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.