Legislature(2019 - 2020)SENATE FINANCE 532

03/18/2020 01:00 PM FINANCE

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01:05:22 PM Start
01:05:45 PM Public Testimony: Anchorage, Mat-su, Offnets
02:39:37 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
- Anchorage, Mat-Su, Offnets:
Sign Up by 2:30 p.m.
**Please Note: All Public Testimony Will be via
Telephone Only. No In-Person Testimony.
From Juneau: 586-9085, Anchorage: 563-9085
Outside Juneau or Anchorage: 844-586-9085
Written Testimony Will be Accepted at:
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
SENATE BILL NO. 154                                                                                                           
     "An  Act   making  appropriations,   including  capital                                                                    
     appropriations,       supplemental      appropriations,                                                                    
     reappropriations,  and   other  appropriations;  making                                                                    
     appropriations to  capitalize funds; and  providing for                                                                    
     an effective date."                                                                                                        
CS  FOR HOUSE  BILL NO.  205(FIN)(Corrected) am(brf  sup maj                                                                  
     "An  Act making  appropriations for  the operating  and                                                                    
     loan  program  expenses  of state  government  and  for                                                                    
     certain    programs;    capitalizing   funds;    making                                                                    
     supplemental  appropriations;  and   providing  for  an                                                                    
     effective date."                                                                                                           
^PUBLIC TESTIMONY: ANCHORAGE, MAT-SU, OFFNETS                                                                                 
1:05:45 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair von Imhof OPENED public testimony.                                                                                     
CARRI  HARRIS,  SELF,  ANCHOR  POINT  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
supported payment  of a full Permanent  Fund Dividend (PFD).                                                                    
She  expressed dissatisfaction  with  the  legislature as  a                                                                    
1:07:16 PM                                                                                                                    
LEILA  KHEIRY, SELF,  KETCHIKAN (via  teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in support  of funding for  public radio. She was  a general                                                                    
manager of the public radio  station in Ketchikan. She noted                                                                    
that  Ketchikan had  its first  local case  of the  COVID-19                                                                    
virus the previous day. She  stressed that the radio station                                                                    
continued to provide important  information to the community                                                                    
regarding  the  pandemic.  She commented  on  the  financial                                                                    
impact  of the  pandemic.  She discussed  the importance  of                                                                    
shared public health information through the public radio.                                                                      
1:09:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MELISSA  GUDOBBA, SELF,  WASILLA (via  teleconference), felt                                                                    
that  many of  the things  in  the budget  were "feel  good"                                                                    
funds.  She  was  concerned that  lower  income  individuals                                                                    
would  suffer  inordinately  during the  pandemic.  She  was                                                                    
concerned about  lack of supplies  during the  public health                                                                    
crisis. She  supported a full  statutory PFD.  She supported                                                                    
public  media.  She  thought that  budget  cuts  could  save                                                                    
1:12:11 PM                                                                                                                    
BERNON   HALTER,   MAYOR,   MATSU   BOROUGH,   WILLOW   (via                                                                    
teleconference),  supported school  bond debt  reimbursement                                                                    
at the  70/30 level.  He detailed that  a 50/50  split would                                                                    
add to  the taxes  paid by  residents. He  supported funding                                                                    
for  the  Community  Assistance Program.  He  supported  the                                                                    
Willow Community Library Project,  for which he wanted funds                                                                    
transferred from the Talkeetna Library Project.                                                                                 
Senator Wilson thanked Mr. Halter for his testimony.                                                                            
1:14:58 PM                                                                                                                    
MELANIE   LESH,   SELF,   GUSTAVUS   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified in  support of public broadcasting.  She asked the                                                                    
committee  to support  and to  increase  funding to  support                                                                    
public  television,  which  offered vital  programming  like                                                                    
Gavel  to Gavel.  She asked  to  restore funds  to the  2016                                                                    
level. She  thought public broadcasting  was a  vital public                                                                    
service.  She  had  always  been  a  contributor  to  public                                                                    
broadcasting,   which  provided   the  only   radio  service                                                                    
available in her community. She  supported an income tax and                                                                    
a sales tax to support funding for public services.                                                                             
1:17:07 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  ERICSON,  CITY  AND   BOROUGH  MANAGER,  YAKUTAT  (via                                                                    
teleconference),   supported  funding   for  the   Community                                                                    
Assistance  Program and  the  Alaska  Marine Highway  System                                                                    
(AMHS).  He relayed  that the  city had  police cars  it had                                                                    
purchased in  Anchorage that it  was trying to  transport to                                                                    
Yakutat. He  had recently attended  a meeting of  the Alaska                                                                    
Municipal  League and  had discussed  use  of the  Permanent                                                                    
Fund. He supported continuation of  the fund into the future                                                                    
by  saving money  now to  ensure  funds for  the future.  He                                                                    
mentioned three  wells contaminated with PFAS,  on DOT land,                                                                    
near the  airport in his  community. He shared that  DOT was                                                                    
currently shipping  bottled water to  the hotel in  the area                                                                    
for  drinking and  cooking  but that  the  problem could  be                                                                    
solved with sewer and water extensions.                                                                                         
1:19:46 PM                                                                                                                    
JONATHON  GORDAOFF,  SELF,   WASILLA  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
supported a more austere budget.                                                                                                
1:20:44 PM                                                                                                                    
KENT   BANKS,  RURAL   ALASKA   COMMUNITY  ACTION   PROGRAM,                                                                    
ANCHORAGE   (via  teleconference),   testified  in   support                                                                    
funding for low income  weatherization programs. He asserted                                                                    
that numerous low-income  Alaskans needed weatherization for                                                                    
their homes  to reduce their utility  burden, promote indoor                                                                    
air quality,  and reduce mold.  He stated that  Rural Alaska                                                                    
Community  Action  Program   (Rural  CAP)  sought  continued                                                                    
funding of  weatherization programs.  He continued  that DOE                                                                    
funding limits  per home  were not  adequate to  support the                                                                    
necessary  infrastructure required  to  provide services  in                                                                    
most  rural locations  without additional  funding from  the                                                                    
state.  He insisted  that  a combination  of  DOE and  state                                                                    
funds was  necessary to cover  additional costs  of freight,                                                                    
storage,   and  disposal   of   debris  for   weatherization                                                                    
projects, as  well as the  many other costs  associated with                                                                    
construction  in  remote  locations. He  stressed  that  the                                                                    
weatherization program had a  proven pay-back record through                                                                    
reduced energy  usage and improved  health of  occupants. He                                                                    
expounded  upon  the   various  benefits  of  weatherization                                                                    
programs  in  rural  Alaska. He  stated  that  rising  water                                                                    
levels and melting permafrost  were exacerbating problems in                                                                    
rural  areas  of  the state.  He  said  that  weatherization                                                                    
helped maintain the integrity of homes in rural Alaska.                                                                         
Co-Chair von  Imhof reminded that written  comments could be                                                                    
submitted by email.                                                                                                             
1:23:58 PM                                                                                                                    
VICKI O'BRIAN,  KRBD RADIO, KETCHIKAN  (via teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in  support  of  public   radio.  She  was  self-                                                                    
quarantined  after  being  exposed  to  an  individual  with                                                                    
COVID-19.  She  thought  there was  a  diminished  level  of                                                                    
integrity  coming   from  the   media  and   emphasized  the                                                                    
importance  of good,  factual, information.  She highlighted                                                                    
that the public  provides funding for public  radio, but she                                                                    
stressed  the   importance  that  the  state   also  provide                                                                    
financial assistance.                                                                                                           
1:26:18 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID   JACKSON,  SELF,   ANCHORAGE  (via   teleconference),                                                                    
supported funding for public  broadcasting and education. He                                                                    
thought  the   demand  for   public  media   would  increase                                                                    
throughout  the  state as  the  COVID-19  virus became  more                                                                    
widespread. He  expounded on the various  programs available                                                                    
through public  broadcasting and stressed that  public media                                                                    
educated the public regardless of economic status.                                                                              
1:27:55 PM                                                                                                                    
DEENA  MITCHELL,  ANCHORAGE  SCHOOL  BOARD,  ANCHORAGE  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke  in  support of  public  media.  She                                                                    
supported funding  for K-12 education. She  relayed that the                                                                    
Anchorage  School  District  (ASD) was  supporting  students                                                                    
currently  through providing  meals,  nursing services,  and                                                                    
student support. She emphasized  that the continuous cuts to                                                                    
the district  since 2011 and lamented  stagnant test scores.                                                                    
She thought  it was not possible  to do more with  less. She                                                                    
asked for  restoration of the  one-time $30  million outside                                                                    
the Base Student Allocation (BSA).  She testified that ASD's                                                                    
many students  with behavior  issues from  Adverse Childhood                                                                    
Experiences (ACES) could not get  needed services because of                                                                    
budget cuts.                                                                                                                    
1:30:35 PM                                                                                                                    
KRISTEN   MITCHELL,   SELF,  KENAI   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified in  support of restored funding  for public media.                                                                    
She   acknowledged  the   public  health   crisis  and   the                                                                    
importance that  people have access  to accurate  and timely                                                                    
information.  She mentioned  that the  public health  crisis                                                                    
was  making  fundraising   impossible,  which  would  impact                                                                    
public media negatively.                                                                                                        
1:32:15 PM                                                                                                                    
WAYNE ADERHOLD,  PRESIDENT, BOARD OF DIRECTORS,  KBBI PUBLIC                                                                    
RADIO,  HOMER (via  teleconference),  expressed support  for                                                                    
public  radio. He  lamented  that the  station  had been  in                                                                    
deficit  spending  in  2019  and  was  greatly  in  need  of                                                                    
additional funding. He shared  that the station had recently                                                                    
formalized  its  association  with   the  city  and  borough                                                                    
emergency  departments  to  be directly  involved  in  their                                                                    
information networks during any  type of public emergency or                                                                    
disaster.  He  relayed  that  public  radio  relayed  public                                                                    
service  announcements  regarding  the  COVID-19  virus.  He                                                                    
relayed  that  the  station sought  funding  elsewhere  when                                                                    
appropriate but counted on additional state funding.                                                                            
1:34:20 PM                                                                                                                    
[Co-Chair von Imhof handed the gavel to Senator Wilson]                                                                         
STEPHANIE   JURRIES,  SELF,   CRAIG  (via   teleconference),                                                                    
supported funding  for shellfish  testing. She  expounded on                                                                    
the benefits of  the geoduck industry in Alaska.  She did no                                                                    
support  increased  fees  for  the  shellfish  fishery.  She                                                                    
supported  public radio  funding. She  stressed that  public                                                                    
radio was critical to small communities.                                                                                        
1:36:06 PM                                                                                                                    
MOLLY    MATTINGLY,   RECOVER    ALASKA,   ANCHORAGE    (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke in support  additional funding in the                                                                    
capital  project  for   construction  of  alcohol  treatment                                                                    
facilities.  She discussed  Recover Alaska  and relayed  the                                                                    
services they provided in the  state. She cited that alcohol                                                                    
was the states   Number One health concern.  She shared that                                                                    
funds   had   been   appropriated  for   alcohol   treatment                                                                    
facilities  in  FY19,  the  funds had  been  vetoed  by  the                                                                    
governor.  She   reminded  that   the  need   for  treatment                                                                    
facilities  had not  decreased in  the last  year and  urged                                                                    
funding in  the Capital  Budget to support  construction for                                                                    
facilities. She  cited a McDowell  Group report  that listed                                                                    
the annual  financial burden  from alcohol  to the  state at                                                                    
$2.4 billion.                                                                                                                   
1:38:31 PM                                                                                                                    
MARTIN  ATROS,  SELF,   EAGLE  RIVER  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
testified in  support of funding  for public media.  He used                                                                    
public  media for  access to  public health  information and                                                                    
education.  He  thought  that the  recent  outbreak  of  the                                                                    
COVID-19  virus had  taught that  government was  needed. He                                                                    
continued that the virus did  not respect any boundaries and                                                                    
all  individuals, at  every age,  needed to  be reached.  He                                                                    
stressed  the  importance  of science  and  access  to  that                                                                    
critical information. He supported a state income tax.                                                                          
1:40:57 PM                                                                                                                    
FREDRICH  ZIMMERMAN, SELF,  ANCHORAGE (via  teleconference),                                                                    
supported payment  of the  full PFD.  He thought  the budget                                                                    
was too  big. He thought  that the most important  thing for                                                                    
the people of Alaska was a full PFD.                                                                                            
1:42:47 PM                                                                                                                    
KJ   WARBEY,  SOUTH   CENTRAL  FOUNDATION,   ANCHORAGE  (via                                                                    
teleconference), spoke  in support of funding  for addiction                                                                    
services.  She thought  the legislature  knew  the value  of                                                                    
mental  health and  addiction  services.  She mentioned  the                                                                    
Medicaid 1115 waiver, which  would expand Medicaid services.                                                                    
She  detailed the  benefits of  the expansion.  She asserted                                                                    
that it  cost less  to provide  good behavioral  health care                                                                    
than not.  She asked  support for  designating funds  in the                                                                    
capital budget for mental and behavioral health services.                                                                       
1:44:58 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM   ABBOTT,   SELF,   PETERSBURG   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in support  of funding  for the  AMHS and  public                                                                    
media. He  emphasized the importance  of public  media radio                                                                    
on  public  health. He  emphasized  how  far invested  funds                                                                    
could  go when  utilized by  public media.  He detailed  the                                                                    
informational work being  done to update the  community on a                                                                    
daily basis. He  stressed the importance of  public radio in                                                                    
rural Alaska.                                                                                                                   
1:47:37 PM                                                                                                                    
ANDY  HOLLERMAN,   SELF,  ANCHORAGE   (via  teleconference),                                                                    
supported funding for education.  He worried about cuts that                                                                    
would  eliminate heath  teachers in  elementary schools.  He                                                                    
requested  restoration  of  the  $30  million  in  education                                                                    
funding  outside of  the BSA.  He supported  a state  income                                                                    
tax.  He stressed  the need  for  the state  to explore  new                                                                    
revenue sources.                                                                                                                
1:48:47 PM                                                                                                                    
BODDY   DORTON,   SELF,  FAIRBANKS   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
supported  funding   for  reentry  services   and  treatment                                                                    
centers.  He  discussed  his   personal  experience  with  a                                                                    
reentry program. He  shared that through the  program he had                                                                    
acquired  his   GED  and  had   become  a   substance  abuse                                                                    
counselor.  He  stressed  that  it  was  very  important  to                                                                    
continue funding for substance use disorder treatment.                                                                          
1:51:02 PM                                                                                                                    
BILL TREMBLAY, KFFK  RADIO, PETERSBURG (via teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in  support of  public  radio  and the  AMHS.  He                                                                    
discussed  the   importance  of   using  public   radio  for                                                                    
informing the  public about COVID-19 public  health updates.                                                                    
He  expressed concern  that public  radio was  informing the                                                                    
public about state services but  was not being funded by the                                                                    
state. He  stressed the importance  of public radio  for the                                                                    
health of  the fishing industry.  He thought the  AMHS could                                                                    
be managed better to ensure  better service and function. He                                                                    
supported an income tax.                                                                                                        
1:53:54 PM                                                                                                                    
DEBORAH  JEFFERY,  SELF,   ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
spoke in support  of funding for public media  and the AMHS.                                                                    
She thought  it was criminal to  do away with the  AMHS. She                                                                    
lamented the  hiring of  Donna Arduin  as OMB  director. She                                                                    
testified in strong support for  public media. She mentioned                                                                    
local  news, health  and safety  issues,  and other  reasons                                                                    
that public  media was important.  She and her  husband were                                                                    
contributors  to the  local radio  station. She  supported a                                                                    
state  income  tax. She  thought  the  state had  made  many                                                                    
unwise  financial decisions.  She did  not feel  that former                                                                    
Governor  Jay  Hammond  would agree  with  the  current  PFD                                                                    
1:56:16 PM                                                                                                                    
STAR  MARSETT,   ANCHORAGE  SCHOOL  BOARD,   ANCHORAGE  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  spoke  in  favor  of  increased  education                                                                    
funding. She thought  the state needed a  source of revenue.                                                                    
She  discussed  efficiencies  and  cuts  made  in  ASD.  The                                                                    
district  was looking  at ways  to offer  the same  services                                                                    
with less  money. She urged  that the committee  consider an                                                                    
increase to the Base  Student Allocation (BSA). She stressed                                                                    
that all costs to the  districts had increased while funding                                                                    
had remained flat.                                                                                                              
1:58:08 PM                                                                                                                    
ELIZABETH  JOSEPH,  SELF, KONGIGANAK  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
supported funding  for therapeutic courts and  substance use                                                                    
disorder   treatment.  She   supported  additional   funding                                                                    
substance use  disorders. She  relayed that  substance abuse                                                                    
disorders  affected families  through  the generations.  She                                                                    
stressed  that  healthy  children  grew  up  to  be  healthy                                                                    
1:59:27 PM                                                                                                                    
JEROME  CHRISTIANSEN,  SELF,  JUNEAU  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
spoke in support of funding for  the AMHS. He asked that the                                                                    
legislature  consider an  income  tax to  raise revenue  for                                                                    
state services.                                                                                                                 
2:00:10 PM                                                                                                                    
JIM ALEXANDER, SELF,  HOLLIS (via teleconference), testified                                                                    
in support  of the fishing industry  in the state. He  was a                                                                    
geoduck  diver  and shared  that  geoducks  were a  valuable                                                                    
resource  for  Alaska  and  China   and  that  the  industry                                                                    
employed many  people. He was  opposed to the increase  in a                                                                    
geoduck tax.                                                                                                                    
2:03:52 PM                                                                                                                    
BERT  HOUGHTALING,  SELF,  BIG  LAKE  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
expressed distress at  taking money from the PFD  to pay for                                                                    
special interests. He  said that mental health  needed to be                                                                    
 taken  care of.   He  lamented that  people  were often  on                                                                    
welfare  for   generations.  He  opined  the   many  special                                                                    
interests in  Alaska and suggested that  the legislature was                                                                    
controlled by the Recall Dunleavey campaign.                                                                                    
2:04:35 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID   SCHMID,   SELF,  ANCHORAGE   (via   teleconference),                                                                    
testified  in support  of keeping  money in  the budget  for                                                                    
public radio. He referenced  the previous speaker's comments                                                                    
about  special  interest  groups   and  thought  some  might                                                                    
consider public  radio a special interest.  He stressed that                                                                    
public  radio kept  the public  informed. He  encouraged the                                                                    
committee to  consider what public  media did for  the state                                                                    
and   those  that   were   disconnected,  especially   those                                                                    
individuals that  were quarantined.  He supported  using the                                                                    
Permanent  Fund to  fund government.  He  supported a  state                                                                    
income tax.                                                                                                                     
2:06:52 PM                                                                                                                    
ABBE    HENSLEY,    BEST    BEGINNINGS,    ANCHORAGE    (via                                                                    
teleconference),  supported  funding   for  early  childhood                                                                    
programs  including: Parents  as Teachers,  Head Start,  and                                                                    
Best Beginnings.  She discussed  the brain  development that                                                                    
took place in early  childhood. She discussed the importance                                                                    
of reading to  and with children. She discussed  the work of                                                                    
the Imagination Library.                                                                                                        
2:09:32 PM                                                                                                                    
JENNIFER  CANFIELD, KTOO  BOARD  OF  DIRECTORS, JUNEAU  (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified  in favor  of funding  for public                                                                    
media. She praised the services  provided by public media to                                                                    
the people in the state.                                                                                                        
2:10:40 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
2:31:40 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Wilson maintained control the gavel.                                                                                    
BARBARA   MONGAR,  MATSU   REENTRY  COALITION,   MATSU  (via                                                                    
teleconference),  discussed  the  mission and  work  of  the                                                                    
coalition. She  testified in favor  of funding  to establish                                                                    
the  statewide reentry  programs  within  the Department  of                                                                    
Corrections.  She  stressed   the  importance  of  providing                                                                    
services to those transitioning  from the prison system back                                                                    
into society.                                                                                                                   
2:33:55 PM                                                                                                                    
BARBARA MORGAN, SELF,  KETCHIKAN (via teleconference), spoke                                                                    
in  support  of  increased  funding for  public  radio,  the                                                                    
University,  and  the  AMHS. She  emphasized  the  need  for                                                                    
current an  accurate information for the  public. She worked                                                                    
for the University  system and stressed the  importance of a                                                                    
strong  statewide   education  system.  She   discussed  the                                                                    
importance of the University and  the adverse effects of the                                                                    
COVID-19  public health  crisis.  She lamented  the lack  of                                                                    
ferry services  for Alaskans.  She said  that lack  of ferry                                                                    
service was detrimental to coastal communities.                                                                                 
2:36:14 PM                                                                                                                    
NATHAN  HILL,  LAKE  AND PENINSULA  BOROUGH,  KOKHANOK  (via                                                                    
teleconference), testified  in support  of school  bond debt                                                                    
reimbursement. He  praised the committee for  adding funding                                                                    
in  the supplemental  budget  for  the Community  Assistance                                                                    
Program. He relayed  that since 2014, the  district had made                                                                    
timely payments  on the  $20 million,  20-year bond;  if the                                                                    
state reimburses only  50 percent in 2020,  the borough will                                                                    
be under-reimbursed  by $1.5  million, which  represented an                                                                    
under-reimbursement  of   nearly  an  entire  year   of  tax                                                                    
revenue. He said  that the borough had approved  the bond in                                                                    
good faith  that the state  would keep  up their end  of the                                                                    
deal.  He reiterated  his encouragement  of the  full school                                                                    
bond debt reimbursement.                                                                                                        
SB  154  was  HEARD  and   HELD  in  committee  for  further                                                                    
CSHB 205(FIN)(Corrected)  am(brf sup maj fld)  was HEARD and                                                                    
HELD in committee for further consideration.                                                                                    
Senator Wilson  discussed the agenda for  the following day,                                                                    
which would include further public testimony.                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects