Legislature(2009 - 2010)

04/13/2010 09:46 AM FIN


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HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 21                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Creating and relating to the Economic Development                                                                          
     Planning Commission.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:46:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROB RULE,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE  HERRON, stated that  HCR 21                                                                   
is  sponsored by  the House  Community  and Regional  Affairs                                                                   
Committee.  He explained  that the  legislation would  create                                                                   
an  eleven member  task  force from  the  public and  private                                                                   
sectors to make  recommendations to the state  in its efforts                                                                   
to support economic  development. The commission  would serve                                                                   
as  a  filter  and  a bridge  to  assist  the  state  through                                                                   
economic development  processes. He  referred to  the handout                                                                   
"HCR  21   -  Creating   an  Economic  Development   Planning                                                                   
Commission"(copy   on   file).  He   noted   that  page   two                                                                   
summarizes   the  current   statewide  economic   development                                                                   
processes  as the Alaska  Forward Project  led by the  Alaska                                                                   
Partnership  for  Economic Development  (APED).  He  reported                                                                   
that APED  completed phase  1 of  the project; a  situational                                                                   
analysis   of  the   economic  development   in  Alaska.   In                                                                   
addition,   the    governor's   Legacy   Plan    created   by                                                                   
administrative  order under  Governor Palin  is also  part of                                                                   
the  economic development  process. The  Legacy Plan  created                                                                   
working  groups to  study  Alaska industries,  e.g.  tourism,                                                                   
mining,  etc. He  indicated  the  Alaska Forward  and  Legacy                                                                   
projects will merge in the future.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
He referred to  page 3 that defines the  Economic Development                                                                   
Planning Commission  eleven member structure  and appointment                                                                   
authority.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     · One State Representative appointed by House Speaker                                                                      
     · One State Senator appointed by Senate President                                                                          
     · Two Public Members appointed by House Finance Chairs                                                                     
     · Two Public Members appointed by Senate Finance                                                                           
        Chairs                                                                                                                  
     · One Public Member appointed by House Minority Leader                                                                     
     · One Public Member appointed by Senate Minority                                                                           
        Leader                                                                                                                  
     · DCCED Commissioner appointed by Resolution                                                                               
     · DLWD Commissioner appointed by Resolution                                                                                
     · President of APED appointed by Resolution                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr.  Rule  cited  page 4;  possible  recommendations  to  the                                                                   
legislature by the  commission. He noted that  the commission                                                                   
could identify  financial  tools such as  loan programs,  tax                                                                   
incentives  and   other  policies  to  nurture   industry  in                                                                   
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
He relayed the commissions Timelines listed on page 5.                                                                          
     · April 30,2010: Commission Begins Work                                                                                    
     · Spring 2010: Alaska Forward Phase II Launches                                                                            
     · January 30, 2011: First Legislative Report Deadline                                                                      
     · December 15, 2011: Second Report Deadline                                                                                
     · June 30, 2012: Sunset                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He concluded  that page  6 identifies  the need for  cohesion                                                                   
for economic planning and development in Alaska.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:51:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hawker  wondered if the  commission is it  too large                                                                   
to be efficient.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ERIN  HARRINGTON,  STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE  AUSTERMAN,  stated                                                                   
that  the size  of the  commission represents  an attempt  to                                                                   
draw members from all sectors of industry.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Hawker  opined   that  it  is   a  well   balanced                                                                   
commission.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Stoltze asked  what  would happen  with a  minority                                                                   
appointment  if   one  legislative   body  did  not   have  a                                                                   
recognized minority.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Rule  did not  know the answer.  He stated that  scenario                                                                   
was not anticipated.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:53:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Harrington  offered that  the minority appointments  were                                                                   
added by the Labor and Commerce Committee.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze  stated that  he asked the question  because                                                                   
the uniform rule describes what a minority is.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:53:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Thomas  asked  where   the  commission's  efforts                                                                   
would  be  concentrated.  He  expressed  concern  that  rural                                                                   
Alaska might  be overlooked. Ms.  Harrington related  that in                                                                   
reviewing  the   work  done  previously  by   Alaska  Forward                                                                   
considerable  attention  was  paid  to  the  needs  of  rural                                                                   
Alaska. She  expected continued  attention to rural  Alaska's                                                                   
needs   because  APEC   is  comprised   of  Alaska   Regional                                                                   
Development  Organizations  (ARDOR).  ARDOR's  membership  is                                                                   
regionally  distributed throughout  the  state that  includes                                                                   
representation in rural Alaska.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Thomas reiterated his concerns.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:56:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Foster wondered  what efforts the  commission                                                                   
would make  to ensure  that rural Alaska  is included  in the                                                                   
commission's  process.  Ms.  Harrington   reported  that  the                                                                   
actual workings  of the commission  would be determined  when                                                                   
it  convenes  for the  first  time  to  make those  types  of                                                                   
decisions.   The  fiscal   note  provides   for  travel   and                                                                   
teleconferences.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:57:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Representative   Austerman  stated   that  "nowhere   in  the                                                                   
resolution does it  talk about rural versus  urban". He noted                                                                   
that on Page 3,  line 1, the resolution speaks  to the entire                                                                   
state.  He  reiterated that  Alaska  Forward  is made  up  of                                                                   
ARDORS based  all over the state.  He felt that if  HCR 21 is                                                                   
given a  chance it should work  for the entire state  and not                                                                   
only urban areas.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:59:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair   Thomas  related   concerns   about  the   timber                                                                   
industry   in  Southeast   Alaska.   He   worried  that   the                                                                   
commission  could  recommend  policies  that do  not  support                                                                   
economic  activity   in  rural  communities.   Representative                                                                   
Austerman pointed  out that the purpose of  the commission is                                                                   
only  to make  recommendations  to  the legislature  and  not                                                                   
create   policy   statements.    He   also   suggested   that                                                                   
Representative   Thomas   try  to   get   appointed  to   the                                                                   
commission  by the Speaker  of the  House. Vice-Chair  Thomas                                                                   
reiterated   his   concerns   about   lost   jobs,   economic                                                                   
hardships,  and  crime  in  his   district  due  to  lack  of                                                                   
economic opportunity.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:02:46 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze opened public testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JOHN   TORGERSON,    SENATOR,   KENAI   PENINSULA    ECONOMIC                                                                   
DEVELOPMENT   DISTRICT,  ALASKA   PARTNERSHIP  FOR   ECONOMIC                                                                   
DEVELOPMENT   EXECUTIVE   COMMITTEE   (via   teleconference),                                                                   
supported  the legislation.  He  believed that  an effort  to                                                                   
focus all  of the different  economic development  strategies                                                                   
in the state is  a good idea. The presence  of legislators on                                                                   
the commission would  be especially helpful to  move the task                                                                   
force's recommendations forward.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
KATHRYN  DODGE, FAIRBANKS  NORTH STAR  BOROUGH ARDOR,  ALASKA                                                                   
PARTNERSHIP  FOR ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT,  VICE PRESIDENT  (via                                                                   
teleconference),  supported   the  bill.  She   welcomed  the                                                                   
heightened  level of  engagement between  the private  sector                                                                   
and the  legislature. She  believed it  would strengthen  the                                                                   
strategic    planning    development    effort    and    spur                                                                   
implementation of  the plans and policies resulting  from the                                                                   
effort.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:05:48 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Foster wondered  how active  the ARDOR's  are                                                                   
in the  state. Ms.  Dodge answered  that the Borough's  ARDOR                                                                   
board  meets ten  times  a year.  The  ARDOR regularly  meets                                                                   
with other economic  development organizations at  least once                                                                   
a month.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Stoltze closed public testimony.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Hawker  referenced the new fiscal note  that creates                                                                   
one  full time  position  for the  Legislature,  appropriated                                                                   
from  the  Legislative  Council   budget,  to  implement  and                                                                   
manage  the  commission.  He   felt  that  the  increase  was                                                                   
unnecessary if the  legislation passed and the  commission is                                                                   
established. He  suggested that there is adequate  fiscal and                                                                   
human  resources existing  within  the legislature's  budget.                                                                   
He requested  that the committee  prepare a zero  fiscal note                                                                   
with  the  caveat  that  the   funds  for  the  position  are                                                                   
appropriated  out of  the Legislature's  existing budget  and                                                                   
not  limit  that the  funds  are  allocated from  a  specific                                                                   
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Austerman raised  the  question whether  page                                                                   
1; line 16 of the resolution must be corrected.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair   Hawker   offered  conceptual   Amendment   1.   He                                                                   
requested  that  on  page 1,  line  16,  delete  "Legislative                                                                   
Council" from  "(Alaska Legislative Council)" and  replace it                                                                   
with "Alaska  legislature". The  change would read;  "Further                                                                   
Resolved   that  the  (Alaska   Legislature)  shall   provide                                                                   
adequate…"                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
There  being   no  objection   conceptual  Amendment   1  was                                                                   
adopted.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Kelly  commented  that  there  are  too  many                                                                   
organizations in  the state working on  economic development.                                                                   
He suggested  that the commission's  first task should  be to                                                                   
eliminate  half  of  them.  Representative  Austerman  stated                                                                   
that the  commission's main task  would be to  coordinate all                                                                   
of   the  economic   development   efforts   in  the   state.                                                                   
Representative  Kelly  felt  that  economic  development  was                                                                   
important  but recommended  to determine  the most  effective                                                                   
entities and eliminate the rest.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:11:50 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Representative Austerman  MOVED to Report CS HCR  21(FIN) out                                                                   
of  Committee   with  individual   recommendations   and  the                                                                   
accompanying revised  fiscal note. There being  NO OBJECTION,                                                                   
it was so ordered.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CS HCR  21 (FIN)  was REPORTED  out of  Committee with  a "do                                                                   
pass" recommendation and with the revised fiscal note.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

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