Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/27/1995 04:10 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 SSTA - 4/27/95                                                                
 Number 368                                                                    
       SB 118 TAX CREDIT: GIFTS TO PUBLIC BROADCASTING                       
 SENATOR SHARP brings up SB 118 as the next order of business before           
 the Senate State Affairs Committee and calls the first witness.               
 Number 373                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON, prime sponsor of SB 118, informs the committee             
 that SB 118 is an attempt to plug some of the gaps in funding for             
 public broadcasting that were created by budget cuts.  The original           
 intent of the bill was to allow up to a $100,000 tax credit.  It is           
 his intent to create a true public-private partnership in the face            
 of declining revenue.  Senator Torgerson understands there might be           
 a motion to adopt the house version of this legislation, which is             
 quite different from SB 118.                                                  
 Number 390                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN states he has not seen a proposed committee                     
 CHAIRMAN SHARP does not have one either.                                      
 SENATOR LEMAN comments that SB 118 seems to be reasonably                     
 consistent with existing tax credits.  But if it [the house                   
 version?] is substantially different, he would want to give it                
 careful scrutiny.                                                             
 SENATOR TORGERSON states it [the house version?] will increase the            
 amount available for a tax credit to $350,000, and includes other             
 categories.  It also has a sunset at five years.                              
 SENATOR LEMAN asks if it [the house version?] keeps the credit at             
 50% of the amount given.                                                      
 SENATOR TORGERSON replies he would have to defer to his staff on              
 that question.                                                                
 Number 427                                                                    
 BOB BARTHOLOMEW, Deputy Director of the Income & Excise Audit                 
 Division, Department of Revenue, informs the committee that there             
 is currently in statute a provision for taking a tax credit for               
 contributions to postsecondary educational institutions.  This bill           
 would expand that credit to cover public broadcasting                         
 contributions.  The estimated fiscal impact of SB 118 is about                
 $845,000.  This figure is included in the department's fiscal note.           
 CHAIRMAN SHARP asks what amount was taken for education credits               
 last year.                                                                    
 MR. BARTHOLOMEW responds that $944,000 in education tax credits               
 were taken last year.                                                         
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks Ms. Kaplan to convey her concerns to              
 the committee.                                                                
 Number 460                                                                    
 DIANE KAPLAN, KOAHNIC Broadcasting Corporation, states the purpose            
 of SB 118 is to encourage increased private contributions from                
 corporations in Alaska.  The goal is to begin an endowment fund to            
 begin to replace some of the state funding that has been lost over            
 the last ten years, and to preserve essential services throughout             
 the state.  The house version of the bill that was adopted                    
 originally had a $500,000 cap, with no sunset date.  The committee            
 substitute that was reported from the House Finance Committee                 
 places a $350,000 maximum on tax credits, with a five-year sunset             
 provision.  It also includes the fish-landing tax as one of the               
 eligible taxes.  We consider this to be the most important piece of           
 legislation for public broadcasting this year: in addition to                 
 encouraging new private contributions, it also increases the                  
 ability of corporations to donate to higher education.  Ms. Kaplan            
 hopes that the Senate State Affairs Committee will adopt a senate             
 committee substitute that matches the house version of the bill.              
 She thinks it is important that public broadcasting and higher                
 education not be put in competition for the same level of                     
 Number 483                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN asks, why not allow for donations to primary and                
 secondary education, in addition to donations for postsecondary               
 Number 499                                                                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS comments he would like to keep the bill                
 moving, and asks if a committee substitute can be presented when              
 the bill is in the Finance Committee.                                         
 CHAIRMAN SHARP adds that he would be more comfortable moving the              
 original bill, than something he hasn't seen.                                 
 Number 510                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN states he is not on the Finance Committee, and he               
 thinks the committee should consider expanding SB 118 to include              
 contributions towards primary and secondary education.                        
 CHAIRMAN SHARP notes that any diversion from the general fund is a            
 dilution of funds available for appropriation.                                
 Number 545                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN states he intends to offer an amendment to include K-           
 12 education in the state.                                                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks if that would be constitutional,                  
 especially if the money was contributed to a private, religious               
 SENATOR LEMAN responds that it's not unconstitutional to make tax-            
 deductible contributions to a church.                                         
 SENATOR TORGERSON adds that Senator Leman's suggestion would also             
 require a title change.                                                       
 Number 563                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN SHARP states he would just as soon hold the bill over to             
 work on those suggestions, if it is the desire of the committee to            
 make such substantial changes to the bill.                                    
 Number 567                                                                    
 MS. KAPLAN expresses concern that if too many items, or even any              
 other beneficiaries are added to SB 118, it would so dilute the               
 amount of money that would go to any one entity, that it would not            
 make a meaningful difference.  She also thinks adding on other                
 items would make it harder to pass the bill.                                  
 Number 580                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN expresses disagreement with Ms. Kaplan's previous               
 CHAIRMAN SHARP states the committee will hear SB 118 again, as soon           
 as the committee substitute for the bill is prepared.                         

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