Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/02/2003 09:50 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
     SENATE BILL NO. 100                                                                                                        
     "An  Act making capital  appropriations  and reappropriations;                                                             
     capitalizing a fund;  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."                                                                                                           
Senator Taylor moved for adoption of CS SB 100, 23-GS1003\Q, as a                                                               
working document.                                                                                                               
Without objection the committee substitute was ADOPTED.                                                                         
Co-Chair  Wilken pointed  out that  the Governor's  proposed  budget                                                            
contained  approximately  $133.95  million  general  funds  and  the                                                            
committee substitute would  appropriate approximately $130.9 million                                                            
general  funds.  He  furthered  that the  budget  contained  in  the                                                            
committee  substitute would  increase federal  fund expenditures  by                                                            
approximately $61 million,  and reduce "other funds" expenditures by                                                            
approximately $40 million.                                                                                                      
Co-Chair Wilken remarked  that "all opportunities" to secure federal                                                            
funds with  matching  State funds  would be utilized  in the  budget                                                            
contained in the committee substitute.                                                                                          
Co-Chair Wilken directed  attention to reports distributed: Election                                                            
District  Summary,   Project  Comparison,  and  Project   Detail  by                                                            
Election District [copies on file.]                                                                                             
ANNE  PASCH,  Anchorage   Museum  Natural  History,   testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from  Anchorage   about  the  abundance  of  natural                                                            
history artifacts  in the State. She noted the museum  is requesting                                                            
funds to remodel  to accommodate "Libby" one of the  oldest finds in                                                            
North America from mountains  near Talkeetna. She expressed interest                                                            
in promoting  education and  attempts to  secure federal funding  to                                                            
provide this opportunity.                                                                                                       
DEAN  ALLEN,  Snow  Travelers,  testified  via  teleconference  from                                                            
Fairbanks about  snowmachine registration  funds and trail  projects                                                            
that were eliminated from  the governor's budget request. He told of                                                            
the  self-sufficiency   of  the  program  and  the  support  of  the                                                            
registration  program based on the  understanding that the  revenues                                                            
would  be  utilized  for  trail  maintenance  and  construction.  He                                                            
understood  administration costs were  necessary and suggested  that                                                            
funding be provided  for one-half of an existing position  utilizing                                                            
registration fee revenues to undertake administrative functions.                                                                
DR.  DOUG  STARK  testified  via  teleconference  from  Homer  about                                                            
$500,000  needed  for  land  acquisition  to  construct  a  building                                                            
important  to the university  system.  He noted  that voters  in the                                                            
previous general election approved bonding authority.                                                                           
MERRITT  MITCHELL,  Homer Campus  Advisory  Council,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Homer in support of the capital  budget for the                                                            
University  of Alaska. He told of  parking requirements for  a newly                                                            
constructed  facility, which  has "been  on the  books" for over  12                                                            
Co-Chair  Wilken  highlighted   five  components  of  the  committee                                                            
substitute as follows.                                                                                                          
     Major Differences in the Governor's Capital Budget and the                                                                 
     Senate Finance Committee Substitute                                                                                        
     1) Department of Community and Economic Development                                                                        
        · The Kodiak Launch site was reduced by $26 million due to                                                              
          a  shortage   in  federal  receipts  available   for  that                                                            
     2) Department of Education and Early Development                                                                           
        · The People's Learning Center was reduced by $1 million.                                                               
          This  project  received  $900,000  in  the FY  03  capital                                                            
          budget.  We were told that  this was the amount  needed to                                                            
          show the State's support                                                                                              
     3) Department of Natural Resources                                                                                         
        · Rejected $2,500,000 in federal receipt authority under                                                                
          the  National Coastal Wetland Conservation Grants Program.                                                            
          These  funds were  earmarked for  the purchase of  private                                                            
          land on Afognak Island.                                                                                               
     4) Department of Public Safety                                                                                             
        · Increased the Department's CIP [Capital Improvement                                                                   
          Project]  request  for  Aircraft  and  Vessel  Repair  and                                                            
          Maintenance  by $425,000  in order to provide maintenance                                                             
          for the Wolstad.                                                                                                      
        · Cut the Fairbanks Roof Replacement Project in half with                                                               
          the  understanding  that the remainder  will be funded  in                                                            
          the  FY 05 capital budget. This will provide  a savings in                                                            
          this  budget  and result  in the Department's  ability  to                                                            
          make  the necessary repairs without a  considerable delay.                                                            
     5) Department of Transportation and Public Facilities                                                                      
        · Cut the request for $1 million in general funds for the                                                               
          North  Slope Oilfield Connector  Roads and Colville  River                                                            
          Bridge   and fully  funded   the  Governor's  $10  million                                                            
          request  for the evaluation  and potential development  of                                                            
          Industrial Access Roads and Community Access Roads.                                                                   
Co-Chair  Wilken   indicated  Governor  Murkowski's   road  plan  as                                                            
demonstrated on a map [copy on file.]                                                                                           
Senator   Hoffman  restated   statements   he   made  the   previous                                                            
legislative  session  that  the maintenance   and operation  of  the                                                            
People's Learning  Center in Bethel would not be the  responsibility                                                            
of the State,  but rather would be  undertaken locally. He  informed                                                            
that groundbreaking  would  occur on this  facility with or  without                                                            
additional  State funding. He surmised  that the recent decision  to                                                            
"take  a  second look"  at  this  facility  and  reconsider  further                                                            
participation  could be warranted  but stressed this region  has the                                                            
highest unemployment and  lowest achievement record in the State. He                                                            
suggested that  such reconsideration  is paramount to "ignoring  the                                                            
problem".  He  expressed pride  in  the achievements   made in  this                                                            
region and the initiative  taken to improve the quality of education                                                            
and employment  of residents in an area with the lowest  standard of                                                            
living in  Alaska. He asserted  that it would  behoove the  State to                                                            
support  this  project  and should  have  "taken  the lead  on  this                                                            
Senator  Hoffman understood  the State contributed  $900,000  at his                                                            
"insistence"  the previous  legislative session,  but stressed  that                                                            
the $1 request  for this budget was  made by the Governor's  Office.                                                            
He  told  of  local  residents  convincing   the  Governor  of  this                                                            
program's  importance  and  surmised   that  the Governor   included                                                            
funding in  his proposed  budget because,  "he felt strongly  enough                                                            
about that project."                                                                                                            
Senator  Hoffman  noted the  State  funds would  be  used to  obtain                                                            
federal  funds and  reiterated  the  co-chair's statement  that  all                                                            
federal funds would be secured.                                                                                                 
Senator  Hoffman   indicated  he   would  further  comment   on  the                                                            
distribution  of capital funds  to various  election districts  at a                                                            
later date.                                                                                                                     
Co-Chair  Wilken  understood  that  the  Bethel  facility  does  not                                                            
require matching  funds. Although  he "applauded" the progress  made                                                            
with the  Bethel project;  however, he expressed  concern that  once                                                            
the federal  funding sources "dry  up" maintenance would  become the                                                            
responsibility of the State.                                                                                                    
Senator Hoffman  clarified the co-chair's opening  statement did not                                                            
specify required match.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair  Wilken noted amendments  would be  considered at  the next                                                            
Co-Chair Gary Wilken adjourned the meeting at 10:11 AM                                                                          

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