Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/17/2002 04:04 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 403(FIN) am(brf sup maj fld)(efd fld)                                                                
     "An  Act  making appropriations   for the  operating  and  loan                                                            
     program  expenses of  state government,  for certain  programs,                                                            
     and to capitalize funds."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE BILL NO. 289                                                                                                        
     "An  Act  making appropriations   for the  operating  and  loan                                                            
     program  expenses of  state government,  for certain  programs,                                                            
     and to capitalize  funds; making appropriations  under art. IX,                                                            
     sec.  17(c), Constitution  of  the State  of  Alaska, from  the                                                            
     constitutional   budget reserve  fund;  and  providing  for  an                                                            
     effective date."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 404(FIN)                                                                                             
     "An  Act making appropriations  for the  operating and  capital                                                            
     expenses of the state's  integrated comprehensive mental health                                                            
     program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE BILL NO. 288                                                                                                        
     "An  Act making appropriations  for the  operating and  capital                                                            
     expenses of the state's  integrated comprehensive mental health                                                            
     program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PATRICIA  SEYBERG, from Dillingham,  testified  in Juneau about  the                                                            
effects  of the  proposed  budget reductions  to  Emergency  Medical                                                            
Services (EMS)  in rural areas. She detailed the services  provided.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Hoffman asked  if the seven  EMS regions  cover the  entire                                                            
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Seyberg affirmed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MAKO  HAGGERTY,  Chair,  Kachemak  Bay  Parks  Board  testified  via                                                            
teleconference from Homer  to request funding for state parks at the                                                            
highest  level.  Parks  are  a  destination,  he  asserted  and  the                                                            
condition  of parks  leaves  a lasting  impression  on visitors.  He                                                            
stressed that an entire economic sector depends on parks.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JOSH  PERRY  testified   via  teleconference  from   Homer  that  he                                                            
volunteers  for the State parks system.  He stressed the  importance                                                            
of parks to visitors and  residents. He urged the State to commit to                                                            
investing in parks.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
JOSHUA DUFFUS,  Employee, Division of Parks and Outdoor  Recreation,                                                            
Department of  Natural Resources, testified via teleconference  from                                                            
Homer to urge  support for state park  funding, as reductions  would                                                            
be a "backward step." He  stated improvements to parks would enhance                                                            
them.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
KATHEE   KIEFER,   volunteer   for  State   parks,   testified   via                                                            
teleconference from Homer  to urge the Committee to not reduce State                                                            
park funding.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LISA RUOFF testified  via teleconference from Homer,  to request the                                                            
Committee  add funding  instead of  decrease funding  for the  State                                                            
parks budget.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JENNIFER REINHART testified  via teleconference from Homer and urged                                                            
a general fund  increase for the University  of Alaska for  economic                                                            
benefits.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ROGER  MCCAMPBELL,  Park  Ranger,  Division  of  Parks  and  Outdoor                                                            
Recreation,   Department   of  Natural  Resources,   testified   via                                                            
teleconference from Homer  to voice that the State park system is an                                                            
"incredibly  efficient system."  He asked  the Committee to  restore                                                            
the budget for State parks.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Leman  stated that the Senate  Finance Committee  substitute                                                            
restores   half   of   the   amount  reduced   by   the   House   of                                                            
Representatives. He stressed  that efforts are continuing to address                                                            
the park system budget.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JOEY EASEMAN,  college student,  testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Homer and urged  full funding for the University of  Alaska to allow                                                            
people to  get an education  to allow them  to become assets  rather                                                            
than burdens to the State.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
KEITH IVERSON, lodge owner,  testified via teleconference from Homer                                                            
that the trail  systems are becoming more popular  and stressed that                                                            
eco-tourism is a benefit.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MARILYN  ROSENE, testified  via teleconference  from Dillingham,  to                                                            
emphasize that staff turnover  is very high in the local school. She                                                            
urged  adequate  funding  for schools  to  support  recruitment  and                                                            
retention of employees.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DOROTHY LARSON,  Tribal Administrator, testified via  teleconference                                                            
from Dillingham  to  urge no decreases  in funding  for alcohol  and                                                            
drug  programs as  this would  result in  reductions  or closure  of                                                            
programs in treatment facilities.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DEANNA  HARDIN,   Employee,  Head   Start  program,  testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from Dillingham  and  urged full  funding for  rural                                                            
university campuses, as  teaching certificates are required for Head                                                            
Start teachers. She cited the preferential for local hiring.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CRISTY WILLER  TILDEN testified via  teleconference from  Dillingham                                                            
to urge  support for treatment  programs. She  noted they have  been                                                            
flat funded  for 14  years; however,  costs have  increased and  the                                                            
program has received  outside support. She stressed  this funding is                                                            
limited  and that  a  20 percent  reduction  in grant  income  would                                                            
result in  closure of the  program. She stressed  that residents  of                                                            
the area are  willing to contribute  to the State's treasury  in the                                                            
form of an income tax.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JENNIFER JONES-MOLINA,  teacher, testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Dillingham  to inform  the Committee  that  as a  teacher she  fills                                                            
several roles: teacher,  social worker, and classroom custodian. She                                                            
stressed  she needs  training  on how  to implement  State  mandated                                                            
programs.  She urged  the Legislature  to put  the State's  children                                                            
first and increase funding for schools.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley  cited  the  National  Education  Association  1999                                                            
governing sourcebook,  in noting that Alaska ranks  very high in the                                                            
per capita amount of funds it contributes to education.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
PEARL STRUB,  parent, representative  of an agency assisting  people                                                            
to get  employment,  and board  member  of UA campus  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from  Dillingham  and  urged  full  funding  of  the                                                            
University  of  Alaska budget.  She  listed  the number  of  degrees                                                            
awarded at the Bristol Bay Campus.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DON  FORD,   parent   and  school   board  member,   testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from  Dillingham  and  stated  that education  is  a                                                            
resource.  He asserted that  costs are increasing  at the same  time                                                            
local  communities   are   "willingly"  contributing   more   toward                                                            
education expenses. He  spoke to the limited percentage of the State                                                            
budget appropriated to education.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley  clarified  that  the  14 percent  of  total  state                                                            
funding for education  referenced by the witness is  "distorted". He                                                            
explained that the total  budget includes a "massive influx" of over                                                            
one billing  dollars in federal funding  for highways. He  expressed                                                            
that  the  commitment  to  funding   education  in  Alaska  has  not                                                            
diminished  and that over  the past ten years,  the Legislature  has                                                            
increased  its investment  of general  funds from  28 percent  to 34                                                            
percent for K - 12 education.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ANNE   FRITZE,  University   of   Alaska  student,   testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from Dillingham  to encourage  full funding  support                                                            
for the  local university  campus. She informed  she is financially                                                             
unable to move her family  to Fairbanks or Anchorage where the major                                                            
campuses are located,  and that the Dillingham campus  allows her to                                                            
obtain an education while maintaining full-time employment.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SONNY  LEVEQUE,   Student,  University  of  Alaska,   testified  via                                                            
teleconference   from  Dillingham  to  remind  the  Committee   that                                                            
universities are  not businesses designed to earn  a profit but that                                                            
providing  an education benefits  the economy.  He spoke of  student                                                            
housing and  the ability  for students in  rural areas to remain  in                                                            
their own homes while attending  schools in their community. He also                                                            
supported funding alcohol and mental illness treatment efforts.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
TINA BARGER,  Program Monitor,  SAFE, testified  via teleconference                                                             
from Dillingham  about the  importance of  continuing this  domestic                                                            
violence  program serving  the Bristol Bay  Region. She highlighted                                                             
the activities of the "sister" organization                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 02 # 63, Side B 04:52 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
NELS ANDERSON,  JR., Member, Bristol  Bay Campus Council,  testified                                                            
via teleconference from  Dillingham to thank the Legislature for the                                                            
support of  the past few  years. He spoke  of the fishing  disasters                                                            
that occurred in the last  two years and the difficulty of fishermen                                                            
in obtaining  alternate employment.  He urged full support  of rural                                                            
university campuses, as they promote economic development.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DIXIE  LANDENBURGER,   Team  Leader,  Seaview  Community   Services,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from  Seward to request the  Committee                                                            
no  reduce  funding for  substance  abuse  treatment  programs.  She                                                            
supported  the  proposed  alcohol  tax  and  encouraged   additional                                                            
revenue sources rather than reduced services.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MELANIE WEEMS,  testified via teleconference from  Seward to request                                                            
support for alcohol and substance abuse treatment services.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JANET BUCHANAN  testified via teleconference from  Seward and read a                                                            
statement  from  Randy Crystal,  a  resident  in a  substance  abuse                                                            
treatment  program. She  quoted  that he is  a 48-year  old man  who                                                            
suffers  from  depression  and relayed  his  need for  treatment  to                                                            
resume being a productive member of society.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANGUS  KUNZ  testified  via teleconference  from  Seward  about  his                                                            
illness and the need for treatment.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SUNG KIM LINDER  testified via teleconference from  Seward on behalf                                                            
of  the local  mental  health  clinic  and other  patients  of  that                                                            
clinic. He told of his mental illness.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DOUG DISORCIE,  Employee,  Prince William  Sound Community  College,                                                            
testified  via teleconference  from Valdez  about the independently                                                             
accredited  school  that  is a  part  of the  University  of  Alaska                                                            
system. He  requested continued  funding for  the University  and he                                                            
listed  names of  students  who support  funding  the University  of                                                            
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
JANICE JOHNSON  testified  via teleconference  from Valdez  to fully                                                            
support funding  for the  University of Alaska.  She believed  it is                                                            
the  responsibility  of the  University  to contribute  to  Alaska's                                                            
workforce.  She  stressed  the need  for  diversity in  the  State's                                                            
education system, which rural campuses play a vital part.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CORRINE ERICKSON-ENVOY,  Salvation  Army, and "other social  service                                                            
agencies", testified via  teleconference from Cordova about the need                                                            
for funding  alcohol  and substance  abuse treatment  programs.  She                                                            
stated this is important to avoid continued prison growth.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
NICHOLE   SONGER,    Family   Resource    Center,   testified    via                                                            
teleconference  from Cordova  in opposition  to funding reductions.                                                             
She spoke of the  consequences of a 20 percent funding  reduction on                                                            
many agencies particularly in rural locations.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DENNY  WEATHERS testified  via teleconference  from  Cordova to  her                                                            
approval of the  Legislature's attempt to balance  the State budget.                                                            
She stated  that Alaska has a republic  form of government,  "one in                                                            
which  the  power and  sovereignty  are  vested  in the  people  and                                                            
exercised   by  the  people,  either   directly  or  through   their                                                            
representatives  chosen  by  the  people  to  whom  the  powers  are                                                            
specifically  delegated."  She  opined that  "God created  man,  man                                                            
created the  constitution and the  constitution created government"                                                             
which subsequently  created "the public service."  She stressed that                                                            
many  government  functions are  not  mandated and  that  government                                                            
agencies  have "usurped  the powers  that rightfully  belong to  the                                                            
people."  She  asserted  many State  programs  should  have  further                                                            
budget reductions.  She quoted  Thomas Jefferson  warning about  the                                                            
consequences of a large government.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
JAMES FISHER,  Soldotna resident, testified via teleconference  from                                                            
Kenai and asked  if Committee members could "look  the Alaska public                                                            
in  the eye  to  explain  how you  failed  to  institute  reasonable                                                            
financial  support for their  essential State  services." He  warned                                                            
that even  limited  budget reductions  would result  in the  reduced                                                            
health and  safety of all Alaskans.  He asked how budget  reductions                                                            
would improve the life of Alaskans.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ROSEMARY   REEDER,  Soldotna   Community   Schools,  testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from Kenai  that the proposed  budget reductions  to                                                            
the community  schools programs would  be detrimental. She  informed                                                            
this  funding allows  the  program to  operate facilities  and  also                                                            
leverage additional funds.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
GRACE MERKES, Head Start  Program, testified via teleconference from                                                            
Kenai,  thanked  the  Senate  for their  support  and  stressed  the                                                            
importance  of the Head Start Program  for low-income children.  She                                                            
stated the  federal government funds  the program at 80 percent  and                                                            
the State funds it at 20 percent.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ROSEMARY  BUSHON,  Head Start,  testified  via  teleconference  from                                                            
Kenai to  urge funding for  the Head Start  program. She shared  the                                                            
positive results  she has seen in  the children in the program.  She                                                            
stated  that  teacher  salaries   are  low  and  this  needs  to  be                                                            
addressed.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilken asked Ms.  Reeder if she was aware the Senate Finance                                                            
committee  substitute  allocates $300,000  to the  community  school                                                            
program  although  the House  of Representatives  had  allocated  no                                                            
funds for this program.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Reeder  had understood  the  House of  Representatives  approved                                                            
funding  $500,000  and  the Senate  Finance  Committee  reduced  the                                                            
amount to $300,000.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator Wilken clarified  that the House of Representatives approved                                                            
a  $500,000  unallocated  budget  reduction  to  the  Department  of                                                            
Education and  Early Development, which the Department  testified it                                                            
intended to  take from the Community  Schools program, leaving  that                                                            
program with zero funding.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MARJORIE  J. HAYES, Alaska  Commission on  Aging, Mental &  Personal                                                            
Health,  testified  via  teleconference  from  Kenai and  asked  for                                                            
funding for mental health and parks programs.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JASON ELSON,  retired Fire  Chief, City of  Kenai; President,  Kenai                                                            
Peninsula  Fire  Chiefs  Association;  Member,  Alaska  Fire  Chiefs                                                            
Association;   and  Chair,  Board  of  Directors,  Southern   Region                                                            
Emergency  Medical Services  Council, testified  via teleconference                                                             
from Kenai  to the proposed  funding reductions  to the State's  EMS                                                            
grant program.  He stated the reductions  would affect the  services                                                            
that  fire  departments  are  able   to provide,   notably  in  some                                                            
communities  located  along the  road system.  He  pointed out  that                                                            
federal  funds  are  utilized  to operate  the  Code  Blue  program,                                                            
although State matching funds are required.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
KATIE STAFFORD,  Supervisor, Division of Family and  Youth Services,                                                            
and Member,  National Association  of Social Workers, testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Kenai,  and spoke  to children's  needs in  the                                                            
community  as the result  of reduced  funding for  drug and  alcohol                                                            
treatment  program  as  well  as for  mental  health  programs.  She                                                            
emphasized  that  more families  would  feel  the effects  of  these                                                            
reductions.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JAMES  SHILL,  Executive  Director,  Central  Peninsula   Counseling                                                            
Services, testified via  teleconference from Kenai regarding funding                                                            
for mental  health programs. He stated  the proposed funding  levels                                                            
would affect many  people who could not otherwise  afford treatment.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Green  asked  which  specific  mental  health  program  the                                                            
witness was testifying to.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Shill  responded  that  the  "general  mental  health"  program                                                            
funding  has  been  reduced  "in  almost  every  budget  cycle".  He                                                            
expressed  this impacts  the "working  class" sector  that does  not                                                            
have other health insurance coverage.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Senator   Green  countered   that  the   Senate  Finance   committee                                                            
substitute  proposed  budget  reflects  funding  increases  for  all                                                            
mental health services  compared to the budget approved by the House                                                            
of Representatives.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Shill stressed  that the budgets of the past three  fiscal years                                                            
have been reduced  for general mental  health services and  that the                                                            
current  funding proposal  contains a three-percent  reduction  from                                                            
the previous year.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Green pointed out  a $150,000 finding increase from FY 02 to                                                            
services for the chronic mentally ill.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Shill clarified  that services  for people who are employed  and                                                            
therefore do not  qualify for Medicaid are the ones  affected by the                                                            
budget reductions.  He listed contractors to the petroleum  industry                                                            
and fishing  guides and  commercial fishers  as examples. He  agreed                                                            
that  the  chronically  mentally  ill and  children  have  not  been                                                            
impacted.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Green clarified  the Senate  Finance  committee  substitute                                                            
provides more  funding than the appropriation  adopted by  the House                                                            
of Representatives.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Ward requested written  documentation  from the witness  on                                                            
the impacts of the budget reductions.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DON ROBERTS  JR. testified via teleconference  from Kodiak  that the                                                            
proposed  budget  as well  as  SB  340 "make  a  mockery  of what  a                                                            
democracy  is or what at  least a democracy  ought to be:  everybody                                                            
contributing  what they can." He asserted  that the proposed  budget                                                            
is the  result of  the "well-to-do"  attempting  to maintain  "their                                                            
privileged  status  on  the backs  of  the poor  and  disabled."  He                                                            
furthered  that,  "cutting  equally  is  not  the  same  as  cutting                                                            
fairly."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PAT HOLMES  testified via teleconference  from Kodiak in  support of                                                            
the Senate Majority's past  efforts to reduce the budget. He opined,                                                            
"you've  kind of  got things  down  to the  bone"  and that  revenue                                                            
increases  should now  be considered.  He supported  a State  income                                                            
tax, a head tax for school funding, and a "modest" sales tax.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
EVERETT STONE  testified via teleconference  from Kodiak  to protest                                                            
the elimination of food  sanitation inspection positions. He told of                                                            
an outbreak  of contamination at a  local seafood processing  plant.                                                            
He warned  that the elimination  of this  position would damage  the                                                            
seafood industry's reputation.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Senator Leman  clarified the Senate Finance Committee  proposal does                                                            
not eliminate  this  position. He  asserted the  Senate agrees  that                                                            
sanitation is important.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DAVE JONES,  Director of Finance,  Kodiak School District  testified                                                            
via  teleconference  from  Kodiak to  thank  the Committee  for  the                                                            
increased funding for pupil  transportation and learning opportunity                                                            
grants.  He  cautioned,  however,  that  the  same  funding  is  not                                                            
"maintenance",  as costs increase.  He told  of the difficulties  in                                                            
attracting quality teachers to the district.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PAT  CARLSON,   Manager,  Kodiak   Island  Borough,  testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from Kodiak that he  recognized the difficulties  of                                                            
the Committee  in funding programs.  He asserted the permanent  fund                                                            
was intended  for  "a rainy  day" and  encouraged  the Committee  to                                                            
develop a fiscal plan,  focusing on fee-based services. He supported                                                            
an income tax as a method to offset the costs of education.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 02 # 64, Side A 05:40 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Carlson  commented  that a  population-based  revenue stream  is                                                            
necessary to offset the cost of education.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CAROLYN FLOYD,  Mayor, City of Kodiak, testified via  teleconference                                                            
from  Kodiak to  address  three  items. She  encouraged  support  of                                                            
revenue sharing,  warning  that any reduction  would harm the  local                                                            
government  in that  it would require  additional  local taxes.  She                                                            
supported  legislation  to expand  community jails,  describing  the                                                            
conditions  of the  old community  jail  located in  Kodiak and  its                                                            
limited ability  to address juvenile  offenders. She also  supported                                                            
funding the  Marine Highway  System, asserting  this is the  highway                                                            
for many coastal communities.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PAT BRANSON,  Assembly Member, Executive  Director, Senior  Citizens                                                            
of Kodiak, as well as a  member of several non-profit organizations,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from  Kodiak about her concerns  about                                                            
the quality  of life  in Alaska  that would be  reduced if  programs                                                            
were  not fully  funded. She  spoke of  the need  for adequate  food                                                            
sanitation in the kitchen  facilities utilized by the senior citizen                                                            
organization.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Leman   reiterated  that   the  Senate  Finance   committee                                                            
substitute  restored   most  of  the  necessary  funding   for  food                                                            
sanitation  operations  and  would  continue  to  restore  necessary                                                            
funds.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Branson then  requested  increased  funding for  the  education                                                            
foundation funding formula.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MIKE  MILLIGAN  testified  via  teleconference   from  Kodiak  about                                                            
increased health care costs  as they relate to veterans, inmates and                                                            
all state agencies.  He asserted he  does not have health  insurance                                                            
and that  he depends  on his permanent  fund dividend  to cover  his                                                            
health  care expenses  as  well as  to pay  his property  taxes.  He                                                            
supported new revenues and some budget reductions.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
GABRIELLE  LEDOUX,  Mayor,  Kodiak  Island  Borough,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Kodiak to encourage the Committee  to develop a                                                            
long-term  fiscal plan.  She  warned of  the consequences  to  local                                                            
communities if this is not done.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
BETTY  WALTERS,  Superintendent,   Kodiak  Island  School  District,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from  Kodiak to request the  Committee                                                            
consider  the  essential   services  across  the  State,   primarily                                                            
education.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CARL   BERGER,   Member,  Bethel   City   Council,   testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from Bethel  on his  own behalf.  He asked why  only                                                            
budget reductions  are being considered,  such as funding  for State                                                            
parks, public  broadcasting,  and international  trade. He  stressed                                                            
that  revenue  sources  must  be considered.  He  asked  the  Senate                                                            
Majority  to participate  in efforts  to create  a long-term  fiscal                                                            
plan. He asserted  that the State  income tax should be reinstated.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BOB MEDINGER,  University of Alaska  graduate, Director,  University                                                            
of Alaska-Fairbanks, Kuskokwim  Campus, testified via teleconference                                                            
from  Bethel that  fully  funding  the University  of  Alaska  would                                                            
provide qualified  workers for health care and other  needed fields.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BING SANTAMOUR,  Former  Student, Alumni,  Chair, Advisory  Council,                                                            
University  of Alaska-Fairbanks,   Kuskokwim Campus,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Bethel  about  the importance  of funding  this                                                            
facility.   She  stressed   that  an  educated   public  should   be                                                            
considered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ALEXANDRIA  MORTENSON,  Student,  University  of  Alaska-Fairbanks,                                                             
Kuskokwim  Campus,  testified  via  teleconference  from  Bethel  in                                                            
support  of funding  rural university  campuses.  She stressed  that                                                            
education provides tools to build stronger communities.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KEN ROBERSON,  Vice-Chair, Copper  River EMS Council, testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Glennallen about  the EMS services the  council                                                            
provides  and the area it  covers. He stated  the amount of  funding                                                            
has decreased  over the last  15 years and  has never increased.  He                                                            
remarked that  this has resulted in the need to charge  higher rates                                                            
for services and to provide lower quality patient care.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DAVE LEMAIRE,  Copper River EMS, testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Glennallen to reiterate  the previous witness. He listed the revenue                                                            
generated from the 911 tax and the increased equipment costs.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARNIE  GRAHAM  testified  via  teleconference  from  Glennallen  to                                                            
address  funding for  public education.  She  asserted that  Quality                                                            
Schools initiatives  and the  No Child Left  Behind Act are  only as                                                            
good  as  the funding  to  implement  them.  She  told of  the  poor                                                            
conditions  of the school facility  and informed that her  salary in                                                            
an  education facility  is  lower than  it was  when  she was  hired                                                            
despite incremental  increases and  pay raises, because they  do not                                                            
keep pace with inflation.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MARILYN MENISH  MEUCCI testified via teleconference  from Petersburg                                                            
that the legislators  are in Juneau  for the benefit of Alaska.  She                                                            
asserted that  the Legislature is  reducing funding for "everything                                                             
that helps  our State function  and be a place  that people  want to                                                            
live in  and raise  a family."  She stressed  that legislators  must                                                            
become focused  and develop a long-term  fiscal plan. She  opposed a                                                            
sales  tax  because  Petersburg  has  a local  sales  tax,  and  she                                                            
supported an income tax.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
BILL TREMBLEY,  Member, City Council,  testified via teleconference                                                             
from  Petersburg  that  although  the  Legislature  has  met  budget                                                            
reductions,  it is time  to restore  funding. He  stated that  it is                                                            
time for an income tax.  He compared the revenue generated by timber                                                            
activities  to the higher amounts  generated by tourism.  He did not                                                            
support a statewide sales tax.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
PAUL ANDERSON,  President, Thomas Bay Power, and past  candidate for                                                            
State Senate, testified  via teleconference from Petersburg that "it                                                            
has been raining  for the past seven years". He urged  the Committee                                                            
not hamper  the future governor and  administration. He stated  that                                                            
if the permanent fund must be utilized, it should be done.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MARLYS  TEDIN, Member,  State Parks  Advisory  Board, testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Sitka about the location of the  State parks in                                                            
the Sitka area  along the road system. She stated  these parks could                                                            
not be closed  and are heavily  used by tourists  and that  the boat                                                            
ramps are needed  for search and rescue operations.  She supported a                                                            
state income tax.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SCOTT MCADAMS  testified  via teleconference  from Sitka to  express                                                            
support for  maintaining and expanding  social service agencies.  He                                                            
stated these agencies provide  important services as well as provide                                                            
living wages to employees.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 6:14 PM / 6:57 PM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JAN MACCLARENCE, Alaska  Mental Health Board and Executive Director,                                                            
Abused  Women's Aid  in Crisis,  testified via  teleconference  from                                                            
Anchorage  on  behalf  of  the  mental  health   community  and  the                                                            
Anchorage  social  services  community.  She detailed  the  services                                                            
provided  by these  organizations  and the consequences  of  funding                                                            
reductions.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PETER MACKSEY,  Community Schools testified via teleconference  from                                                            
Anchorage  that   he  did  not  approve  of  the  proposed   funding                                                            
reductions. He suggested  reducing the budgets of the Alaska Science                                                            
and Technology Foundation  and the Alaska Industrial Development and                                                            
Export  Authority,  offering land  sales  and reusing  equipment  in                                                            
rural communities rather than purchasing new.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Donley   commented  that  he  related  to  the   witness's                                                            
concerns.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JOAN FISHER, Executive  Director, Anchorage Health Center, testified                                                            
via  teleconference   from   Anchorage  that   she  understood   the                                                            
difficulties in balancing  the budget as she does that in her job as                                                            
well as the  people the organization  serves do in their  own lives.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
RICH  SEWELL,  Board  Member,  Alumni  Association,   University  of                                                            
Alaska-Anchorage,  testified  via teleconference  from Anchorage  to                                                            
support full  funding. He appreciated  the increased funding  in the                                                            
past several  years after  many years of  "neglect". He informed  of                                                            
the  number  of  alumni  residing  in  Co-Chair  Donley's   election                                                            
district.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHERIE  NORTHON, Professor,  School  of Engineering,  University  of                                                            
Alaska-Anchorage, testified  via teleconference from Anchorage about                                                            
the need  for  an addition  faculty position  to  allow students  to                                                            
obtain a certificate in  the newly instituted Geographic Information                                                            
Systems program in one year rather than two or more years.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SISTER  MOREEN  MCPORTLAND,  Admissions  Advocate,  Catholic  Social                                                            
Services  and Interim  Director, St.  Francis  House, testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from  Anchorage   and  described  the  services  the                                                            
organization provides  to allow recipients to take  control of their                                                            
lives. She stated that  the volunteer coordinator position is funded                                                            
through  this  grant  and  that  the  center   employs  three  State                                                            
employees with  the remainder of the  work conducted by volunteers.                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SARA JACKSON, Manager,  St. Francis House, Catholic Social Services,                                                            
testified  via teleconference  from Anchorage  that she appreciated                                                             
the  Committee  has  reinstated  most  funding  for  human  services                                                            
management grants.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 02 # 64, Side B 07:11 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Jackson continued  that she favors the establishment  of a State                                                            
income tax.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  RILES,  Physician  Assistant,  Anchorage  Neighborhood  Health                                                            
Center,  testified via  teleconference  from Anchorage  in favor  of                                                            
full  funding  of  Chronic  and  Acute  Medical  Assistance   (CAMA)                                                            
program. He listed the  ailments the patients have who are served by                                                            
this program and the importance of receiving medication.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PHILIP  KAUFMAN,  Social  Worker,   Division  of  Family  and  Youth                                                            
Services,  testified  via teleconference  from  Anchorage to  stress                                                            
that the  high caseloads  harm children  and told  of the delays  of                                                            
providing  the necessary  services.  He stressed  the importance  of                                                            
treatment  of children  remaining in  their homes,  but pointed  out                                                            
that if counselors  are unavailable,  the child must be removed.  He                                                            
stated that funds would  be better spent for these programs than for                                                            
new trucks and equipment.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ROBIN  KORNFIELD,  Board Member,  Alaska  Public  Broadcasting,  and                                                            
Employee, NANA  Regional Corporation,  testified via teleconference                                                             
from Anchorage  about the  job losses that  budget reductions  would                                                            
have on public broadcasting.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK  WOLBERS,   University  of  Alaska-Anchorage,   testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from Anchorage that  the University is beginning  to                                                            
meet  its faculty  needs.  He cited  the US  News  and World  Report                                                            
indicating that  the University of Alaska-Anchorage  employs 56 full                                                            
time faculty positions, which he asserted is "embarrassing".                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LEIGH CARRIGAN,  mother of  six, and Board  Member, Infant  Learning                                                            
Program/Programs   for   Infants   and   Children,   testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from Anchorage about the federal funding  that would                                                            
be lost  without an adequate  state appropriation.  She told  of her                                                            
son's  hearing  disabilities   and  the  positive   results  of  his                                                            
participation in the programs.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
TIM HUNTERBERGER,  Faculty  Member, University  of Alaska-Anchorage                                                             
testified via teleconference  from Anchorage to request full funding                                                            
of the University.  He noted the House  of Representatives  approved                                                            
funding at the  previous year level, and that it has  been suggested                                                            
that flat funding  is adequate. However,  he stressed expenses  have                                                            
risen and that programs must be expanded.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
KATHY HARRISON,  Infant  Learning Program/Programs  for Infants  and                                                            
Children,  testified  via teleconference  from  Anchorage about  the                                                            
program  and to urge  the Committee  to not approve  the $1  million                                                            
reduction  to  the program  as  proposed.  She  warned that  if  the                                                            
program becomes  one based on income  needs, federal funds  would be                                                            
lost. She stressed that  providing these services while children are                                                            
young would save money in the long term.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MERRILEE  HARRELL,  1997  Honors  Graduate,  University  of  Alaska-                                                            
Anchorage testified  via teleconference from Anchorage  that she has                                                            
received her law  degree and is practicing in Anchorage.  She stated                                                            
the  State  needs  qualified  workers such  as  engineers  and  even                                                            
politicians.  She  stressed  that  when Alaskan  students  are  sent                                                            
Outside  to be educated,  money is  sent out as  well and that  many                                                            
former residents do not return.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
EVA STANLEY,  Disabled Alaskan,  testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Anchorage  that she would  often go hungry  if not for the  programs                                                            
provided by the Catholic Social Services.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
GEORGE SMITH,  Disabled Alaskan, testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Anchorage about  his reliance on Catholic  Social Services  programs                                                            
and the limited resources available through state-run programs.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
JOELLE  HALL,  Alaskans   for  Tobacco  Free  Kids,  testified   via                                                            
teleconference from Anchorage  to thank the Legislature for creating                                                            
the  Tobacco Use  Education  and Cessation  Fund.  She reminded  the                                                            
Committee  of the  commitment  to allocate  20 percent  of  Alaska's                                                            
tobacco settlement  income to this program. She asked  this continue                                                            
to  occur.  She spoke  to  the success  and  importance  of  tobacco                                                            
cessation programs.  She requested to be taxed on  her income so she                                                            
could deduct that amount from her federal income taxes.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ED EARNHART  testified via teleconference  from Anchorage  that some                                                            
legislators  are "mean spirited"  in attitudes  toward the  poor and                                                            
those  who   are  incarcerated.  He   suggested  that  instead   the                                                            
legislature  should develop other  revenue sources. He supported  an                                                            
income  tax applied  to  high-income  earners. He  complained  about                                                            
longevity bonuses paid to wealthier older Alaskans.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
LUKE SULLIVAN,  15 years old, Member,  Alaska Cancer Society,  Youth                                                            
Coalition,  testified via  teleconference from  Anchorage about  the                                                            
misperceptions  of  teenagers who  smoke.  He asserted  these  young                                                            
people are not always from "bad families" and are poor.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
BRITTNEY HUFF,  Alaska Cancer Society, testified via  teleconference                                                            
from Anchorage  to stress the peer pressure at her  school to smoke.                                                            
She  requested  that  20 percent  of  tobacco  settlement  funds  be                                                            
allocated to smoking cessation and prevention programs.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE STURGIS  testified via teleconference from  Anchorage that                                                            
she works  in the child  protection field.  She was encouraged  that                                                            
the proposed funding reductions  are less than approved by the House                                                            
of Representatives,  but she urged  that services could not  be cut.                                                            
She warned of the consequences.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MYRA   CASEY,    22-year   Anchorage    Resident,   testified    via                                                            
teleconference  from  Anchorage  that she  came  to the  State as  a                                                            
single parent  and that her  grown children  are successful  in part                                                            
because she  was able to  receive many services.  She stressed  that                                                            
many adults  in the correction  system were  abused or neglected  as                                                            
children. She  stated that society  owes children the right  to grow                                                            
up in healthy environment.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
TRAVIS ERICKSON testified  via teleconference from Anchorage that he                                                            
has been involved  in child protection  services for many  years. He                                                            
told of his view of social  workers as a tired overworked woman with                                                            
one  arm tied  behind her  back  making her  best  effort to  assist                                                            
children.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Green  stressed the  Senate  Finance  committee  substitute                                                            
includes funding  for every social  worker position as requested  by                                                            
the Governor as well as  $4 million more than the amount approved by                                                            
the House of Representatives.  She furthered that funding for family                                                            
and youth services has increased $4 since the previous year.                                                                    
Mr. Erickson clarified  that he acknowledged and appreciated that no                                                            
funding reduction  would be made to  social worker positions  and to                                                            
the Balloon Project.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Green and  Mr. Erickson  continued debating  the matter  of                                                            
funding for family preservation and substance abuse treatment.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MARILYN  BORELL  testified  via  teleconference  from  Anchorage  to                                                            
encourage the Committee  to fully fund the University of Alaska. She                                                            
stated this is necessary  for those students who could not afford to                                                            
attend school out of State.  She added those who could afford out of                                                            
state tuitions  also  must be considered  to entice  them to  attend                                                            
college in Alaska.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK  LUBY,  American  Association   of  Retired  People  (AARP),                                                            
testified  via  teleconference  from  Anchorage  to  urge  continued                                                            
support   of  the  food   safety  program   in  the  Department   of                                                            
Environmental  Conservation. He told  of the food services  provided                                                            
for  elderly residents,  which  must  be  inspected to  qualify  for                                                            
federal funding.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley informed  this item had been sufficiently funded. He                                                            
noted that  in all  other states,  food inspections  is function  of                                                            
local governments  and asked if witness  agreed this should  be done                                                            
locally.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Luby  stressed he  is not an  expert in the  matter; however  he                                                            
surmised if the duties  were transferred, the argument would be made                                                            
that  the   State  was   placing  an  unfunded   mandate  on   local                                                            
governments.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ERICA  JOSELY,  Social Worker,  testified  via  teleconference  from                                                            
Anchorage to  thank the Committee  for restoring funding  for social                                                            
workers. She was concerned  with lack of a long-term fiscal plan and                                                            
encouraged  such  a plan  rather than  continued  budget  reductions                                                            
because they would affect children.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DON VALESKO,  Business Manager,  Public  Employees Union,  testified                                                            
via teleconference  from Anchorage  that he is optimistic  about the                                                            
future of  the State.  He referenced several  testifiers  requesting                                                            
that funding  not be reduced  for the programs  they represent,  yet                                                            
also  asserted  they  are  willing  to  contribute  to  the  State's                                                            
operating  expenses. He charged  that the  legislature must  "get in                                                            
tune  with  public's  message"  and  develop  a  plan  for  economic                                                            
development.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
STEVE BYE,  Supervisor, Cook Inlet  Tribal Council, welfare  to work                                                            
program,  testified  via teleconference   from Anchorage  about  his                                                            
involvement in  the program. He stated the change  of philosophy has                                                            
reduced the caseload  of public assistance counselors,  but stressed                                                            
further efforts are necessary.  He told of the families still trying                                                            
to  find  work, often  complicated  by  addictions.  He  shared  his                                                            
concern regarding the elimination  of the hold harmless provision of                                                            
the   permanent   fund   dividend   program    in   meeting   income                                                            
qualifications for public assistance benefits.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley  clarified that the  permanent fund dividend  is not                                                            
constitutionally mandated.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
EMILY NENON, American  Cancer Society, testified via  teleconference                                                            
from Anchorage  to thank legislature for creating  the Tobacco Youth                                                            
Education and Cessation  fund. She asserted that tobacco use remains                                                            
the number one cause of preventable death in Alaska.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
EILEEN   THOMPSON,  1994   Graduate,   and  Board   Member,   Alumni                                                            
Association,   University   of   Alaska-Anchorage,   testified   via                                                            
teleconference from Anchorage  to urge fully funding the University.                                                            
She told  of her  two children who  would attend  the University  of                                                            
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
KAREN   HODGE,    "Mental   Illness    Consumer",   testified    via                                                            
teleconference  from Anchorage about  her history in overcoming  her                                                            
illness.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 02 # 65, Side A 07:59 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Hodge continued  that the proposed funding level  for the Alaska                                                            
Mental  Health  Board would  require  the  Board  to hold  one  less                                                            
meeting each  year and she  spoke to the importance  to her  of each                                                            
meeting.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
BONNY HEADLY, Head Start,  University of Alaska-Anchorage, testified                                                            
via teleconference  from  Anchorage  to support  education on  "both                                                            
ends  of the  spectrum"  in  both early  development  and  secondary                                                            
education.  She told of  the difficulties  of teaching with  limited                                                            
resources.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
TRACY ELLSWORTH, voter,  testified via teleconference from Anchorage                                                            
about brain research  as it relates to early education.  She told of                                                            
the benefits  of  healthy environments  for young  children,  giving                                                            
examples of specific children.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
ROCKEY  PLOTNIK,  Chair  Elect,  Alaska  Tobacco  Control  Alliance,                                                            
testified  via teleconference  from  Anchorage  about the  statewide                                                            
organization's comprehensive  plan was budgeted at $8.1 million. She                                                            
stated that the 20 percent  of tobacco settlement funds deposited to                                                            
the Tobacco Use Education  and Cessation Fund would be $6.6 million.                                                            
She urged the Committee maintain this level of funding.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
BRENDA NEWBURN  testified  via teleconference  from Anchorage  about                                                            
the relationship between  children and parents. She noted parenthood                                                            
does not come with a manual.  She told of a bumper sticker "children                                                            
are people too".                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DAVE LANDERD, Lifelong  Alaskan, and small business owner, testified                                                            
via teleconference from  Anchorage that he has "no ax to grind" as a                                                            
social services  representative. However, he asserted  "I think what                                                            
you're doing is  just wrong." He stated he is willing  to pay income                                                            
taxes to support  social services. He warned of the  consequences of                                                            
not providing these services  expressing, "you're going to turn this                                                            
State into the moral equivalent of a car up on blocks."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN TRAPP, testified  via teleconference from Anchorage to warn if                                                            
budget reductions  are made to substance abuse treatment  and mental                                                            
health services  the consequences would be realized  in correctional                                                            
and public  safety  aspects.  She stated  she had  been arrested  83                                                            
times.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
NANCY BUSHEY,  director of a residential  substance abuse  treatment                                                            
center,  testified  via  teleconference  from  Anchorage  about  her                                                            
concerns to reductions to substance abuse treatment programs.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  PENDREY,  treatment   coordinator  at  the  same  residential                                                             
substance  abuse treatment  center, and  President, Alaska  Chemical                                                            
Dependency  Counselors  Association,  testified  via teleconference                                                             
from Anchorage that chemical dependency is a family disease.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ELAINE  DAHLGREN, Director,  Volunteers  of America,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference   from  Anchorage  that  the  organization   provides                                                            
substance  abuse  treatment  to youth.  She  told  of the  trend  of                                                            
increased alcohol  and drug dependency and warned  that not treating                                                            
addictions would only increase this trend.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley thanked the testifiers.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  hoped the members  would remember the testimony  of                                                            
the witnesses  today when  considering amendments  to the  committee                                                            
substitute.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Green reminded  that  the "simplest  computations"  on  the                                                            
increase to the  Department of Health and Social Services  budget is                                                            
$105 million, which she  pointed out, is the amount of the budget of                                                            
up to four other State agencies.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley noted the  $105 million for Department of Health and                                                            
Social Services is required  in a year with a projected $850 million                                                            
deficit. He  stressed that the State  budget in Alaska is  2.7 times                                                            
the national average  in per capita spending, which  is almost twice                                                            
the amount  of the second  highest state.  He furthered that  Alaska                                                            
has the most "generous" entitlement spending.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hoffman  understood but noted  the budget increases  are for                                                            
entitlement  programs  in which  the State  has little  control.  He                                                            
stated  that other  programs,  such as  substance  abuse, where  the                                                            
State  has  control,  must  be  funded  because  of  the  impact  on                                                            
families.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Dave Donley adjourned the meeting at 08:17 PM                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects