Legislature(2021 - 2022)DAVIS 106

02/14/2022 08:00 AM House EDUCATION

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HB 259 Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 259-PERMANENT FUND DIVIDEND; 25/75 POMV SPLIT                                                                    
8:19:03 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL NO.  259, "An Act relating to use  of income of the                                                               
Alaska permanent  fund; relating to  the amount of  the permanent                                                               
fund  dividend; relating  to the  duties of  the commissioner  of                                                               
revenue; relating to funding for  state aid for school districts,                                                               
the state boarding school,  centralized correspondence study, and                                                               
transportation of pupils; and providing for an effective date."                                                                 
8:19:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE IVY SPOHNHOLZ, Alaska  State Legislature, as prime                                                               
sponsor,  offered a  brief overview  of the  two problems  HB 259                                                               
seeks  to  solve:    underfunding of  education  and  the  fiscal                                                               
instability of the state.                                                                                                       
8:20:50 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY  requested any further  comments on HB  259 before                                                               
going forward with a motion to move the bill from committee.                                                                    
8:21:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK said he is  not sure the legislation belongs                                                               
in the  House Education  Standing Committee, as  this is  a "huge                                                               
budget  bill" to  determine how  to spend  the percent  of market                                                               
value  (POMV) draw.   He  went  on to  say there  is a  continual                                                               
request for funding  for education, but no one has  an answer why                                                               
more money  is needed.   He  asked the  question, "How  does more                                                               
money  relate  to  better  education?"   He  would  like  to  see                                                               
everyone join the discussion, namely  the teacher's union and the                                                               
school districts. Representative Cronk  argued that "until we are                                                               
ready to have  the hard conversations together," he  is not ready                                                               
to support increased spending for  education.  Plus, he said this                                                               
legislation  is bigger  than just  funding for  education, as  it                                                               
determines whether a permanent fund dividend (PFD) will be paid.                                                                
8:22:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY  opined the  legislation would be  a good                                                               
conversation starter  aimed at  efforts to  find a  nexus between                                                               
Alaska's  fiscal  issues  and  how  those  fiscal  issues  impact                                                               
various essential services, notably education.                                                                                  
8:23:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR STORY  agreed that  with another  POMV split,  these are                                                               
very important conversations  to have going to  the House Finance                                                               
Committee.     She  said  a   critical  piece  of   the  proposed                                                               
legislation  frees  fixed expenses  to  pay  for gaps  in  public                                                               
services.    She  said  she  was pleased  with  the  priority  of                                                               
essential  services  to education  proposed  under  HB 259.    In                                                               
example,  she  mentioned  pupil transportation  has  not  had  an                                                               
increase  in funding  to  districts in  many  years, instead,  it                                                               
takes from  the general  fund.   As inflation  was up  10 percent                                                               
over the  last decade, she said  a 4 percent increase  in funding                                                               
for education  in the first year  was realistic.  She  added that                                                               
other  essential public  services  would still  be covered  along                                                               
with, in her estimation, a substantial PFD.                                                                                     
8:25:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  DRUMMOND  noted  a   large  percentage  of  schoolboard                                                               
experience  among  members  of   the  committee,  and  with  this                                                               
experience comes  the knowledge that schoolboards  struggle every                                                               
year with  cuts to their  budgets.   She sees nothing  wrong with                                                               
the  House Education  Standing Committee  dealing with  a funding                                                               
bill.  She stated her support of HB 259.                                                                                        
8:26:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GILLHAM agreed  with  Representative  Cronk.   He                                                               
said that  his biggest issue is  any change to the  PFD should be                                                               
put to a public vote.                                                                                                           
8:27:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ explained  HB 259  was referred  to the                                                               
House  Education   Standing  Committee  because  it   creates  an                                                               
education funding  stream for public  education.  She  said while                                                               
costs have  gone up,  Alaska now  spends $500  less per  child on                                                               
education  than in  fiscal year  2008.   Nationwide, students  in                                                               
Alaska show  a lower ranking,  but comparing  student performance                                                               
metrics, she observed Alaska's ranking  has not fallen, but other                                                               
states'  rankings  have risen  due  to  strategic investment  and                                                               
innovations those states  have made in educational  programs.  If                                                               
Alaska creates  "stable and growing  funding for  education," she                                                               
said the state could start  making investments and innovations in                                                               
proven programs.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ  said HB  259 will  be forwarded  to the                                                               
House  Special Committee  on  Ways  and Means  and  to the  House                                                               
Finance  Committee  to  look at  the  fiscal  impacts,  including                                                               
discussion of the PFD formula.                                                                                                  
8:29:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR DRUMMOND  moved to report  HB 259 out of  committee with                                                               
individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                   
8:29:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CRONK objected.                                                                                                  
8:29:54 AM                                                                                                                    
A roll call  vote was taken.   Representatives Zulkosky, Hopkins,                                                               
Drummond, and  Story voted in  favor of  the motion to  report HB
259  out of  committee  with individual  recommendations and  the                                                               
accompanying fiscal  notes.  Representatives Cronk,  Gillham, and                                                               
Prax voted  against it.   Therefore, HB  259 was reported  out of                                                               
the House Education Standing Committee by a vote of 4-3.                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 259 oppose.pdf HEDC 2/14/2022 8:00:00 AM
HB 259