Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/15/2003 05:00 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR SS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 75(FIN) am(brf sup maj fld)                                                                   
     "An  Act  making appropriations   for the  operating  and  loan                                                            
     program  expenses of  state government,  for certain  programs,                                                            
     and to capitalize  funds; and providing for an effective date."                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     CS FOR SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 76(FIN)                                                                       
     "An Act making appropriations for the operating and capital                                                                
     expenses of the state's integrated comprehensive mental health                                                             
     program; and providing for an effective date."                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This was the  fourth hearing for these  bills in the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Green  announced that public testimony would  be limited to                                                            
two minutes per testifier.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JANICE PEYTON testified  via teleconference from Homer in support of                                                            
the  increased funding  request  by the  University  of Alaska.  She                                                            
noted that because of prior  Legislative funding appropriations, the                                                            
University  has been able  to expand its  nursing, engineering,  and                                                            
technology programs. She  credited the increase in enrollment to the                                                            
University's ability  to expand program offerings,  and she stressed                                                            
that funding  reductions would  force programs  to be curtailed.  In                                                            
addition, she voiced opposition  to the proposed ten percent funding                                                            
reduction  for  the  18 adult  education  grant  programs  that  are                                                            
operated in the  State as they provide such services  as the General                                                            
Equivalency  Diploma (GED) program  through which 25-percent  of the                                                            
State's high school diplomas are earned.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DEB GERMANO testified via  teleconference from Homer and stated that                                                            
rather than  a reduction in education  program funding, an  increase                                                            
in  resources  is  required.  She  stated that  the  City  of  Homer                                                            
supports its education  system at the maximum level allowed by State                                                            
law,  and she  labeled  the proposed  FY  04 funding  reductions  as                                                            
"severe."  She  urged that  further  education  funding  options  be                                                            
evaluated  as she stated  that, "kids are  a resource that  can't be                                                            
overlooked."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JIM BRADY testified  via teleconference from Homer  in opposition to                                                            
the  proposed elimination  of  the Centers  for  Independent  Living                                                            
Center (ILC) Grant program  in the Department of Labor and Workforce                                                            
Development budget. He  asserted that contrary to the Commissioner's                                                            
position  that  other  funding  sources   would  be  available,  the                                                            
alternate sources that  have been identified would not be applicable                                                            
to  this   program  and   that,  despite   repeated  requests,   the                                                            
Commissioner  has not identified appropriate  alternate funding.  He                                                            
stressed that  the benefits of the ILC program include  a lower cost                                                            
per person  care and lower Medicaid  costs, and he avowed  that when                                                            
these  services  are  provided  "outside  of  an  institution,"  the                                                            
savings  to  the  State   are  approximately  $30,000   per  program                                                            
recipient  per year.  He  urged the  Committee  to fully  fund  this                                                            
program at the $619,000 level.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
KAREN  SHEMET, Volunteer,  Alliance  for  Fresh Air,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from  Homer  in  support  of  funding  anti-smoking                                                             
education programs  as, she noted that they have been  successful in                                                            
getting people to stop  smoking and in persuading youth to not start                                                            
smoking. Furthermore, she  stressed, medical expenses would decrease                                                            
as the  result of the reduction  in smoking  related illnesses.  She                                                            
stated that kids should live in a tobacco-free environment.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR. VI  JERREL, PH.D,  testified  via teleconference  from Homer  in                                                            
opposition  to the elimination of  the Longevity Bonus Program.  She                                                            
avowed  that  had  Governor  Frank  Murkowski's  election   campaign                                                            
included the proposal  to eliminate the Longevity  Bonus Program, he                                                            
would not have  been elected Governor. She noted that  documentation                                                            
exists  that reflects  the benefits  of continuing  the program  for                                                            
Alaska's seniors, and she  stated that the Governor's salary as well                                                            
as those  of  other Administration  officials  could  be reduced  to                                                            
assist  in  funding   the  existing  Longevity  Bonus   Program.  In                                                            
addition, she  urged for full funding for the University  of Alaska.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DARRELL  BEHYMER,  Kachemak  Bay  Campus  Student   Body  President,                                                            
University  of Alaska, testified  via teleconference  from  Homer to                                                            
urge for full funding of  the University as it "is training Alaskans                                                            
to meet the current  and future needs of the State."  He stated that                                                            
the University's  momentum and student  enrollment are growing,  and                                                            
he  declared  that  providing  good educational   opportunities  for                                                            
students is "worth the investment."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD LIGENZA,  Kachemak Bay Campus  Student Body Vice  President,                                                            
University  of Alaska, testified via  teleconference from  Homer and                                                            
urged for full funding for the University.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BETH BRUDER,  Employee, Bristol  Bay Campus,  University of  Alaska,                                                            
testified  via  teleconference  from  Dillingham  to note  that  the                                                            
campus  provides   educational  services  to  32  villages   and  is                                                            
experiencing  "exceptional" enrollment  and program growth,  and, in                                                            
addition, is experiencing  growth in partnership programs  with area                                                            
trade groups,  Native corporations,  vocational  education  centers,                                                            
local  schools and  others.  She attested  that the  University  "is                                                            
training and educating  local people" and, she stressed,  that these                                                            
efforts  result  in  promoting  "real  jobs  and  local  hire."  She                                                            
characterized the University  as an "economic engine" for the State,                                                            
and she  stressed  that full  funding for  the University  would  be                                                            
required in order to continue the progress that has occurred.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN  FLENSBURG,  Environmental  Coordinator,  Bristol  Bay  Native                                                            
Association,  testified   via  teleconference  from   Dillingham  in                                                            
support of continued funding  for the University. She commented that                                                            
the programs  offered by  the University  assist in providing  rural                                                            
residents the  ability to pursue diverse  employment opportunities,                                                             
especially  in light  of the  decline of  employment  in the  area's                                                            
fishing industry.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
KRISTIN  NYGREN testified  via  teleconference  from Dillingham  and                                                            
spoke  in support  of  continued  funding  for the  Infant  Learning                                                            
Program (ILP).  She shared  that the services  provided to  infants,                                                            
such as her daughter,  and might be jeopardized were  this program's                                                            
funding reduced.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS HARRIS  testified via  teleconference  from Seward and  voiced                                                            
concern  regarding  proposed  funding  reductions   for Independent                                                             
Living Centers.  She stated that the  independence and care  that is                                                            
provided  to program  recipients,  who suffer  from  such things  as                                                            
coma-induced  memory loss,  is valuable. She  also acknowledged  the                                                            
dedication  and   concern  that  ILC  providers  have   for  program                                                            
recipients.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CANDY NORMAN  testified via  teleconference  from Seward and  stated                                                            
that as  a lifelong Alaskan,  business  owner, taxpayer,  volunteer,                                                            
and voter, she is opposed  to the proposed budget reductions for the                                                            
Independent Living Centers  program. She shared that her daughter, a                                                            
car accident victim  who is a program recipient, has  "tremendously"                                                            
benefited  from being  able  to live  in her  own home,  in her  own                                                            
community, as  opposed to living in a nursing home.  She stated that                                                            
in addition,  the program  helps people find  jobs, return  to work,                                                            
and  be  active  in their  community.  She  commented  that  she  is                                                            
"offended  and outraged" by  the Department  of Labor and  Workforce                                                            
Development's  Commissioner Greg O'Claray's  comments that  "the ILC                                                            
money is  money down the  drain." She urged  the Committee  to fully                                                            
fund this program.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MARILEE  CHAMPION  testified  via  teleconference   from  Seward  in                                                            
support  of continued funding  for Independent  Living Centers.  She                                                            
stated  that in addition  to allowing  people  with disabilities  to                                                            
live independently  in their own homes and be productive  members of                                                            
society, the program  saves the State a significant  amount of money                                                            
as opposed  to the cost of providing  nursing home care.  She stated                                                            
that  the ILC provided  her  family, and  others like  it, with  the                                                            
assistance  they  needed to  address  a family  member's  unexpected                                                            
disability.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JENNIFER HUBER  testified via teleconference  from Seward  regarding                                                            
the  benefits  that  her  daughter  has  received  from  the  Infant                                                            
Learning  Program. She stated  that in a short  period of time,  her                                                            
daughter has  learned to communicate  with words and sign  language.                                                            
She urged the  Committee to fully fund the needs of  this program so                                                            
that other  families, who could not  afford the expenses  associated                                                            
with treatment on their own, could receive assistance.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MERCEDES  O'LEARY,  Student,  Kachemak  Bay  Campus,  University  of                                                            
Alaska, testified  via teleconference from Homer and  announced that                                                            
because of  the variety of programs  offered by the University,  she                                                            
had opted to  stay in the State and  attend school. She stated  that                                                            
were programs  reduced,  she would  be forced to  attend an  out-of-                                                            
state school.  She urged the Committee  to support the University's                                                             
funding request.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
LAURA ASBUL,  Student, Kachemak  Bay Campus,  University of  Alaska,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from Homer to voice  concern that that                                                            
she and  her children might  be forced to  attend college  elsewhere                                                            
were program  offerings at the campus  downsized as a result  of the                                                            
University's funding  request being denied. She urged  the Committee                                                            
to fund the University at its requested funding level.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
PEGGY FRAZIER,  Student, Kachemak Bay Campus, University  of Alaska,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from  Homer and stated that  she would                                                            
be  required  to  relocate  were  the  Campus's  program   offerings                                                            
reduced.  She urged  the Committee  to fully  fund the University's                                                             
budget request.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
IRIS DOUGLASS  testified  via teleconference  from Homer and  voiced                                                            
concern about  the negative affect the elimination  of the Longevity                                                            
Bonus Program  would incur on many  of the State's senior  citizens.                                                            
She also  voiced  concern that  funding  for ILC  might be  reduced.                                                            
Furthermore, she  opined that Governor Murkowski seems  to be out of                                                            
touch with the needs of the State's citizens.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LAURA  BARTON testified  via teleconference  from  Homer and  stated                                                            
that the Longevity  Bonus Program has been characterized  as being a                                                            
charity program  or a bribe to get senior citizens  to remain in the                                                            
State once they  reached the age of 65. However, she  stated that as                                                            
a result  of  program  qualification  changes, the  youngest  person                                                            
receiving  program  benefits   is  71-years  old  and  most  of  the                                                            
recipients  are  too old  to  relocate  and depend  on  the  monthly                                                            
monetary  payments.  She stated  that the  number  of recipients  is                                                            
rapidly declining due to  death, and she suggested that, rather than                                                            
eliminating the  program, the Legislature should retain  the current                                                            
policy, as the program  would die on its own. In addition, she urged                                                            
that the funding for the  Infant Learning Program be continued as by                                                            
addressing  infant  problems at  an  early age,  long-term  problems                                                            
could be lessened.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CARL ROSE, Executive Director,  Association of Alaska School Boards,                                                            
testified in Juneau and  presented an overview on the status of K-12                                                            
education in  the State. He noted  that approximately 60  percent of                                                            
the voters in the recent  November statewide election voted in favor                                                            
of school General  Obligation Bonds (GO Bonds), and  in addition, he                                                            
declared that  the majority of the candidates running  for statewide                                                            
office during  that same election timeframe recognized  education as                                                            
a top priority. He stated  that, as a nation, it is the value placed                                                            
on the education  rather than that  placed "on economic or  military                                                            
might  that  defines  who  we  are as  a  nation."  He  stated  that                                                            
supporting  K-12  education  "is  a much  broader  issue  that  just                                                            
balancing  the budget this  year." He stated  that the benefits  and                                                            
development of  such things as the Arctic National  Wildlife Refuge,                                                            
a gas pipeline,  and other State resources  might be ten  years into                                                            
the  future, and  he  continued that  in  ten years,  today's  sixth                                                            
graders  would  be graduating  from  our  University.  He urged  the                                                            
Committee  to ask  what we,  as a  State,  are doing  to ensure  our                                                            
future.  In addition,  he  voiced the  importance  of maintaining  a                                                            
healthy  and  stable  economy  in order  to  allow  these  students'                                                            
parents to continue to  viably remain in the State. He stated that a                                                            
lesson  that could  be  learned from  the  downturn  in the  State's                                                            
economy in  the mid 1980's is that  "once the for sale signs  go up,                                                            
and once the shops start  to close, its already too late." He stated                                                            
that  as  the State  looks  forward,  "there  are  opportunities  to                                                            
strategically  use  State's  resources."  He stressed  that  without                                                            
long-term  planning,  the  quick-fix  approach  would  continue.  He                                                            
stated that while the FY  04 budget is a "tough" scenario, the FY 05                                                            
budget projection would not be "much easier" for K-12 funding.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Rose  voiced that the  options currently  being forwarded  are a                                                            
continuation of  belt-tightening efforts. He noted  that while other                                                            
states  are also  experiencing  budget  shortfalls,  such things  as                                                            
income tax or other types  of statewide taxes are in place to assist                                                            
them  with addressing  future  funding needs.  He  noted that  while                                                            
Alaska  does not  currently have  an income  tax, it  does have  the                                                            
Permanent  Fund.  He stated  that,  "we are  rapidly  coming to  the                                                            
realization  that we  have to  marshal  the resources"  we have  "to                                                            
address  the  essential  services   of  the  State."  He  asked  the                                                            
Legislature  to read  newspapers  and listen  to the  people of  the                                                            
State.  He recalled  one Legislator  as saying "that  the people  of                                                            
Alaska are  going to have to beg us  to put in an income  tax before                                                            
we do anything." He assured  the Committee that the State's citizens                                                            
"are looking for  other options." He voiced the personal  preference                                                            
for the  implementation  of a  State income  tax as  opposed to  the                                                            
continuance  of belt-tightening or  further program eliminations  or                                                            
reductions.  He shared that his two  adult sons would not  be living                                                            
in Alaska,  and  one of them  had remarked,  "Dad,  Alaska was  your                                                            
dream, it's not my dream."  He stated that the impacts of the budget                                                            
"that would be  forwarded by the Senate Finance Committee  are going                                                            
to create some tremendous  strain, not only this year," but in years                                                            
to come. He  urged the Committee to  consider this when determining                                                             
the budget.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JILL  SIMPSON,  Representative,  Cordova   Family  Resource  Center,                                                            
testified  via teleconference  from  Cordova to  voice concern  that                                                            
while budget  reductions are proposed  that would negatively  affect                                                            
organizations such as the  Resource Center, there continues to be an                                                            
increase  in "upper administrative"  State  personnel. She  exampled                                                            
that,   whereas   once   "there   was   one  [unspecified]    deputy                                                            
commissioner, there are  now three." She remarked that this increase                                                            
takes funding away from programs.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
JULIE  JUSZKEIWICZ,  Mental  Health  Clinician,  Sound Alternatives                                                             
Mental Health  Center, testified via teleconference  from Cordova to                                                            
state her concerns  regarding possible funding reductions  to mental                                                            
health  programs and  the  affects those  reductions  would have  on                                                            
families. She  stated that there are "continuous on-going  needs for                                                            
quality preventive and treatment" mental health programs.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SAMMY  CRAWFORD,  Vice President,  Kenai  Peninsula  Borough  School                                                            
Board, testified  via teleconference from Kenai and  shared that the                                                            
district's 41  schools serve 10,000 students. She  stated that in an                                                            
effort to control  district expenses,  in addition to reducing  such                                                            
things  as custodian  positions,  56  teaching positions  have  been                                                            
eliminated which  has resulted in increasing the student  to teacher                                                            
class  ratio to  a minimum  of a  29 to  one ratio.  She noted  that                                                            
communities  are  "up in  arms"  at the  prospect  of consolidating                                                             
schools in  an effort to further contain  costs, and she  noted that                                                            
funding  for sports and  other extracurricular  activities  might be                                                            
further reduced or eliminated.  She avowed that the Borough's school                                                            
administration  office is one  of the most  efficient in the  State,                                                            
and  that  her  comments   are  being  made  to  further   enlighten                                                            
Legislators  to the  affect that  further funding  reductions  would                                                            
have  on  local  districts.  She  urged   the  Committee  to  assist                                                            
districts  by  providing   sufficient  education   funding  as,  she                                                            
declared,  in order to  adequately fund  student transportation  and                                                            
local  debt   service,  additional   teaching  positions   might  be                                                            
eliminated.  She voiced appreciation  for any support that  could be                                                            
provided  as,  she  attested,  the  goal is  to  provide  a  quality                                                            
education to students.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
LISA GREENLEAF,  President,  Kenai Peninsula  College Student  Union                                                            
and Member,  Statewide Coalition of  Student Leaders, testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from  Kenai and  noted  that the  College's  student                                                            
enrollment  is steadily increasing.  She stressed that while  budget                                                            
constraints  are necessary, a quality  education must be  a priority                                                            
as it is "the  backbone of the future."  She urged the Committee  to                                                            
invest in  education and  support the budgets  at both the  K-12 and                                                            
University levels.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
KATHY NEILSON, Vice President,  Valdez Board of Education, testified                                                            
via teleconference  from Valdez and informed the Committee  that the                                                            
Municipality  of  Valdez  fully supports  its  education  system  by                                                            
providing the maximum amount  allowed under State law. She urged the                                                            
Members  to do as  much as possible  to fund  the State's  education                                                            
programs,  as she attested  that further cuts  to the City's  school                                                            
programs  and  teaching   positions  would  be  "devastating."   She                                                            
concluded  that it  would be  improper  for the  Legislature to  not                                                            
uphold its responsibility  to reimburse school districts sixty cents                                                            
on the dollar as approved by voters for the school bond issues.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
STEVE  CATHERS,   Superintendent,   Valdez  City  School   District,                                                            
testified   via  teleconference   from  Valdez   and  opined   that,                                                            
"education in Alaska has  been trimmed to the bone at this time." He                                                            
declared that the results  of a recent statewide poll concluded that                                                            
all school districts have  been forced to reduce staffing levels "in                                                            
core academic  programs."  He shared  that Valdez  has been  cutting                                                            
staff for two  years, and he affirmed that more reductions  might be                                                            
forthcoming.  He stated  that programs  such as  the Governor's  "no                                                            
child left  behind for Alaska" program  must be properly  funded. He                                                            
urged  the Committee  to restore  all education  funding and  avowed                                                            
that the  adequate  base allocation  level should  be approximately                                                             
$4,500  per student  to allow Alaska  to be  the nation's  education                                                            
role model.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 03 # 51, Side B 05:48 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr.   Cathers  continued   that   student   transportation   funding                                                            
reductions  would  also  result  in  staffing  eliminations,   fewer                                                            
elective courses,  less individualized instruction,  larger classes,                                                            
fewer staff training opportunities,  and other reductions. He stated                                                            
that one of the  factors in electing the current Administration  was                                                            
the hope  that economic  growth would  transpire.  He stated  that a                                                            
good education  would  provide the  necessary  labor force  training                                                            
that  would  be the  backbone  for  Alaska's  resource development.                                                             
Furthermore,  he decried the  current trend  in the oil industry  of                                                            
"importing  commuter  employees  from  the Lower  48  and  exporting                                                            
profits." He  stated that budget reductions  have made it  difficult                                                            
to  recruit teachers  and  now, he  stated,  "our children  will  be                                                            
paying the price" of inadequate education funding.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE: 5:50 PM / 6:05 PM                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
KRISTA TIMLIN,  Coordinator, Career Center, Knik Peninsula  College,                                                            
testified   via  teleconference  from   Kenai  and  voiced   concern                                                            
regarding  the economy  of the  State.  She urged  the Committee  to                                                            
support  education  at  all  levels,  especially   higher  education                                                            
opportunities  in  the State.  She  stressed  that funding  for  the                                                            
University  of Alaska must continue  at a rate that would  allow the                                                            
University to "build upon its ongoing successes."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
JENNIFER   APP,  Advocacy   Director,   Anchorage   American   Heart                                                            
Association  testified in  Juneau and spoke  to the negative  health                                                            
affects of cigarette smoking  and of second-hand smoke exposure. She                                                            
urged that  in an effort to fight  the social and economic  costs of                                                            
tobacco  related illnesses  twenty  percent of  the State's  tobacco                                                            
company master  settlement money should be allocated  to the Tobacco                                                            
Education  and Cessation  Funding, even  though she  noted that  the                                                            
funding should  be at a higher  level. She  attested that the  FY 03                                                            
program marketing  efforts  have had positive  impacts on youth  and                                                            
parents.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE: 6:12 PM / 6:18 PM                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  WENSLEY, Educator  and Parent,  testified  via teleconference                                                             
from Kenai to voice his  concern as a parent about the need to fully                                                            
fund  education in  the State.  He  noted the  consistent  "campaign                                                            
rhetoric" that identified  education as a high priority; however, he                                                            
contended,  "these   education  concerns  constantly   fall  by  the                                                            
wayside." He stated  that the reductions to school  programs and the                                                            
loss of "veteran teachers  is a sad situation." He stated that, like                                                            
everything  else,  the  cost  of education  is  increasing,  and  he                                                            
declared that  a quality education must be provided  to students. He                                                            
urged the Committee  to consider implementing a State  income tax or                                                            
to access the  Alaska Permanent Fund account to assist  in providing                                                            
adequate education funding.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE: 6:21 PM / 6:30 PM                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
JOHN STEIN, Executive Director,  Kids Are People, Inc, testified via                                                            
teleconference  from Mat-Su stated that he would be  "willing to pay                                                            
my fair share of the cost  of State government." He proclaimed that,                                                            
regardless  of whether a  gas tax or an  income tax is implemented,                                                             
"the time has  come for Alaskans to  pay up." He stated that  one of                                                            
the  primary programs  offered  by  his organization   is a  tobacco                                                            
prevention  program,  and  he  voiced  support  for  the  Governor's                                                            
recommendation  that twenty percent of the Tobacco  Settlement money                                                            
be  used to  support this  cause.  In addition,  he  urged for  full                                                            
funding for  education, specifically  for the University  of Alaska,                                                            
as he attested, it provides  education programs, such as the nursing                                                            
programs, that assist the needs of the State.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JOHN CANNON testified  via teleconference from Mat-Su  in opposition                                                            
to  the  $2.2  million  reduction  in the  Community  Developmental                                                             
Disabilities  Grants "as these cuts  are not fair, go too  deep, and                                                            
seriously  jeopardize   the  safety  net  for  many  Alaskans   with                                                            
developmental  disabilities." He stated that it is  "a disgrace" not                                                            
to provide the services that these individuals require.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CATHY PENNA,  Parent, testified via  teleconference from  Mat-Su and                                                            
informed the  Committee that her two  autistic children would  be on                                                            
the wait list for services  for approximately another five years. In                                                            
the  meantime,  she  shared  that  the  limited   respite  time  and                                                            
educational  tools  that  her  family  receives  are  invaluable  in                                                            
helping the  family, who has no immediate  family support  group, to                                                            
cope with the  demands of everyday life. She stressed  that adequate                                                            
funding  for the Department  of  Health and  Social Services  Infant                                                            
Learning Program must be provided.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PAUL DAUPHINAIS, Director,  Matanuska Susitna College, testified via                                                            
teleconference  from  Mat-Su   regarding  the  need  to  expand  the                                                            
educational opportunities  in the Matanuska Susitna  valley in order                                                            
to retain residents and  continue to expand and provide programs "in                                                            
areas of high  need" such as the healthcare  field. He stated,  that                                                            
in order to  meet the demands being  placed on it, the College  must                                                            
"receive at least level funding."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
KRIS  MOORE, lifelong  Alaskan  and Mother  of four,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Mat-Su and urged  the Committee to address  the                                                            
changing needs  of the State, specifically the changes  occurring in                                                            
the  education  field.  She  encouraged  the  Committee  to  support                                                            
teachers and  others who serve children.  She stated that  while she                                                            
believes in holding  teachers and schools accountable,  insufficient                                                            
time and resources  such as textbooks and a high student  to teacher                                                            
ratios often  negate efforts. She  urged the Committee to  invest in                                                            
the State's children by  increasing the education foundation funding                                                            
formula and pupil transportation funding.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MARCIE  SCHMIDT   testified  via  teleconference   from  Mat-Su  and                                                            
questioned  the expense  generated by  a situation  where one  State                                                            
agency  rents from  another,  for  she attested  that  the State  is                                                            
renting from itself.  Furthermore, she asked that  additional Office                                                            
of Public  Advocacy positions  in the Division  of Family and  Youth                                                            
Services be  budgeted, as more are  necessary to adequately  provide                                                            
legal  representation  to Alaska's  youth.  She suggested  that  the                                                            
Governor,  Lieutenant   Governor,  and  commissioners   lower  their                                                            
monetary compensation  in order to  allow these individuals  to join                                                            
in "the economic struggle" of reduced State services.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
TRISH WALTER,  testified via teleconference from Mat-Su,  and stated                                                            
that "it  appears … that  the Legislature  is trying to balance  the                                                            
budget  on  the  backs  of people  who  can  least  afford  it,"  in                                                            
particular,  senior  citizens  and  people  with  disabilities.  She                                                            
stressed that  many of these people are currently  on wait lists and                                                            
are not receiving the services  they need. She avowed that she would                                                            
be willing to  pay a State sales tax or an income  tax, in order for                                                            
adequate services to be provided to those who need assistance.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JANET GIRARD testified  via teleconference from Mat-Su to state that                                                            
many of  Alaska's senior  citizens  would be willing  to assist  the                                                            
State with  its financial  crisis if only they  had the means  to do                                                            
so. She stated that the  medications that are required by "the aging                                                            
process"  are  very expensive  and  are difficult  to  acquire  when                                                            
health insurance  is not adequately available; therefore,  she urged                                                            
that the Longevity Bonus  program be continued to assist seniors, as                                                            
other options are limited.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
FRANK GIRARD testified  via teleconference from Mat-Su in support of                                                            
the continuation  of the Longevity Bonus Program as  many recipients                                                            
"would starve  or lose their home"  without it. He reminded  that no                                                            
"new" seniors  are eligible to receive the Bonus,  that those in the                                                            
program are aging, and  that the program is phasing out. He stressed                                                            
that seniors require the  funding. He suggested that the State could                                                            
pursue revenue-generating  alternatives  such as the elimination  of                                                            
the church property  tax exemption or the implementation  of a State                                                            
lottery.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ANGELA  ROSAR,  Representative,   City  of  Houston,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference   from  Mat-Su  to   inform  the  Committee   of  the                                                            
importance  of  the  municipal  revenue  sharing  program  to  small                                                            
communities  such as  Houston. She  stated that  any curtailment  in                                                            
this funding  would result  in employee layoffs  and a reduction  in                                                            
city programs  and services  such  as fire fighting.  She urged  the                                                            
Committee to not reduce funding to this program.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE: 6:47 PM / 6:54 PM                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
LAUREL TYRRELL, Parent  and Resident of Central, testified in Juneau                                                            
in support  of the Alyeska  Central School  Correspondence  Program.                                                            
She shared  that she has tried numerous  educational correspondence                                                             
programs for her children  and has found that the courses offered by                                                            
this school  are good.  She urged  that funding  for the program  be                                                            
extended  one more  year  in order  for the  school  to regroup  as,                                                            
perhaps a charter school,  and to allow transition time for students                                                            
currently in the program.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE: 6:56 PM / 7:00 PM                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Co-chair Wilken chaired the following portion of the meeting.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JERI LANIER,  Representative, Family  Center Services of  Alaska and                                                            
Member,  Alaska Mental Health  Board, testified  via teleconference                                                             
from Fairbanks  to urge  the Committee to  carefully consider  where                                                            
budget  reductions are  made, specifically  that  community  service                                                            
programs  should  be maintained,  that  the Denali  KidCare  program                                                            
should be fully funded,  and that local field grants be continued as                                                            
they are more efficient than State or federally run programs.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DONNA   JORDAN,  Parent,   and   Member,  Governor's   Council   for                                                            
Disabilities  and Special  Education, testified  via teleconference                                                             
from  Mat-Su  and urged  the  restoration  of  the $2.2  million  in                                                            
funding for  the Infant Learning Program  services. She shared  that                                                            
one of  her two  severely  disabled children  has  a more  promising                                                            
future  as the  result of  the early  intervention  provided by  the                                                            
program. She noted  that approximately 1,300 children  are on a wait                                                            
list  for  this  service,  and  that  the  program,  as  opposed  to                                                            
institutionalizing children,  is beneficial to the State in the long                                                            
run.  In  addition,  she  urged  that  funding  be  provided  for  a                                                            
community  parent support  group  as it  enables  families "to  move                                                            
forward."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
HARRY JENKINS  testified via teleconference from Fairbanks  and told                                                            
the Committee  "to leave the Longevity  Bonus Program alone,"  as he                                                            
noted, in  ten years, it  would be "phased  out" due to the  natural                                                            
deaths of its senior citizen recipients.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CANDY  WAUGAMAN  testified  via teleconference  from  Fairbanks  and                                                            
asked the  Committee to  reconsider the proposed  reductions  to the                                                            
Alaska State  libraries. In addition,  she voiced concern  regarding                                                            
the "strong" support for the Governor's budget proposals.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
VICKI HORODYSKI,  Foster  Parent, Coordinator  of the Fetal  Alcohol                                                            
Syndrome  (FAS) Parent  Support  Group  and Member,  Fairbanks,  FAS                                                            
Diagnostic  Team, testified  via  teleconference  from Fairbanks  to                                                            
share her  involvement with  FAS children.  She stated that  without                                                            
appropriate   intervention   and  support,   these  children   could                                                            
experience  secondary  disabilities  such as  chronic unemployment,                                                             
social problems,  mental illness, poverty, criminal  acts, and more.                                                            
She noted, that while some  children who experience FAS, might never                                                            
be totally  independent, services  to them must be provided  because                                                            
she declared,  that although  they did not  create their  situation,                                                            
they must live with it.  She stated that their quality of life could                                                            
benefit from  adequate program  funding. She  avowed that were  this                                                            
funding not  forthcoming, then funding  would be required  for other                                                            
institutions such as prisons, hospitals, and homeless shelters.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
TABER REHBAUM,  Representative,  Arctic Alliance  for People  (AAP),                                                            
testified via  teleconference from  Fairbanks to urge the  Committee                                                            
to  fully  fund  the  Department  of  Health   and  Social  Services                                                            
community  matching block grant  program as  it is important  to the                                                            
forty human  services providers  that AAP  represents. She  declared                                                            
that  these  funds  would  support  efficient   and  cost  effective                                                            
services  and would, in  the long  run, save the  State millions  of                                                            
dollars in such  things as incarceration expenses.  She informed the                                                            
Committee  that  the  Fairbanks  North  Star  Borough  Assembly  has                                                            
adopted a resolution  in support of  funding this program  at the FY                                                            
02  $1.7 million  level.  She  stressed  that  this program  is  the                                                            
"biggest  bargain"  in  the State  and  urged  that the  funding  be                                                            
restored.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CORA  WAGGONER  testified  via  teleconference   from  Fairbanks  in                                                            
support of  funding for the Independent  Living Center program  that                                                            
allows  people  to  live  independently  and  is  three  times  less                                                            
expensive  than were  the State  to provide  institutional care  for                                                            
them.  She stated  that the  Anchorage Independent  Learning  Center                                                            
program allows  people who are deaf,  blind, and mildly handicapped                                                             
to  live  and work  independently,  which  she  avowed,  enhances  a                                                            
person's self-worth.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CINDY FRANKENBACH testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks that,                                                            
while  she  has  a  neurological  disorder,  she  is  able  to  live                                                            
independently with the  assistance of a personal care attendant. [It                                                            
was  noted  that  the  personal  care  attendant   was  reading  Ms.                                                            
Frankenbach's  comments  because  her  disorder  prevents  her  from                                                            
speaking]                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 03 # 52, Side A 07:09 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Frankenbach  urged the Committee to support the  continuation of                                                            
the Independent  Living Program  because in  addition to being  less                                                            
expensive than nursing  home care, it enables people such as herself                                                            
to live independently in their own home.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
LARRY ATKINS testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks and shared                                                            
the benefits  he has  received  from the Independent  Living  Center                                                            
program. He  stated that as a result  of the training provided  him,                                                            
he plans on operating  his own business and "becoming  a more viable                                                            
member of the  community." He attributed  his and others'  successes                                                            
to the  program,  and he  stressed that  these programs  provide  an                                                            
economical benefit to the State.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ANDY  HARRINGTON testified  via  teleconference  from Fairbanks  and                                                            
voiced  that, "Alaska  is the tax-free  extreme."  He attested  that                                                            
while Alaskans  are getting  "a free ride  today," it is  inevitable                                                            
that some sort  of tax would be forthcoming. He voiced  that a State                                                            
income tax would be preferred  as it could be claimed as a deduction                                                            
on the federal  tax return. In addition,  he stated that  non-profit                                                            
human service agencies  are more economical than State-run programs,                                                            
and  therefore,  he urged  the  Committee  to continue  funding  the                                                            
Community  Matching grant  program, as supported  in the  Governor's                                                            
budget proposal.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken informed  that "only one out of five Alaskans" would                                                            
be able  to deduct  the State  income  tax amount  on their  federal                                                            
income tax statement and  he continued, of that twenty percent, only                                                            
about 25-percent  "would  be able  to benefit as  they approach  the                                                            
$8,500 taxable income level."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MARGIE  VAUGHT, Staff,  Access Alaska,  and Mother  of a child  with                                                            
multiple disabilities,  testified via teleconference  from Fairbanks                                                            
and urged  that the  budget for  the Independent  Living Program  be                                                            
restored  as she voiced  the hope  that her child  might one  day be                                                            
able to live  independently as opposed  to being institutionalized.                                                             
Furthermore,  she declared that institutionalizing  people  does not                                                            
make  fiscal  sense  and  is  contrary  "to  our  obligations  as  a                                                            
society."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
GEORDIE  CARROLL,  Representative,   Access  Alaska,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from Fairbanks and, as a disabled  person, urged the                                                            
Committee to restore  funding to the Independent Living  Program. He                                                            
attested that the cost  of independent living is less expensive than                                                            
institutional care.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CONNIE   SNIDER,    Access   Alaska    Recipient,   testified    via                                                            
teleconference  from Fairbanks  and stated that  as a person  who is                                                            
able to live independently  because of funding from  the independent                                                            
living service  provider Access Alaska, she voiced  "disbelief" that                                                            
independent  living program funding  is proposed to be reduced.  She                                                            
stated  that institutional  care is  more expensive  and  negatively                                                            
affects people's dignity.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
OLAN  ORNSETH  testified  via  teleconference   from  Fairbanks  and                                                            
advocated  for full funding  of the University's  Board of  Regents'                                                            
budget request as well  as for K-12 schooling. He stated that he had                                                            
earned his  fisheries degree through  the University system,  and he                                                            
likened a reduction in  University funding "to shooting ourselves in                                                            
the  foot." He  stated  that, in  addition  to providing  a  quality                                                            
education, the  University is awarded research grants  that generate                                                            
additional  revenue for the State  even though, as noted  by Senator                                                            
Bunde,  those grants  do not directly  benefit  the State's  general                                                            
fund. Mr. Ornseth  declared that,  while this is a "good  point," it                                                            
also supports  the argument for a  State income tax because,  as the                                                            
grant monies funnel through  the University to the private sector, a                                                            
healthy economy  could result.  Thus, he  concluded, were an  income                                                            
tax in place,  a healthy private sector would, in  turn, benefit the                                                            
State.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JO PEDERSEN, Access  Alaska Recipient, testified via  teleconference                                                            
from Fairbanks  and urged for continued  funding of the Independent                                                             
Living Program as these  type of agencies provide a valuable service                                                            
to people.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DAVID JACOBSON testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks to state                                                            
that he is testifying as  a person with a disability, as a parent of                                                            
a child  with a disability,  as  a member of  the State Independent                                                             
Living Council,  and as [indiscernible}  for fourteen years  to urge                                                            
for the restoration of  the Independent Living Program funding as it                                                            
would be  the most efficient  choice and  "the greatest choice"  for                                                            
persons living with disabilities.  He stated that the benefits these                                                            
programs  provide across the  State outweigh  the option of  placing                                                            
these people in nursing  homes. He stated that this funding "belongs                                                            
in the budget."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ANNIE  HOPPER,  Program Director,  Family  Counseling  and  Adoption                                                            
Program, testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks  and asked the                                                            
Committee to increase,  rather than decrease, funding for the Family                                                            
Preservation  and  Support  grant  programs.  She  attested  that  a                                                            
funding reduction would  severely affect these programs statewide by                                                            
incurring inadequate  staffing, food  and other services,  and would                                                            
compromise  many programs'  operations. She  stated that the  grants                                                            
provided  to programs "are  not luxuries  but are necessities,"  She                                                            
also stressed  the importance of providing  appropriate funding  for                                                            
the Community Matching Grant program.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
TRACY  BRADSHAW  testified  via  teleconference  from  Fairbanks  in                                                            
support of funding for  the Independent Living Centers. She stressed                                                            
that the State  would be responsible for the cost  of taking care of                                                            
many of these people were they forced to live in nursing homes.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DIANN DARNALL testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks and urged                                                            
the Committee  to  fully fund the  Tobacco Cessation  and  Education                                                            
Program. She cited  the level of funding that is recommended  by the                                                            
Center for Disease Control,  and she noted that the program's public                                                            
awareness  programs  are having  an impact.  She  stressed that  the                                                            
Tobacco  Settlement money  should be  used as  intended rather  than                                                            
being used to fund other things.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ED SHELLINGER,  AARP, testified via  teleconference from  Fairbanks,                                                            
in support  of continuing the Longevity  Bonus Program as  it is. He                                                            
stated that Legislative  commitment to "the contract"  should not be                                                            
broken.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS  FAETH   testified  via  teleconference   from  Fairbanks   in                                                            
opposition  to the  proposed budget  reductions  to the Independent                                                             
Living Program.  He stated that, as  a person who is terminally  ill                                                            
with cancer,  the cost of  living in a nursing  home would  be three                                                            
times  more expensive  than  the cost  of living  independently.  He                                                            
stated that his  independence is important, as he  came to Alaska to                                                            
participate and not "to give up."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CYNTHIA  HENRY,  Member,  University  of Alaska  Board  of  Regents,                                                            
testified  via teleconference  from Fairbanks  to voice support  for                                                            
the  increased University  funding  as  proposed in  the  Governor's                                                            
budget. She  urged the Committee to  support that funding  level, as                                                            
the University  is  moving forward  in its program  development  and                                                            
adequate  funding would allow  that momentum  to continue.  She also                                                            
mentioned that  the University is endeavoring to increase  the level                                                            
of private funding it receives.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PETER  BOWERS  testified  via  teleconference   from  Fairbanks,  in                                                            
support of adequate funding  for K-12 education, the University, and                                                            
the  Department of  Health  and Social  Services  programs. He  also                                                            
urged the Committee  to reconsider implementation  of a state income                                                            
tax, as he  attested a lot of money  from the fishing, tourism,  and                                                            
oil industries leaves the State.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DEREK  MILLER, Student  and  Student  Regent, University  of  Alaska                                                            
Fairbanks,  testified via teleconference  from Fairbanks  in support                                                            
of adequate K-12 and University  education funding. He attested that                                                            
the increase in the number  of Alaska high school students enrolling                                                            
at the  University  and expanding  University  program offerings  is                                                            
indicative of the success of the program.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
BEN ANGEL, Coalition  of Student Leaders and Student,  University of                                                            
Alaska, testified via teleconference  from Fairbanks and thanked Co-                                                            
Chair Wilken  for his "forward-thinking"  support of the  University                                                            
of Alaska  system  in spite  of his  concerns  involving  University                                                            
"accountability"   and  the  level  of student   services  that  are                                                            
available  at the University.  He stated  that instead of  providing                                                            
State "handouts  or subsidies to individuals,"  the citizens  of the                                                            
State desire  that the money invested  in institutions and  programs                                                            
such as the University  of Alaska, provide "a high rate of return to                                                            
the people  of Alaska." He  noted that while  the investment  in the                                                            
University would  not return benefits to the State's  general funds,                                                            
it  would  benefit  the economy  of  the  State  by  producing  "one                                                            
productive individual at  a time." He summarized that funding for K-                                                            
12 education  and the University should  be viewed as "a  necessity"                                                            
rather than as "a luxury."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HETTIE HUME  testified via teleconference  from Fairbanks  and urged                                                            
the Committee to increase  funding for autism programs in the State,                                                            
as she noted, that early  intervention improves the quality of life.                                                            
She  stated that  the number  of individuals  being  diagnosed  with                                                            
autism could  be characterized as  reaching epidemic numbers  either                                                            
as a result of  better diagnosis or environmental  issues. She noted                                                            
that early intervention  also reduces long-term expenses.  She urged                                                            
that separate  legislation be introduced  to address this  issue, as                                                            
it is  now the third-leading  childhood illness.  She asked  whether                                                            
any funding is specifically  being proposed to address autism in the                                                            
Special  and  Supplemental  Service  program  in the  Department  of                                                            
Education   and  Early  Development   or  the  Infant  Learning   or                                                            
Behavioral  Health programs in the  Department of Health  and Social                                                            
Services.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken responded  that the testifier should "be encouraged"                                                            
by the  Governor's Initiative  that was started  by Congressman  Ted                                                            
Stevens to  address this issue via  the Department of Education  and                                                            
Early Development.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TODD HUME testified via  teleconference from Fairbanks and urged the                                                            
Committee  to provide  funding  for  a preschool  special  education                                                            
program to  specifically address  autism, as  he attested that  none                                                            
currently  exist and  that early  intervention  helps and  sometimes                                                            
cures this affliction.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  WITTER,  grandfather  of  an  autistic  child,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference from Fairbanks  and stressed that early diagnosis and                                                            
intervention  of this condition  "is critical."  He noted that  only                                                            
one doctor  in Anchorage  specializes in autism  and that the  State                                                            
must provide  a specific  program through  which children with  this                                                            
disorder could be identified and treated.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
KAREN WOOD,  Gerontologist  and Senior Citizen  advocate,  testified                                                            
via teleconference  from  Fairbanks  to voice  the negative  impacts                                                            
that  would result  from  the  elimination  of the  Longevity  Bonus                                                            
Program.  She  reviewed  the  basis for  the  establishment  of  the                                                            
program,  and  "respectfully  asked"  the  Committee  to  honor  the                                                            
original commitment of  the program and allow the State's seniors to                                                            
live with "independence and dignity."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MARTA  MUELLER  testified  via  teleconference  from  Fairbanks  and                                                            
surmised that the State's  financial difficulties arise "from paying                                                            
for on-going  expenses with  one-time revenue  sources." She  stated                                                            
that several programs such  as the Alaska Science and Endowment Fund                                                            
and  the  Learning   Opportunities  Grant  funds   as  well  as  the                                                            
Constitutional Budget Reserve  (CBR) are being used to fund programs                                                            
that users  consider "on-going and  essential." She countered  that,                                                            
rather than  cutting programs, diversified  funding sources  such as                                                            
an  income tax  must  be implemented  to  replace  one-time  revenue                                                            
sources.  She  stated that  the  State's  education system  and  the                                                            
economy  must  "be  buffered  from  the crazy  swings"  of  the  oil                                                            
industry."  She  urged for  full  funding  for education.  She  also                                                            
stated  that there  is an  "Alaskan disconnect,  a  gap between  the                                                            
reality  of  our  State's  financial  challenge  and  our  residents                                                            
perception."   She  stated   that   education  is   the  remedy   to                                                            
reconnecting politicians and the State's citizens.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JIM LYNCH testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks  and spoke in                                                            
favor of  funding for K-12  education and  the University.  He urged                                                            
that  the   Governor's  budget  proposal   for  the  University   be                                                            
supported.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
RON DIXON, Chair,  Tanana Valley Campus Community  Advisory Council,                                                            
testified via teleconference  from Fairbanks and urged the Committee                                                            
to support  the Governor's  proposed  budget for  the University  of                                                            
Alaska.  He stated  that the  University  has been  accountable  and                                                            
responsible  in that it is  continually responding  to the  needs of                                                            
the State by providing  training programs for such things as the oil                                                            
industry and the medical fields.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
AMY KRIER testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks  and spoke in                                                            
favor  of  K-12  education  funding.  She  noted  that  others  have                                                            
testified  as to the  funding needs  for pupil  transportation,  the                                                            
base  student allocation,  staff  salaries, and  other requirements                                                             
like  the   federal  "No  child  left   behind"  program,   and  she                                                            
highlighted  the quality  education that teachers  are providing  to                                                            
Alaskan youth.  She stated  that Legislators  and all residents  are                                                            
responsible  for providing a quality  education to our children  and                                                            
that education  should not be penalized by the desire  to curb State                                                            
spending. She applauded  efforts to develop alternate school funding                                                            
sources; however, she warned  that the current education system must                                                            
not suffer in the meantime.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
GLENN HACKNEY testified  via teleconference from Fairbanks and noted                                                            
that  contrary to  the  Governor's recent  remarks  about  fairness,                                                            
there  is not  a single  decision  that is  made that  could not  be                                                            
misconstrued  by someone to be unfair.  However, he stated  that the                                                            
Governor  missed  the  mark  when  he  proposed   to  eliminate  the                                                            
Longevity  Bonus program.  He stated that  legislation "capping  the                                                            
program  and letting  it die  naturally"  was acceptable,  and  that                                                            
"pulling  the plug" on that  program now that  people have  built it                                                            
into their  lifestyle is unacceptable.  He urged the Legislature  to                                                            
leave the Longevity Bonus Program alone.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
LISA VILLANO,  Lathrop Parent  Teacher Student  Association  (PTSA),                                                            
Social Service  Volunteer,  TBC Advisory  Board, Alaska Association                                                             
for  Community   Education,   testified  via   teleconference   from                                                            
Fairbanks to note  that, on behalf of these organizations,  adequate                                                            
funding is needed  to continue to provide for education,  quality of                                                            
life, safe communities,  and services in a community  to attract and                                                            
retain residents.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SFC 03 # 52, Side B 07:57 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  Villano urged  the  Committee  to consider  these  things  when                                                            
making funding decisions.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JULIE WILD-CURRY,  Student, University of Alaska,  Fairbanks campus,                                                            
testified  via teleconference  from Fairbanks  and thanked  Co-Chair                                                            
Wilken for  his support  of education. She  referenced a  letter-to-                                                            
the-editor  that  she had  written  that  was published  in  various                                                            
newspapers  in the  State that  urged that the  Governor's  proposed                                                            
University  operating  budget be  supported  as the  University,  in                                                            
addition to providing  great educational opportunities,  provides an                                                            
economic benefit to the State.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Wilken  asked Ms. Wild-Curry  to fax a copy of her  letter-                                                            
to-the-editor to the Committee.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
JAKE POOLE  testified via  teleconference  from Fairbanks and  urged                                                            
for full funding  for K-12 education and for the University's  Board                                                            
of Regents'  budget  request.  He stated  that because  of  adequate                                                            
funding, the  University has had "unparalleled  success"  during the                                                            
past four years  with increasing the  number of Alaska students  who                                                            
stay  in or  return  to  the State  to  attend  college as  well  as                                                            
increasing the  number of out-of-state students. He  voiced that the                                                            
House  of   Representative's  budget   proposal  would  negate   the                                                            
University' forward momentum.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CARL BENSON  testified via teleconference  from Fairbanks  and urged                                                            
full  funding  for  K-12  and  University  budget  requests,  as  he                                                            
attested,  education  is  essential  to  the future  of  Alaska.  In                                                            
addition, he  voiced opposition to  shifting the Department  of Fish                                                            
and Game Habitat  Division to the  Department of Natural  Resources.                                                            
He also urged  for municipal revenue sharing to be  fully funded. He                                                            
stated that the State's  population growth, combined with inflation,                                                            
places additional burdens  on the services of local governments, and                                                            
that  the  State,  rather than  cutting  the  budget,  must  provide                                                            
adequate  funding  by raising  revenue  by  re-instituting  a  State                                                            
income tax. He  stated that this would be much easier  to administer                                                            
and would  raise more revenue  than implementing  a variety  of user                                                            
fees and other taxes.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 8:06 PM / 8:06 PM                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Green chaired the remainder of the meeting.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
KATHLEEN FITZGERALD testified  via teleconference from Anchorage and                                                            
asked that  the developmental disabilities  (DD) program  reductions                                                            
being proposed  in both the Governor  and House of Representatives'                                                             
budgets be restored.  She stated that the proposed  reductions would                                                            
undo years of work that  have been developed to provide a safety net                                                            
and hope to  people that they would  receive services. She  attested                                                            
that contrary  to what is being said;  existing core services  would                                                            
be  negatively   affected.  She  shared   that  she  is   personally                                                            
"despaired" by  the actions being presented and the  affect it would                                                            
have on people in need of assistance.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Green  announced  that,  due  to the  quantity  of  people                                                            
wishing  to testify  from  the Anchorage  area, testimony  would  be                                                            
limited to one minute.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DEBBIE  OSSIANDER,  Representative,  Association  of  Alaska  School                                                            
Boards, testified via teleconference  from Anchorage and stated that                                                            
education funding  is inadequate as  it is and does not provide  for                                                            
inflation  or mandated  services.  She stated  that increased  class                                                            
size,  reduced staffing  levels,  and  the elimination  of  elective                                                            
classes are occurring  throughout the State. She continued  that the                                                            
proposed  student  foundation  formula  funding  would  not  provide                                                            
sufficient  funding  as  local  districts  are not  able  to  absorb                                                            
further expenses;  specifically pupil  transportation expenses.  She                                                            
urged the  Committee to  increase education  funding and to  support                                                            
such things as community schools.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ED  EARNHART  testified   via  teleconference  from   Anchorage  and                                                            
declared "you  can't run a good government  without paying  for it."                                                            
He  urged the  Committee  to  "wake up,"  and  incorporate  adequate                                                            
revenue streams  into the budget to provide for the  things that are                                                            
required.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
BETH EDMANDS Representative,  Governor's Council on Disabilities and                                                            
Special Education,  testified via  teleconference from Anchorage  to                                                            
request that $250,000  be restored to the Early Intervention  Infant                                                            
Learning  Program and $2,158,300  be restored  to the Developmental                                                             
Disabilities Community  Grant Program. She stated that both of these                                                            
programs provide  essential services  to individuals and  would save                                                            
the State money in the long run.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MARIAH  L. GODES  testified  via teleconference  from  Anchorage  to                                                            
voice that as a person  with a disability she has benefited from the                                                            
DD grant program. She urged  that the DD grant program be adequately                                                            
funded as it has allowed her to be independent.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BRYAN KNIGHT,  Representative,  Governor's  Council on Disabilities                                                             
and Special  Education testified via  teleconference from  Anchorage                                                            
to  ask  that   funding  for  programs   that  assist  people   with                                                            
disabilities not be reduced.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TIM MORGAN, Anchorage  School District School Bus  Driver, testified                                                            
via teleconference  from Anchorage  and informed the Committee  that                                                            
47,000  children are  transported  to and from  Anchorage's  schools                                                            
each school day. He stated  that districts should be fully funded to                                                            
ensure that school  bus transportation, which is the  safest mode of                                                            
transportation  in the  nation, could  continue to  be provided.  He                                                            
asked that  this safe mode of transportation  not be compromised  as                                                            
the result of short-funding education.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ZAK YOUNG,  Anchorage School District  School Bus Driver,  testified                                                            
via teleconference  from  Anchorage and  stated that  his job  is to                                                            
provide  a  safe environment   for the  students  he  transports  to                                                            
school.  He noted  that  the  proposed $10.7  million  reduction  in                                                            
transportation  funding would jeopardize the safety  of our children                                                            
as more children would  be forced to walk to school or parents would                                                            
be forced to drive them to school.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PAULA ARTZ, Anchorage  School District School Bus  Driver, testified                                                            
via teleconference from  Anchorage and commented that the bus driver                                                            
transportation  training she teaches  is intensive and that  student                                                            
transportation  funding  should not  be reduced as  it provides  the                                                            
safest mode of transportation to and from school.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
STEVE  LESKO   President,   Alaska  Association   of  Developmental                                                             
disabilities,  testified via teleconference from Anchorage  to point                                                            
out that DD funding grants  are proposed to be reduced approximately                                                            
five million  dollars, which equates  to approximately a  25-percent                                                            
funding reduction.  He stated that this level of reduction  does not                                                            
meet his definition  of the word "fair."  He urged the Committee  to                                                            
restore a  minimum of $2.2  million. Furthermore,  he stated  that a                                                            
letter to  the Committee  would be forthcoming  that identifies  the                                                            
needs of the program. He  quoted the saying, "evil thrives when good                                                            
people  do nothing,"  and he voiced  his belief  that the  Committee                                                            
members "are good people."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CARL  EVERTSBUSCH,  Representative,  Key  Coalition,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference from Anchorage  and urged for the restoration of $2.2                                                            
million in DD grant funding  in the Governor's proposed budget as it                                                            
would  provide  short-term  temporary   assistance  to  families  in                                                            
crisis, low  cost grants,  training to families  to utilize  generic                                                            
community services,  and medical funding  money to those  who do not                                                            
qualify for Medicaid. He  stated that no alternate funding mechanism                                                            
has  been identified  to address  these  situations.  He noted  that                                                            
while  the  State's fiscal  situation  is  recognized,  people  with                                                            
disabilities   should  be  allowed  to  remain  at   home  in  their                                                            
communities.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ARLISS STURGULEWSKI testified  via teleconference from Anchorage and                                                            
declared  that,   "this  legislature   is  giving  short   shift  to                                                            
maintaining  and  growing  the  State's  economy."  She  noted  that                                                            
economic  benefits,  jobs  and  economic  diversification  would  be                                                            
negatively  affected by the  elimination of  funding for the  Alaska                                                            
Science  and  Technology  Endowment  Fund (ASTF).  She  stated  that                                                            
University funding should also be provided.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
WILLIAN  THEUER,  Anchorage  School   District  School  Bus  Driver,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from Anchorage and explained  that, in                                                            
addition  to  providing  the  safest  mode  of  transportation   for                                                            
children,   the   school   bus   transportation    system   provides                                                            
"cohesiveness"   to   students'    families   who   rely   on   that                                                            
transportation  being  provided  every  day  so  that  other  family                                                            
obligations, such  as jobs, could be met. He urged  for full funding                                                            
for pupil transportation.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
GRESINE  JACOBS,  Anchorage  School   District  School  Bus  Driver,                                                            
testified via teleconference  from Anchorage and explained that as a                                                            
parent,  she  depends  on  school  buses  to  safely  transport  her                                                            
children to school. She  noted that otherwise, her children would be                                                            
required to  travel by foot across  several busy streets,  and since                                                            
children  could be  preoccupied  at times,  could  be approached  by                                                            
strangers or unleashed  animals, and might have to walk in the dark,                                                            
she has concerns.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
LINDA  WETHERBY,  Rabbit  Creek  Community   School,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from  Anchorage  to  voice  that  community  schools                                                            
provide a  broad variety  of programs such  as a preschool  program,                                                            
language program, adult  and evening educational classes, and family                                                            
activities.  She stated that these  programs enhance lives,  and she                                                            
urged that funding not be reduced for community schools.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DERI LYNN  JOHNSON,  Anchorage School  District  School Bus  Driver,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from Anchorage and stated  that of the                                                            
800 school related  transportation fatalities occurring  annually on                                                            
a  national  level,   the  majority  result  from  private   vehicle                                                            
accidents or students  who walk to school. She stated  that reducing                                                            
pupil  bus transportation  funding would  result  in an increase  in                                                            
parents delivering their  children, would raise pollutant emissions,                                                            
would increase  danger to children who would be required  to walk to                                                            
school,  and  disrupt   family  schedules.  She  urged   that  pupil                                                            
transportation funding be maintained.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
JODY  MCINTOSH,   Anchorage  School  District  School   Bus  Driver,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from Anchorage and expressed  anger at                                                            
the proposed reduction  to pupil transportation funding  as it could                                                            
result in  increased dangers  to pupils.  She stressed that  current                                                            
programs are run efficiently and safely.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
LARRY WIGET,  Executive Director,  Public Affairs, Anchorage  School                                                            
District, testified  via teleconference from Anchorage  to voice, on                                                            
behalf of  the Anchorage  School District  Superintendent,  that the                                                            
Governor's proposed  education funding reductions  "would absolutely                                                            
devastate"  efforts  that  have been  undertaken  by  the  Anchorage                                                            
school district  to improve  student achievement.  He stressed  that                                                            
fully  funding the  student foundation  formula does  not equate  to                                                            
adequately  "funding all  components  of the  education budget."  He                                                            
stated that this would  also apply to funding for the University. He                                                            
quoted  the Superintendent  as  saying that,  "an  education is  the                                                            
ticket  out of poverty,  it's a  ticket to  a successful  workforce,                                                            
it's the  ticket to  safe and  healthy families  where children  are                                                            
stable and strong." He  urged for full and increased school funding.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
STEVE  KALMES,   Director   of  Transportation,   Anchorage   School                                                            
District,  testified via  teleconference from  Anchorage and  stated                                                            
that  40-percent  of  the  City's  school  buses  transfer   special                                                            
education children  who equate to approximately five  percent of the                                                            
overall student  population. He stated that because  the District is                                                            
required   by  federal  law   to  provide   special  education   bus                                                            
transportation,   the  four  million  dollar  pupil  transportation                                                             
reduction  specified in the  budget could only  be removed  from the                                                            
$9.6 million remaining  regular bus service funding.  He stated that                                                            
were this  done, either "a  significant number  of routes"  would be                                                            
eliminated which would  result in children being required to walk to                                                            
school or that the classroom dollars "would be severely cut."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ALAN MITCHELL  testified via teleconference from Anchorage  to voice                                                            
opposition to  "any State funding of the southern  intertie project,                                                            
the  duplicate   power  line   between  Anchorage   and  the   Kenai                                                            
Peninsula." He  observed that the Committee appears  to support this                                                            
position  as it  has  earmarked $27  million  in interest  that  was                                                            
earned on a  prior intertie grant  to be appropriated to  the Alaska                                                            
Debt Retirement Fund. He  stated that this action is contrary to the                                                            
action of the House of  Representatives action, which desires to use                                                            
that interest  to further subsidize  the southern intertie  project.                                                            
He  opined  that this  project  is  not cost  effective  as  studies                                                            
indicate, "that  it would provide  fifty cents of benefits  to every                                                            
dollar of cost."  He stated that this would equate  to a $70 million                                                            
loss to the  State's economy. Furthermore,  he stated that  were the                                                            
project  cost effective,  there would  be no need  for the State  to                                                            
fund it, as  the Railbelt electric  utilities would be able  to fund                                                            
and build it without  the State's assistance. He stated  that better                                                            
uses of  the funding would  be to fund education  and reduce  school                                                            
debt.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DEBORA  STUDNEK,  Anchorage  School   District  School  Bus  Driver,                                                            
testified via teleconference  from Anchorage and urged the Committee                                                            
to fully  fund  education "as  the youth  of today  are the  State's                                                            
greatest investment." She  asked that any proposed education funding                                                            
reductions be reconsidered.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PAT REYNAPA,  Registered  Nurse, testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Anchorage  to voice support  for funding  the Tobacco Cessation  and                                                            
Education program.  She stated that  the documented progress  of the                                                            
program,  to date, "has  been encouraging."  She urged that  twenty-                                                            
percent  of  the  Tobacco  Settlement  be  allocated  to  fund  this                                                            
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
BILL  BOUWENS,  Member,  Alaska  Tobacco  Control   Alliance  (ATCA)                                                            
testified via teleconference  from Anchorage and urged the Committee                                                            
to fund  the Tobacco  Cessation and  Education program  fund  at the                                                            
allowable twenty percent level.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SHERRY  BYERS,  Member,  ATCA,  testified  via  teleconference  from                                                            
Anchorage and urged the  Committee to fund the Tobacco Cessation and                                                            
Education  program  at  the  twenty percent  level  of  the  Tobacco                                                            
Settlement monies. She  stated that the results of the programs have                                                            
"been amazing."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
PHIL KALUZA  testified via teleconference  from Anchorage  and spoke                                                            
in opposition  to the southern intertie  funding as proposed  by the                                                            
House of  Representatives.  He urged that  the interest earnings  be                                                            
instead used to fund education needs in the State.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TIM  STEELE,   Member,   Anchorage  School   Board,  testified   via                                                            
teleconference   from  Anchorage  and  reminded  the   Committee  of                                                            
campaign promises  in support of education. He stated  that contrary                                                            
to the  Governor's interpretation  that full  funding means  funding                                                            
the base student  education foundation formula, full  funding should                                                            
include  sufficient funds  for such  things as  debt reimbursement,                                                             
transportation,  out  of  district  tuition   funding,  funding  for                                                            
community schools,  as well as to  provide for the costs  associated                                                            
with mandated  programs. He avowed that schools "can't  do more with                                                            
less."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
PATRICIA SENNE, President,  Alaska Nurses Association, testified via                                                            
teleconference   from  Anchorage  and  urged  for   support  of  the                                                            
Governor's proposed  budget increase for the University.  She stated                                                            
that  the University's  nursing  programs  assist in  providing  the                                                            
number of the nurses who would be required in the State.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
RYAN WOLCOTT, Seventh Grade  Student, Alyeska Central Correspondence                                                            
School, testified via teleconference  from Anchorage and stated that                                                            
it  appears  that  Legislators   have  not  been  listening  to  the                                                            
testimony  that has  been  presented in  support  of continuing  the                                                            
Alyeska Central  Correspondence School. He stated  that the teaching                                                            
services provided  by the School are  excellent. He noted  that were                                                            
he  to  attend  public  school  in  Anchorage,  the  cost  would  be                                                            
approximately the same  as that being paid for him to participate in                                                            
the Alyeska Central Correspondence School program.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SFC 03 # 53, Side A 08:46 PM                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Wolcott  urged the  Committee to "save"  Alyeska Central  School                                                            
"as it is the best."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CINDY MICHOU  testified via teleconference  from Anchorage  to voice                                                            
that Alyeska Central  School would be needed more  than ever because                                                            
the Anchorage  school district "would not be receiving  the level of                                                            
funding they need,  especially for the summer school  students." She                                                            
urged the Committee to fully fund K-12 education.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
JAKE  METCALFE, President,  Anchorage  School Board,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from  Anchorage   and  advocated  for  full  funding                                                            
support of K-12 and University  funding. He stated that the proposed                                                            
budget  reductions  proposed   by  the Governor   "would  pit  lower                                                            
achieving students against  higher achieving students." He suggested                                                            
that  Committee  Members   spend  a  day  in an  elementary   school                                                            
classroom in order to witness,  "how hard our teachers work and what                                                            
type  of education  our  children  are receiving."  He  stated  that                                                            
rather than promoting  economic development, the proposed  education                                                            
reductions would  impose "economic destruction." He  opined that the                                                            
Anchorage  School District  is being run  efficiently. He  suggested                                                            
that  the money  in  the  Permanent  Fund should  be  considered  to                                                            
support economic development.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
RICH  SEWELL,  Past President  and  current  Member,  University  of                                                            
Alaska Anchorage  Alumni Association,  testified via teleconference                                                             
from Anchorage  and stated that in regards to economic  development,                                                            
the University should be  considered as an investment rather than an                                                            
expense. He asserted  that the State should double  the University's                                                            
budget request.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
TINA  DELAPP, Director,  School  of  Nursing, University  of  Alaska                                                            
Anchorage,  testified via  teleconference from  Anchorage and  urged                                                            
support of  K-12 and University  funding.  She stated that  proposed                                                            
House  of   Representatives   budget  reductions   slated  for   the                                                            
University  "would   decimate  crucial  programs,"   would  lead  to                                                            
students  seeking their  education outside  of the  State, "fail  to                                                            
address crucial workforce  shortages," and lead to "a decline in the                                                            
health and economic  status" of the State." She urged  the Committee                                                            
to support the Governor's proposed University budget.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA HAYR,  Coordinator, Fair Valley Community  School, testified                                                            
via teleconference  from Anchorage and urged full  funding for K-12,                                                            
University,  and  Community  Schools.   She  stated  that  community                                                            
schools provide  after-school tutoring  programs and other  programs                                                            
geared  to  improving  student  academic  performance.   She  voiced                                                            
disbelief  that  any reductions  in  education  programs  are  being                                                            
considered this year.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
VICKY MARTIN testified  via teleconference from Anchorage and voiced                                                            
support  for continuing  the Alyeska Central  Correspondence  School                                                            
Program, as it is a quality  program "and the only viable choice for                                                            
many families."  She stated that closing this school  would not be a                                                            
cost-saving measure.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HALEY  RUDDELL,  Student,  Alyeska  Central Correspondence   School,                                                            
testified  via  teleconference  from  Anchorage  and  voiced  strong                                                            
support for continuing the program as opposed to eliminating it.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SEAN  RUDDELL,  Student,  Alyeska  Central  Correspondence   School,                                                            
testified  via teleconference  from  Anchorage and  stated that  the                                                            
Legislators do not seem  to be hearing any of the testimony that has                                                            
been presented  in support of the correspondence program.  He voiced                                                            
that closing this  program would not save the State  money, and that                                                            
the option  of attending  "overcrowded  schools in  need of  repair"                                                            
where the  "teachers  are overworked"  would not  meet the needs  of                                                            
many students such as himself.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
FAY VON  GEMMINGEN, President,  Alaska Municipal  League,  testified                                                            
via teleconference  from Anchorage and informed that  in addition to                                                            
a downturn in the economy  of many communities as well as population                                                            
decreases,  such things  as increasing  operating  costs and  higher                                                            
insurance rates are hindering  Alaska's local economy. She urged the                                                            
Committee  to not reduce  local municipal  revenue sharing  programs                                                            
and school funding, as  this would place additional burdens on local                                                            
businesses.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
TAMELA RAMICKE testified  via teleconference from Anchorage to voice                                                            
support  for  continuing  funding   for  programs  that  assist  the                                                            
developmentally disabled.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
VISTORIA SHAVER, Representative,  Food Bank of Alaska, testified via                                                            
teleconference  from Anchorage and urged that funding  for the Human                                                            
Services  Matching  Grant program  be restored.  She  noted that  in                                                            
addition to providing basic  funding for human service programs such                                                            
as food and  shelter, this is the  only State funding the  Food Bank                                                            
of Alaska (FBA) receives.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHERYL  SCOTT,   Families  of  Disabled   Children,  testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from Anchorage and  shared her experiences  with her                                                            
adopted child  who suffers from developmental  conditions  resulting                                                            
from a premature  birth and fetal alcohol syndrome.  She stated that                                                            
services  such  as   the  Infant  Learning  program,   K-12  special                                                            
education programs  including bus  transportation, DD programs,  and                                                            
Medicaid waivers are some  of the things that her family requires in                                                            
order to  be able to  care for  their son. She  stated that  funding                                                            
reductions  in these services would  negatively impact families  and                                                            
individuals.  She stated  that rather  than being  "a vegetable"  as                                                            
originally  diagnosed, her son, as  a result of these programs,  has                                                            
become an independent  and production  member of society.  She urged                                                            
that disability program funding be restored.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RAY   KREIG,    Chairman,   Chugach    Consumers,   testified    via                                                            
teleconference from Anchorage,  and urged the Legislators to support                                                            
the Governor's  request  that the  $27 million  in accrued  interest                                                            
that has  been generated  from  the southern  intertie power  system                                                            
program be returned to  the general fund rather than being allocated                                                            
to the Railbelt  Energy Fund. He stated  that the Southern  intertie                                                            
project would not be economical,  and, he attested that "were it not                                                            
for the deplorable  suppression" of Chugach Electric  management, it                                                            
"would have been abandoned"  long ago. He urged the Committee to not                                                            
use public  funds to further "this  dubious project" and  to recover                                                            
other funds  that have been  allocated. He  stressed that the  money                                                            
should be  allocated to the  general fund  or "be reappropriated  to                                                            
benefit  South  Central  Alaska's  utility  or  "general  government                                                            
school debt reduction."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MARY  MARKS,   Member,   Anchorage  School   Board,  testified   via                                                            
teleconference  from Anchorage and  stated that, as a member  of the                                                            
Board, she is responsible  for 50,000 students. She stressed that no                                                            
reduction  in  K-12  education  funding  occur as  full  funding  is                                                            
required in order to meet mandated education requirements.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REGINA MANTENFEL  testified  via teleconference  from Anchorage  and                                                            
urged  for full funding  support  for the Anchorage  Human  Services                                                            
Block  Grants  that provide  funding  for  such things  as  literacy                                                            
programs  and the Anchorage  Neighborhood  Health Center. She  asked                                                            
how many of the Members  have participated in the program denoted on                                                            
the Alaska  Permanent  Fund Dividend  (PFD) application  that  would                                                            
allow for  some of  their PFD to  be donated  to certain  non-profit                                                            
education and human services organizations.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Taylor  responded that  he and many  of his colleagues  have                                                            
participated  in the program  in the past.  He noted his support  in                                                            
developing that program  and stated that people should be encouraged                                                            
to consider participating in it.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
LOU THEISS,  Girdwood Resident,  testified  via teleconference  from                                                            
Anchorage regarding  the need to continue community  school funding,                                                            
especially in communities  such as Girdwood, where other options are                                                            
limited  and the  school,  alone, might  be  too small  to meet  the                                                            
community's need for after work and after school activities.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KYM WOLCOTT testified  via teleconference from Anchorage  in support                                                            
of continued funding  for the Alyeska Central Correspondence  School                                                            
program. She  argued that, contrary  to the Department of  Education                                                            
and  Early  Development's  position   that  eleven  other  education                                                            
options  exist;   several  correspondence  programs   would  not  be                                                            
operating statewide  programs. She  also stated that closure  of the                                                            
program would  not result  in any cost savings,  and that  absorbing                                                            
these  students back  into  their district  schools  would serve  to                                                            
worsen over-crowding  conditions.  She concluded that were  Governor                                                            
Murkowski and  his administration  committed to providing  a quality                                                            
education  in  the  State, they  would  not  close  Alyeska  Central                                                            
Correspondence School.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
JOELLE SHALL,  Representative,  Alaska Tobacco  for Kids,  testified                                                            
via teleconference  from Anchorage and stated that  the full twenty-                                                            
percent of the Tobacco  Master settlement funding should be spent on                                                            
Tobacco Cessation and Education  programs rather than being spent on                                                            
other non-related projects.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOHN   STEINER,   Anchorage    School   District,   testified    via                                                            
teleconference  from  Anchorage  and voiced  understanding  for  the                                                            
fiscal  challenges facing  the State  and the  tough decisions  that                                                            
Legislators  must   make.  He  noted,  however,  that   any  further                                                            
education funding reduction  from the FY 03 funding levels would not                                                            
be possible. He suggested  that funding be decreased or deferred for                                                            
other discretionary  programs, as he declared funding  for education                                                            
could  not be  categorized  as  discretionary,  as funding  must  be                                                            
available to provide quality  education opportunities to students as                                                            
they advance,  each year, toward graduation. He stated  that the "no                                                            
child left behind" program must be upheld.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ALLISON BUTLER, Biology  Instructor, University of Alaska Anchorage,                                                            
testified  via teleconference  from Anchorage  and pointed  out that                                                            
insufficient  funding  of  the  University  system  would  not  only                                                            
negatively affect  the programs that the University  offers, it also                                                            
would negatively  affect the future workforce of Alaska,  especially                                                            
in health care programs such as nursing.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
JILL GATES,  Member,  Alaska Tobacco  Control  Alliance, and  former                                                            
Director,  Prevention Program,  American Cancer  Society,  testified                                                            
via teleconference from  Anchorage and strongly recommended that the                                                            
Tobacco  Cessation  and Education  program  be  funded  at the  full                                                            
twenty-percent level. She  stated that these programs are successful                                                            
and save lives.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
LEE GORSUCH, Chancellor,  University Alaska Anchorage, testified via                                                            
teleconference  from  Anchorage in  support of  Representative  Norm                                                            
Rokeberg's  legislation  that would  establish a  funding source  to                                                            
fully fund K-12  education and University funding  "by repealing the                                                            
supplemental  contribution to the  Alaska Permanent Fund."  He noted                                                            
that, while several funding  options have been investigated over the                                                            
years, this would an "appropriate and adequate" approach.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SHIRLEY EVANS,  Representative, Developmental Disability  Community,                                                            
testified via  teleconference from Anchorage and requested  that the                                                            
$2.2 DD  funding be reinstated  in the budget.  She shared  how this                                                            
funding assisted her family  with caring for their disabled daughter                                                            
and allowed the family's needs to be addressed.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
GRAHAM SIEBE,  Student, University  Alaska Anchorage, testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from  Anchorage and  communicated  to the  Committee                                                            
"the  strong  momentum"  of  progress that  has  been  occurring  at                                                            
University campuses. He  stressed that without adequate funding this                                                            
momentum  would be  negatively affected.  He  stated that  continued                                                            
momentum would  allow the University to develop "the  future leaders                                                            
of Alaska" rather than losing them to other states.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CAROL COMEAU,  Superintendent, Anchorage School District,  testified                                                            
via teleconference  from  Anchorage  and implored  the Committee  to                                                            
restore K-12,  pupil transportation,  and school debt reimbursement                                                             
funding levels that are  proposed to be reduced in the FY 04 budget.                                                            
She stated that  K-12 education, the Alyeska Central  Correspondence                                                            
School,  and the  University  each provide  essential  services  and                                                            
should not  be pitted against each  other. She asked that  Committee                                                            
Members "remember  their commitment  to education when they  ran for                                                            
office" as the  State's students and educators deserve  Legislators'                                                            
full support.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REBECCA  REICHLIN testified  via teleconference  from Anchorage  and                                                            
asked  for  that full  funding  for  education  be provided  in  the                                                            
budget.   She  stressed   that   opportunity  grant   money,   pupil                                                            
transportation  funding, and debt  reimbursement funds are  critical                                                            
to schools.  She also  noted that  all age groups  benefit from  the                                                            
services that are provided  by community schools, and she asked that                                                            
funding for these programs not be eliminated.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                

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