Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/16/2004 07:08 AM House W&M

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 493-LONG TERM FISCAL PLAN                                                                                                  
Number 1120                                                                                                                     
CHAIR HAWKER announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 493, "An Act  relating to adoption and revision of                                                               
a long-term fiscal plan for the State of Alaska."                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG,  speaking  as cosponsor,  stated  that                                                               
there  is a  new  committee  substitute (CS)  for  HB 493,  which                                                               
requires   the   legislature  in   future   years   to  adopt   a                                                               
comprehensive long-range  fiscal plan.  The  proposed CS attempts                                                               
to  incorporate  comments  from   Representative  Ogg  and  Chair                                                               
Hawker, he noted.  He  said a concurrent resolution introduced by                                                               
Representative  Whitaker in  the  previous  legislature was  also                                                               
looked at and parts were included in the proposed CS.                                                                           
Number 1220                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH  moved to adopt  the proposed CS  for HB
441,  Version 23-LS1765\H,  Utermohle,  3/18/04,  as the  working                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH objected for discussion purposes.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  explained  that  [Section  1]  of  the                                                               
proposed  CS  lists a  number  of  the constitutionally  required                                                               
state mandates, including, but not  limited to, public health and                                                               
welfare,  providing for  public education,  and the  utilization,                                                               
development,  and  conservation  of  natural  resources.    Other                                                               
requirements indicated,  as well,  are that the  state government                                                               
must provide for public safety,  the construction and maintenance                                                               
of public  facilities and transportation,  and the  protection of                                                               
the  environment, he  said.   A lot  of that  language came  from                                                               
Representative Whitaker's resolution, he noted.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG referred  to page 2, lines 6  and 7, and                                                               
said,  "to  carry  out  the  responsibilities,  we  must  have  a                                                               
reasonable  level of  expenditures  to finance  the operation  of                                                               
state government."  He paraphrased  the language in [paragraph 3]                                                               
was  made   more  accurate   as  a   result  of   Chair  Hawker's                                                               
suggestions, and  he paraphrased, "significant  disparity between                                                               
the   revenue   sources   currently  being   utilized   and   the                                                               
expenditures necessary  to maintain  a reasonable level  of state                                                               
services."   In [paragraph 4]  the original language  "by drawing                                                               
against the  balance of  the budget reserve  fund" was  added, he                                                               
said.   In  [paragraph  5] it  says the  budget  reserve fund  is                                                               
rapidly declining  and [the state]  needs to have a  sound fiscal                                                               
plan, and in [paragraph 6] it  says there's not a simple solution                                                               
and that  [the state]  must have  [a plan]  that is  balanced and                                                               
fair to  all Alaskans, he  related.   He noted that  the language                                                               
was  made a  little more  accurate.   [Paragraph 7]  says that  a                                                               
long-range fiscal  plan will  encourage the  discipline necessary                                                               
to insure  the budget remains  balanced and properly  planned for                                                               
the future,  and finally, [paragraph  8] says  the implementation                                                               
of  a comprehensive  long-range fiscal  plan will  help stabilize                                                               
the state's economy and level  out its historical pattern of boom                                                               
and bust cycles, he said.                                                                                                       
Number 1408                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG explained that  Section 2, which was the                                                               
heart  of the  bill,  was beefed  up  a little  bit.   The  first                                                               
sentence remains the same except it  is made clear that it is the                                                               
current  fiscal year  and the  next four  fiscal years,  he said.                                                               
The  next  two   sentences  [lines  27-31]  are   new,  he  said.                                                               
[Subsection (b) on  page 3] was left pretty much  the way it was,                                                               
except that  [paragraph (3)] is broken  out so it reads  a little                                                               
clearer  dealing with  the  permanent  fund, inflation  proofing,                                                               
dividend, and  the flexibility to  determine the  appropriate use                                                               
of the remaining earnings of the fund, he reported.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  WEYHRAUCH  withdrew  his  objection  to  adopting                                                               
Version  H.   There being  no  further objection,  Version H  was                                                               
adopted as the working document.                                                                                                
CHAIR HAWKER requested that the members take Version H                                                                          
into consideration for a future meeting.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked that the committee  move the bill                                                               
CHAIR  HAWKER replied  that he  is personally  uncomfortable with                                                               
the unspecific language regarding  adopting and annually revising                                                               
a long-range fiscal  plan.  He said he is  still not certain what                                                               
that would  be and who would  be responsible for that.   He noted                                                               
that  it takes  five affirmative  votes  to move  this bill  from                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG suggested that  it takes the majority of                                                               
the members present as long as there is a quorum.                                                                               
CHAIR HAWKER deferred to Representative Gruenberg's judgment.                                                                   
Number 1740                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  moved  to   report  CSHB  493  out  of                                                               
committee with individual recommendations.                                                                                      
CHAIR HAWKER objected.                                                                                                          
Number 1920                                                                                                                     
A roll  call vote was  taken.  Representatives  Weyhrauch, Moses,                                                               
Samuels, and  Gruenberg voted  in favor of  the motion  to report                                                               
CSHB 493 out  of committee.  Representative  Hawker voted against                                                               
it.   Therefore, CSHB 493 was  reported out of the  House Special                                                               
Committee on Ways and Means by a vote of 4-1.                                                                                   
CHAIR HAWKER  noted that this  motion is  subject to a  ruling on                                                               
how many members it takes to report a bill out of committee.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WEYHRAUCH  said he plans  to check "amend"  on the                                                               
report  because the  bill is  more  similar to  a resolution,  as                                                               
opposed to a statute, he opined.                                                                                                
[Due to  a majority of  committee members not being  present, the                                                               
motion to report  CSHB 493 was rescinded and voted  upon again on                                                               
April 21, 2004.]                                                                                                              

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