Legislature(2003 - 2004)
2003-03-05 House JournalFull Journal pdf
2003-03-05 House Journal Page 0427 HB 158 HOUSE BILL NO. 158 by the House Rules Committee by request of the Governor, entitled: "An Act eliminating the longevity bonus program and making related conforming changes; and providing for an effective date." 2003-03-05 House Journal Page 0428 was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs and Finance Committees. The following fiscal note(s) apply: 1. Fiscal, Dept. of Administration The Governor's transmittal letter dated March 5, 2003, follows: "Dear Speaker Kott: Under the authority of art. III, sec 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am transmitting a bill that would eliminate the Alaska Longevity Bonus Program. In 1972 Alaska initiated a program to reward our long-term residents (seniors) for their contributions and provide them with an incentive to remain in Alaska for their retirement years. It was originally intended to help those Alaskans who had been residents for 25 years and as stated in its original passage, was intended for those seniors who had "molded Alaska as we know it through skillful application of their talents." Since that time, the Courts ruled that the 25 year residency requirement was unconstitutional. The new program instituted was expanded to all seniors residing in the state for one year. By 1993, the cost to the state was up to $65 million a year. The legislature, recognizing that the cost would continue to escalate with the rapid growth of Alaska's senior population, implemented a phase out of the program. The judiciary eliminated the longevity program for Alaska's pioneers. The bill I transmit today ends its successor, eliminating a program that has outlived its original purpose and no longer offers special consideration to those pioneers so deserving of our thanks. Alaska will continue to provide assistance and "safety net" programs for senior citizens. Some are directed toward all seniors such as an exemption from Hunting and fishing fees, the senior citizen property tax exemption and Pioneers' Homes. Many are targeted at seniors with 2003-03-05 House Journal Page 0429 limited means, including, adult public assistance, Medicaid assistance, personal care attendant services, nursing home services, home and community based waiver services, senior housing assistance, nutrition programs, and senior training and employment programs. I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure. Sincerely, /s/ Frank H. Murkowski Governor"