Legislature(2021 - 2022)DAVIS 106
02/14/2022 08:00 AM House EDUCATION
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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.
|HB 259 oppose.pdf||
HEDC 2/14/2022 8:00:00 AM