Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/21/1995 01:05 PM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HCRA - 03/21/95 HB 185 - MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS CO-CHAIR IVAN invited Tom Wright to discuss HB 185 and entertained a motion to adopt the committee substitute for HB 185. Number 500 TOM WRIGHT, legislative aide to Representative Ivan, stated that the committee substitute incorporates two changes that were adopted at the last committee hearing. He referred to page 1, line 14, where the words 'after 1) up to $150,000', meaning that as far as the local funding for schools, that the local school districts would not be penalized and would keep the status quo. The second change was on page 3, line 1, concerning the amendment that was adopted. The wording "approved by the voters" was deleted, so a municipality may by ordinance exempt from taxation the assessed value of real property without going before the voters. This can be achieved by ordinance. In conversation with Steve Van Sant, the state assessor, Mr. Wright said the property exempted in Section 1 is up to $150,000. This amount isn't added on to the original $75,000. Property is exempted only up to $150,000. Number 520 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if the committee members had any questions. Number 522 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked if it was the intent of the co-chair to move the bill out of the committee during this meeting. Number 523 CO-CHAIR IVAN replied that this was his intent. He said that the committee had spent a lot of time going over the bill and revising it and he stated that it was time to move the bill on the next committee. He asked what the wish of the committee was concerning HB 185. Number 529 TOM WRIGHT asked the chairman if he was aware of anyone wishing to testify on HB 185. Number 531 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT noted that this bill had been heard a number of times and looked at from many angles and new language to the bill had been added. He said he was comfortable with the bill in it's current state as it was the work of a lot of compromise. He moved and asked unanimous consent to pass HB 185 out of the committee, with individual recommendations. Number 540 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON objected. Number 542 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON briefly stated that he appreciated the work gone in to revising and amending HB 185. He said there had been a movement by all parties, but he had a philosophical objection to the process and direction of HB 185. His first objection was that this bill was just piece-mealing an approach referring to one small portion of people being exempted from property taxes. He also stated that the bill is not addressing a lot of the other people that are paying property taxes. He said that this legislature, acting as an assembly for the unorganized borough, has been kind of weak. The state has many Alaskans that are exempted from property taxes but CRA isn't addressing those people. His second objection concerned exempted senior citizens that are different from many other Alaskans. These people have paid income taxes and with the revenue crunch affecting the state, the legislature is turning to those that have paid their share and leaving alone those that haven't ever paid income taxes. He is of the opinion that this bill is sending the wrong message to some of the more responsible Alaskans across the state. He stated he would belabor the bill should it make it to the floor. Number 573 CO-CHAIR IVAN commented that the committee process system is open as bills move through the various committees with lots of opportunities to make changes. He stated that it was not his intent to target the senior citizens but the bill is trying to reduce some of the mandates that communities have. He said municipalities can deal with this more because they are more closely aware of their constituent concerns. Number 586 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON agreed with Co-Chair Ivan and again expressed his appreciation over the willingness of the chair and the committee to work with the different groups to make this bill as good as possible. Number 592 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if Representative Elton was in favor or opposed to HB 185 to which Representative Elton responded that he was opposed. Number 595 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked the committee secretary to call the vote in regards to passing HB 185 out of the committee. Representatives Ivan, Austerman, Vezey and Kott were in favor of passing HB 185 out of committee. Representative Elton was opposed. The bill passed out with a vote of four to one.