Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211

03/06/2006 01:30 PM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to a Call of the Chair --
+= SB 193 DEFERRAL OF MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAXES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ SB 291 MUNICIPAL HARBOR FACILITY GRANTS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 247 REVENUE SHARING PROGRAM TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 246 APPROP TO REVENUE SHARING FUND TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
          SB 193-DEFERRAL OF MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAXES                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BERT STEDMAN announced SB 193 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
He asked for a motion to adopt the \F Version committee                                                                         
substitute (CS).                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GARY STEVENS moved \F Version CS for SB 193.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEDMAN objected  for explanation  purposes. He  asked the                                                               
sponsor, Senator Bunde, to come forward.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:34:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR CON  BUNDE, Sponsor  of SB  193, registered  objection to                                                               
the \F  Version CS. He stated  that the original bill  focused on                                                               
deferral of property  taxes for people who  were having financial                                                               
emergencies. Version F provides an  expansion that neither he nor                                                               
the co-sponsors  expected. Certainly the added  subject is worthy                                                               
of a  separate bill, he said,  but in his view  the changes don't                                                               
fall within the purview of SB 193 as originally conceived.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEDMAN   clarified  that   the  amendment   excludes  the                                                               
residences of  an educator  in a  private religious  or parochial                                                               
school from  paying property tax  when the organization  owns the                                                               
property.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR JOHNNY ELLIS  asked whose idea it was to  change the bill                                                               
contrary to the sponsor's wishes.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN replied he brought the amendment to the committee.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS asked  if he  had  discussed the  change with  the                                                               
sponsor.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEDMAN responded  he  had discussed  the  change and  the                                                               
sponsor expressed his dissatisfaction.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  stated that the  committee could introduce  a bill                                                               
to accomplish  the goal of  the CS and  doing so would  avoid the                                                               
current awkward conflict among majority members.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE  responded it's within  the committee's  purview to                                                               
change bills and he took  no personal umbrage. However, he didn't                                                               
believe the  change falls within  the scope of the  original bill                                                               
and suggested it could inhibit passage.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEDMAN  noted that  the next  committee of  referral was                                                               
the Finance Committee.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BUNDE commented  the bill has a way to  go and bills have                                                               
a way of changing during the process.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS asked about the fiscal note.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN replied the fiscal  note is zero because the fiscal                                                               
impact would be at the municipal level.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BUNDE pointed  out that  the original  bill was  a local                                                               
option  and  the  religious  exemption is  mandatory  in  the  \F                                                               
Version.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:38:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARTY  McGEE,   Assessor  for  the  Municipality   of  Anchorage,                                                               
reported  that  he hadn't  seen  the  amendments so  he  couldn't                                                               
comment on  them. His concern  with the original bill  relates to                                                               
the  potential cost  to other  taxpayers. He  suggested the  bill                                                               
should address the  issue of unrealized interest  on the deferred                                                               
taxes because the  impact could be very different  in the various                                                               
taxing jurisdictions.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THOMAS WAGONER noted that the  bill is a local option and                                                               
judging  from  the  previous  testimony,  he'd  assume  that  the                                                               
Municipality of Anchorage wouldn't adopt the ordinance.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  McGEE said  the assembly  would make  that decision,  but it                                                               
would  also have  to  address the  problems  associated with  the                                                               
current version.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS asked  if the CRA staff could fax  Mr. McGee a copy                                                               
of the CS.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEDMAN  responded  a  copy should  be  available  in  the                                                               
Anchorage LIO,  but he would call  on Mr. McGee again  at the end                                                               
of the public testimony to get his comments on the CS.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:41:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT BRANDT-ERICHSEN,  Ketchikan Gateway Borough  Attorney, said                                                               
his  comments  related  to  the  work  he  does  as  the  borough                                                               
attorney, which is  to collect real property tax  for the borough                                                               
and the City of Ketchikan on  an annual basis. Although he hadn't                                                               
seen  a copy  of the  CS, his  comments would  probably apply  to                                                               
both.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Points that need  clarification include: how the  tax liens would                                                               
be  recorded to  protect  the municipality;  whether a  surviving                                                               
spouse  would  immediately  be  subject  to  tax  repayment;  and                                                               
whether all  back taxes would be  due if an individual  no longer                                                               
qualified for the deferral.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEDMAN advised  that  the bill  had  two previous  public                                                               
hearings and the next referral is to the Finance Committee.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:45:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KARL  SHORT,  Finance  Director of  the  Kodiak  Island  Borough,                                                               
testified  that  his  conflict  with   the  bill  is  that  if  a                                                               
homeowners financial  situation changes,  the deferred  tax still                                                               
isn't collectable until  the property is sold.  He suggested that                                                               
it  would be  reasonable  to  have some  sort  of  trigger for  a                                                               
repayment  schedule  if the  person  is  no longer  in  financial                                                               
difficulty. He  agreed with previous testimony  regarding the tax                                                               
lien  so  it's  clear  that taxes  are  outstanding  against  the                                                               
property.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:46:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR STEDMAN removed  his objection to adopting  the F Version                                                               
CS for SB 193.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS objected.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN asked the clerk to call the roll.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Version F  CS for SB 193  was adopted with Senator  Gary Stevens,                                                               
Senator Wagoner  and Chair Stedman  voting yea and  Senator Ellis                                                               
and Senator Kookesh voting nay.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  STEDMAN  asked  for  a   motion  to  move  the  bill  from                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:47:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GARY  STEVENS  motioned  to  report  CSSB  193(CRA)  and                                                               
attached   fiscal   notes    from   committee   with   individual                                                               
recommendations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:48:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS objected and asked  the Chair whether he though the                                                               
committee substitute  had gotten  an adequate hearing.  He wasn't                                                               
clear about  what happened, but this  big change came as  quite a                                                               
surprise  and it  isn't even  in alignment  with the  sponsor. In                                                               
conclusion he said this is an amazing way to conduct business.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN responded he could  understand his concern, but the                                                               
bill had been  heard three times. The committee was  backed up in                                                               
its work  and he  was finding  it difficult to  get a  quorum for                                                               
meetings.  He recognized  that this  is  a change,  but the  bill                                                               
would have further hearing at the Finance Committee.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS  responded  there  are lots  of  important  things                                                               
happening in the building.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN asked if there was  objection to the motion to move                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS maintained his objection and continued to say:                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     I  don't  think  the  Community  and  Regional  Affairs                                                                    
     Committee has done  an adequate job or done  its job on                                                                    
     your   latest   version   of  the   bill.   If   you're                                                                    
     representing to  us that what the  CRA Committee should                                                                    
     have done will happen in  the Finance Committee, I hope                                                                    
     that's the  case, but  this committee  ought to  do its                                                                    
     job is my opinion.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS added that he  would hope that the Alaska Municipal                                                               
League could comment on the new version.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:49:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN called on Mr. McGee from Anchorage.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. McGEE said the Legislative  Affairs Office (LIO) in Anchorage                                                               
hadn't received a copy of the new version.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
At ease at 1:50:18 PM                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN announced  he would hold SB 193  in committee until                                                               
the following meeting.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS asked  the Chair to find out why  the Anchorage LIO                                                               
didn't receive a copy of the proposed CS.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR STEDMAN agreed to do so.                                                                                                  

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