Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/25/1993 01:00 PM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 198: REGIONAL ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE GRANTS Number 549 MR. LABOLLE testified on behalf of the sponsor, Representative Foster, and read the sponsor statement into the record. (A copy of the sponsor statement may be found in the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee Room, Capitol Room 110, and after the adjournment of the second session of the 18th Alaska State Legislature, in the Legislative Reference Library.) He added, "This legislation (HB 198) in essence, would do two things: It would allow the Department of Commerce and Economic Development to develop guidelines that would change the match from a one to one, to what they feel is more appropriate for some of the rural ARDOR (Alaska Regional Development Organization) groups. The second portion of this would allow the fund to make grants of up to $100,000 instead of the $50,000 that currently is stipulated in statute." Number 573 CARL BERGER, DIRECTOR, LOWER KUSKOKWIM ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL, BETHEL, testified via teleconference from Kotlik in support of HB 198. He said, "At the present time we are receiving a $47,400 grant from the state...matched dollar for dollar. It's difficult for us smaller programs, such as mine, to provide the necessary match in order to draw those funds. This is the money that the state provides us to essentially operate on. We have a one person staff which is me, and it allows a little bit of travel for me to get around the region to work with the communities that are in my district." Number 623 DONNA TOLLMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COPPER VALLEY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL, GLENNALLEN, testified in favor of HB 198 saying, "Right now we are working with 38 different people with business plans to locate for them various types of loan programs and funding in order for them to start small businesses which create, ultimately, jobs in these rural areas... What happens is that we spend a great deal of our time trying to keep our doors open to be able to provide these services. We have no corporate sponsors here. It's very difficult for us to raise our matching funds." Number 652 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked, "I'm wondering what the administrative overhead (is), how much money these actual grants get to the small businesses and what's the average longevity of these enterprises?" CHRISTOPHER GATES, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, testified providing information on HB 198. "In terms of playing offense, actually creating jobs and activity so that the kids don't have to move out of the villages to find good jobs, we aren't doing that as well as we could. I was the President of the Kenai Peninsula Borough ARDOR for a number of years and I can tell you that the effort and energy spent just finding match monies to survive leaves very little actual time and energy to do any good...a little bit of their time left over to actually hustle jobs and make deals work." REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE rephrased his question about administrative overhead. TAPE 93-18, SIDE B Number 000 MR. GATES gave a description of the tasks of the ARDOR Board of Directors and added, "We paid our own travel. There's no per diem. These are volunteer Boards of Directors." He then gave examples of ARDOR successful businesses. Number 039 MS. TOLLMAN gave a description of the economic development of a theatrical production developed in her area. MR. GATES summarized, "The bill in front of you (HB 198) simply establishes an absolute small foundation of $50,000 where at least they could keep the lights on and the doors open for one person. We set up the increase of another $50,000 which might be available to these ARDORS depending upon grants and matching monies that they then receive. We could have $100,000 into these ARDORS to provide just one contact for economic development...in those local areas." Number 087 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES MOVED to PASS HB 198 out of committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections, and the MOTION CARRIED. ADJOURNMENT CHAIRMAN OLBERG adjourned the meeting at 1:44 p.m.