maintenance needs.                                 
This bill I transmit today would continue the policy, but leverages                                 
state general funds through issuance of certificates of participation.                              
From the municipalities' perspective, this is essentially the same as a                             
grant program.                                                                                      
Certificates of participation (COPs) are an accepted form of financing                              
that the state has used for many capital projects with high credit                                  
ratings -- just one notch below the state's general obligation rating.                              
Pooling the group of harbor transfers in this bill into one bond sale                               
also adds efficiency.                                                                               

2001-02-23                     House Journal                      Page 0419
The bill identifies the marine motor fuel tax as the likely source of                               
appropriations to retire the certificates.  The bill also authorizes                                
payments for the harbor facilities projects to be made from any other                               
valid revenue source, subject to appropriation.                                                     
The bill repeals AS 29.60.700 passed by the Legislature last year,                                  
which required municipalities to pass general obligation bonds for                                  
harbor upgrades and transfers with the state reimbursing the cost of                                
bond payments after a two-year delay.  All of the affected                                          
municipalities found that plan to be burdensome and ultimately                                      
unworkable and city councils or local assemblies in seven of nine                                   
municipalities passed resolutions opposing the bonding provisions.                                  
The financing method in this bill is acceptable to the municipalities                               
and will, therefore, achieve the state's goal of upgrading and                                      
transferring ownership of locally operated harbor facilities.                                       
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                            
                                Tony Knowles