Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/02/1993 01:00 PM House CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 143:  MARINE FUEL TAX REVENUE SHARING                                     
  Number 192                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN OLBERG reconvened the meeting at 1:14 p.m. and                      
  brought forth SSHB 143.                                                      
  testified saying, "The reason I introduced this bill is it                   
  was brought to my attention by the City of Craig that                        
  perhaps this particular bill or change to law could serve as                 
  an incentive to accomplish something that I believe that DOT                 
  (Department of Transportation) and the administration, and                   
  maybe many of us would like to see in regards to some of our                 
  public facilities.  ...That wherever possible, the DOT                       
  wanted to try to transfer some of these remote harbor                        
  facilities to the municipalities and let them own them so                    
  they would have to maintain them and have the state get out                  
  of the business of having to own, operate and maintain some                  
  of these harbor facilities that as we all know is very                       
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE continued, "However, there's not a                     
  whole lot of incentive for communities to want to take over                  
  ownership of these facilities.  Along with that comes the                    
  liability and maintenance cost and things like that.  So we                  
  felt that this may serve as an incentive to those                            
  communities that wanted to take these over.  That this is                    
  some way of getting some money back into the maintenance and                 
  upkeep of some of these harbor facilities.  He then read                     
  into the record his sponsor statement which had been                         
  provided to the committee members."  (A copy of his sponsor                  
  statement may be found in the House Community and Regional                   
  Affairs Committee Room, Capitol #110, and after the                          
  adjournment of the second session of the 18th Alaska State                   
  Legislature, in the Legislative Reference Library.)                          
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE then referred to a list of harbors                     
  which had been distributed to committee members." (A copy of                 
  this list may be found in the House Community and Regional                   
  Affairs Committee Room, Capitol #110, and after the                          
  adjournment of the second session of the 18th Alaska State                   
  Legislature, in the Legislative Reference Library.)                          
  Number 352                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE added, "The majority of this amendment                 
  is being offered as a result of the City of Ketchikan's                      
  harbormaster calling me and expressing the City of                           
  Ketchikan's support for this measure, the harbor                             
  department's support.  However they didn't like the word                     
  warpage... so we came up with the language that would better                 
  suit the wording of it.  That's the first four parts of it.                  
  The last one, page 2, line 7, moorage facility includes a                    
  definition which the Department of Transportation asked us                   
  to include in there to clearly define what that means."                      
  Number 369                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES MOVED to ADOPT the amendments.                         
  Without objections, IT WAS SO ORDERED.                                       
  REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked if it was legal to have                  
  the legislation read, "The proceeds from the revenue from                    
  the tax on motor fuel in watercraft of all descriptions                      
  shall be deposited in a special watercraft fuel tax account                  
  in the general fund."                                                        
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said, "That's in statute right now.                    
  The only part that changes in the section is what's bold and                 
  underlined.  ..It had a grandfather clause in the                            
  constitution for that particular fund.  As we know now we                    
  can't have dedicated funds unless they're approved by the                    
  voters. ...This bill (SSHB 143)... would still be subject to                 
  a legislative appropriation every year, and as we do our                     
  budget bills every year you'll see numerous appropriations                   
  because of legislation that we've passed over the years, but                 
  we can't bind one legislature to do something else that                      
  we've done, so each year the legislature would still have to                 
  appropriate those funds to the appropriate communities as                    
  part of the total budget package."                                           
  REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked if Craig liked SSHB 143.                         
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE deferred to the City Manager of Craig,                 
  Tom Briggs, and pointed out that Craig had several harbors,                  
  some of which were currently owned by the city.                              
  Number 420                                                                   
  TOM BRIGGS, CITY MANAGER OF CRAIG, via teleconference,                       
  testified and said, "The City of Craig enthusiastically                      
  endorses the passage of HB 143...  The state has adopted a                   
  policy that has been stated in at least two Department of                    
  Transportation policy documents, of shifting the entire cost                 
  burden of harbors to the municipalities where the harbors                    
  are located.  This process has begun... municipalities which                 
  must bear the entire cost burden for maintenance and repair                  
  of public docks and harbors transferred to the municipality                  
  by the state should receive a proportional share of the                      
  proceeds of the watercraft fuel tax collected within the                     
  municipality under AS 43.40..."                                              
  MR. BRIGGS also pointed out that a similar scheme is already                 
  found with the aviation sales tax.                                           
  Number 475                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE asked if the City of Craig was happy                   
  with the transfer of the harbor facility.                                    
  MR. BRIGGS said, "Yes, if we receive some assistance to                      
  maintain it.  ...We don't have a lot of taxable property to                  
  support the harbors.  ...Since this tax was implemented for                  
  this purpose, we would be much happier if it had a                           
  proportional portion of the tax that is generated by our                     
  Number 513                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if there would still be local                     
  monies towards funding of maintenance.                                       
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said, "My understanding is that this                   
  would be just to help offset those costs.  ...The actual                     
  amount of money we're talking about is minimal..."                           
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked for a specific percentage of                      
  reimbursement on harbors from the water tax.                                 
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE speculated, "Maybe 25 percent."                        
  REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAMS cautioned, "I'd sure hate for us to                  
  do something that we think is good for the community and end                 
  up not benefitting.."  He expressed concern that harbors                     
  might not be repaired.                                                       
  Number 567                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said, "That's something that we're                     
  constantly concerned with because I think our harbor                         
  facilities throughout the whole state have been                              
  substantially neglected as far as state contributions to                     
  their maintenance.  ...I look at this as only being able to                  
  help some of the communities.  As far as the state putting                   
  any more money into the harbor facilities in those                           
  communities to upgrade them, it isn't going to change                        
  because that's going to be our ability to have those kinds                   
  of projects and DOT's ability to have them included in their                 
  six year plan will always remain whether we dedicate some of                 
  the fuel taxes back or not.  Those of us that have harbor                    
  facilities in our communities are always faced with that.."                  
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked about the costs and revenues of                  
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE replied, "I think basically these                      
  funds whatever they may be, I don't think they're very much,                 
  but I think they would help to offset the costs... of                        
  general maintenance of the facility...  Any kind of major                    
  refurbishment, expansion, or major maintenance of course all                 
  these communities will have to look to the legislature for                   
  that kind of support in the future and look directly to DOT                  
  for that kind of help."                                                      
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES said, "As I read this bill (SSHB 143),                 
  there appears to be no actual requirement that the funds be                  
  spent for any particular purpose.  Would you be opposed to                   
  an amendment that added purpose to it?"                                      
  Number 649                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said he wouldn't, but added that this                  
  would probably be applied in regulation rather than statute.                 
  He said, "I think it's a good practice not to micromanage in                 
  statute some of these things but making sure that they are                   
  utilized for that purpose is a very good point."                             
  REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES asked who actually paid the motor fuel                 
  taxes, a few larger communities or many small ones.                          
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said, "It's unfortunate that not every                 
  single community has a fuel facility, most do..." and, "I'm                  
  not as convinced as DOT that this is going to cause any                      
  fallout or cause people in hock to want to assume ownership,                 
  because I think those that just economically can't do are                    
  not going to do it anyway and this might help some of the                    
  borderline communities like Craig and Ketchikan and some                     
  other ones..."                                                               
  Number 683                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN OLBERG asked for clarification on the routing of                    
  the marine fuel tax dollars.                                                 
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE replied, "Because we can't create a                    
  dedicated fund by law, any harbor improvements or any money                  
  that's given to any one particular community is through the                  
  general fund process in the DOT budget."                                     
  TAPE 93-8, SIDE B                                                            
  Number 000                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN OLBERG said, "This bill (SSHB 143) does not speak                   
  to capital improvements.  It does not speak to where the                     
  fuel was purchased.  It simply says that through this bill a                 
  percentage can be returned to the community that owns its                    
  own harbor facility."                                                        
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE gave the example of Craig.  "...It's                   
  determined that Craig owns 25 percent of the total harbor                    
  facility.  Then the community of Craig would be eligible for                 
  25 percent of that $50,000 that was collected in Craig only.                 
  The linear footage is only the means by which you determine                  
  the percentage of how much harbor is municipally owned."                     
  Number 056                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if municipalities could double                    
  dip funds.                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said, "...I think it's highly                          
  unlikely...if the money is collected in the community of                     
  Craig from the people that are using those harbors, some of                  
  it should go back to maintain those harbors; and the state                   
  hasn't had the ability to do that very well in the past, and                 
  the municipalities are having to do it on their own anyway."                 
  REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if Representative Mackie knew of                  
  other communities that were interested in SSHB 143.                          
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said no and, "This is just a new idea                  
  that Commissioner Turpin had and brought to my                               
  attention...they decided to do this one harbor on a test run                 
  type thing to see if they [can] really make it work, to see                  
  if it will be beneficial.  I've let the communities in my                    
  district know that this is an option that they might want to                 
  consider.  It's not something that I'm either for or                         
  against.  I think it's really a local issue."                                
  Number 137                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN OLBERG requested the discussion on SSHB 143 be                      
  continued next Tuesday, March 9, 1993, due to a time                         
  conflict of several members.                                                 
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said he wanted to find specific                        
  numbers for the questions asked on revenues.                                 
  Number 170                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN OLBERG adjourned the meeting at 1:49 p.m.                           

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