Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/25/2010 01:30 PM Senate LABOR & COMMERCE

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        SCR 16-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLANNING COMMISSION                                                                     
1:35:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR PASKVAN announced SCR 16 to be up for consideration.                                                                      
JEFF STEPP, staff to Senator  Paskvan, said this resolution is an                                                               
opportunity to  follow through on  a recommendation  mentioned in                                                               
an  earlier committee  overview  of economic  development in  the                                                               
state  of  Alaska. He  recalled  that  one  thing that  has  been                                                               
universally identified  among the states  is that input  from the                                                               
private sector  is lacking. In collaborating  with Representative                                                               
Austerman's  office   the  Labor   and  Commerce   Committee  has                                                               
submitted SCR 16,  the main goal of which is  to facilitate input                                                               
from the private  sector in the implementation  of state economic                                                               
development policy.  He said a committee  substitute (CS) arrived                                                               
in their  office just a  few minutes before the  meeting started.                                                               
But they  would talk about  the changes and  have the CS  and the                                                               
fiscal note for the committee next time.                                                                                        
1:38:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR JOE THOMAS joined the committee.                                                                                        
1:38:23 PM                                                                                                                    
ERIN HARRINGTON, staff to Representative  Austerman, said she had                                                               
been  working with  Mr. Stepp  on this  initiative and  explained                                                               
that SCR  16 creates an Economic  Development Planning Commission                                                               
within the Legislature.  It would be a 10-member  task force that                                                               
would  work to  integrate the  Legislature into  some of  the on-                                                               
going economic  development initiatives in the  state. In January                                                               
efforts were discussed such as  Alaska Forward and the Governor's                                                               
Legacy Initiative. The  idea is to make sure  the Legislature has                                                               
the  opportunity  to participate  in  those  and particularly  to                                                               
participate  in the  implementation of  any ideas  that developed                                                               
through the  processes. She said  her presentation  addresses the                                                               
expected CS.                                                                                                                    
1:40:08 PM                                                                                                                    
This   commission   would   report   suggested   strategies   and                                                               
legislation  to the  Governor, the  Legislative Budget  and Audit                                                               
Committee  (LB&A),   and  to   the  Legislative   Council.  Their                                                               
activities would sunset  at the end of fiscal year  2012. They do                                                               
not want to duplicate any  long term economic development efforts                                                               
that might  be created through  Alaska Forward or others,  but to                                                               
just create a very specific  working group within the Legislature                                                               
so it  can be engaged  and implement  them as the  processes move                                                               
MS.  HARRINGTON said  SCR 16  allows the  Legislature to  monitor                                                               
ongoing  initiatives  and  it  creates  a  mechanism  for  it  to                                                               
collaborate  with  the  private   sector  on  issues  related  to                                                               
economic  development,  and  to  identify  where  legislation  is                                                               
necessary.  Representative Austerman's  work  suggested that  the                                                               
state isn't  going to necessarily  lead economic  development but                                                               
in  many  cases  it  has  the   tools  to  support  it.  It  also                                                               
demonstrates  the Legislature's  ongoing  commitment to  economic                                                               
development initiatives.                                                                                                        
Finally,  it  responds  to   some  identified  shortcomings  from                                                               
previous economic  development efforts.  She referenced  a letter                                                               
from  Senator  Torgerson which  included  a  copy of  the  Alaska                                                               
Forward  Phase 1  Report noting  that previous  efforts sometimes                                                               
fell  apart   at  the  implementation   stage  either   with  the                                                               
administration  or  because  legislative action  was  needed  but                                                               
there hadn't  been good communication  about what that  might be.                                                               
This tries to address that proactively.                                                                                         
MS.  HARRINGTON said  the current  processes are  Alaska Forward,                                                               
which  has  been  organized  with   the  Alaska  Partnership  for                                                               
Economic  Development,  and the  Legacy  Process  which has  been                                                               
running out of  the Governor's Office. Alaska  Forward was funded                                                               
with  $500,000  from  the  Denali  Commission  to  support  their                                                               
efforts  to do  a statewide  strategic plan  related to  economic                                                               
development. Phase 1 is done and  they are in the fundraising and                                                               
kick off stage  of phase 2. In phase 1  they spent only $350,000-                                                               
375,000, so they  have some money left over;  they'll be spending                                                               
roughly twice that on the next stage.                                                                                           
The Legacy  Process that was  established by the  Executive Order                                                               
from the  former governor  has been  continued in  under Governor                                                               
Parnell's leadership.  This process  is morphing and  is expected                                                               
to run  parallel to the Alaska  Forward process so that  they are                                                               
mutually  supportive.   Other  regional  and   industry  specific                                                               
economic development  efforts are going  on in the state  and are                                                               
mentioned in  the report. Kinds  of opportunities  the commission                                                               
might identify  are tax incentives, loan  programs, and targeting                                                               
economic clusters  that could benefit from  additional support or                                                               
need an additional boost from state efforts.                                                                                    
She  said  the Commission  would  work  to draft  legislation  in                                                               
advance  of each  of  the two  upcoming  legislative sessions  so                                                               
action  could  be  taken  if   appropriate.  This  could  include                                                               
restructuring of departments, tax incentive or loan programs.                                                                   
1:45:40 PM                                                                                                                    
ROB ERAL, staff  to Representative Herron, remarked  that slide 7                                                               
showed the  various appointment  authorities for  the Commission;                                                               
the  Finance   co-chairs  have  a   large  roll.  The   last  two                                                               
commissioners are  automatically ex officio members.  All members                                                               
would serve until the sunset  date. They just received the Alaska                                                               
Forward Phase  1 report  that stated  the commission  could start                                                               
work  April 30  at  the earliest.  The  first reporting  deadline                                                               
would at  the beginning of  the 2011  session. Phase 2  of Alaska                                                               
Forward  will  be a  summit  in  the  spring  or fall.  A  second                                                               
reporting  deadline is  before the  2012 session.  Then it  would                                                               
sunset June 30, 2012.                                                                                                           
He said  that all agencies found  a lack of cohesive  thinking on                                                               
economic development in Alaska and  think the commission could be                                                               
a  filter and  a bridge  to  take that  information from  diverse                                                               
sources and  present it  to the  Legislature. Legislators  on the                                                               
commission  could  have  access  to Legislative  Legal  to  draft                                                               
legislation and could recommend policy changes to the governor.                                                                 
MR. EARL said the forthcoming  fiscal note will be about $130,000                                                               
- most  of it for  commission staff at range  21, step C,  with a                                                               
little bit of travel per diem.                                                                                                  
1:48:29 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BUNDE  asked if  it wouldn't be  more efficient  to bring                                                               
the report straight to the Labor and Commerce chairs.                                                                           
MS. HARRINGTON  responded that  Legislative Legal  suggested that                                                               
LB&A  interact  with  administration  on issues  related  to  the                                                               
budget  and  agencies, and  the  Legislative  Council, being  the                                                               
policy body for the Legislature,  could perhaps provide a broader                                                               
reach. It is open to discussion.                                                                                                
SENATOR  BUNDE said  the  creation of  this  commission seems  to                                                               
anticipate  proposing some  legislation, and  they should  remove                                                               
filters rather  than adding additional  ones. If  the Legislature                                                               
is  not in  session,  perhaps Legislative  Council  might be  the                                                               
right route. He didn't understand LB&A's role in this.                                                                          
CHAIR PASKVAN said  they are looking for the  comments of private                                                               
enterprise   and  he   thought  that   Labor  and   Commerce  was                                                               
appropriately involved in that.                                                                                                 
1:50:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BUNDE said  he hears from business  and enterprise people                                                               
all the  time and asked why  these business people can't  talk to                                                               
their elected representatives. Wouldn't that be a lot cheaper?                                                                  
MS.  HARRINGTON  agreed,  but  the  concern  this  resolution  is                                                               
attempting to address is the one  that has been vocalized that at                                                               
times it doesn't seem that  the three stakeholders in these kinds                                                               
of  processes are  equally  engaged. Sometimes  in  the past  the                                                               
administration and public have been  engaged they have been told,                                                               
but the  Legislature hasn't been.  Or the Legislature  and public                                                               
have been engaged but the  administration hasn't. This resolution                                                               
seeks to  address that concern  by assuring that  the Legislature                                                               
has  a direct  route  of engagement  in  implementation of  these                                                               
SENATOR BUNDE  said you're battling  the inherent  three branches                                                               
of government.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR  MEYER  said  Anchorage   has  the  Economic  Development                                                               
Association that  has legislators as  ex officio members  as well                                                               
as the Anchorage Assembly.                                                                                                      
CHAIR  PASKVAN   said  Fairbanks  has  an   Economic  Development                                                               
Authority, as well.                                                                                                             
SENATOR  MEYER said  the Valley  does, too;  so the  bulk of  the                                                               
population is already  covered by some economic  group. He shared                                                               
Senator Bunde's  concern about having  so many  commissions. What                                                               
did   she   think   about  using   local   economic   development                                                               
MS. HARRINGTON answered  that was an excellent  point. The Alaska                                                               
Partnership  for Economic  Development (APED)  has been  the lead                                                               
organization  on  the  Alaska Forward  planning  process  and  is                                                               
actually  an  umbrella  organization  of  these  regional  Alaska                                                               
Regional   Development  Organizations   (ARDORS).  The   lack  of                                                               
integration  on statewide  concepts  was identified  and that  is                                                               
what led  them to  the development of  the APED  organization and                                                               
the Alaska  Forward move. The  president of  AEDC is on  the APED                                                               
Board,  Marty  Mativa  from  the   Mat-Su  RDC  is  actually  the                                                               
president of APED  right now. This commission is  not intended to                                                               
replace the  leadership of that organization  and their statewide                                                               
vision; it is intended to make  sure they, the private sector and                                                               
the groups  that are going to  be involved in Alaska's  long term                                                               
economic development and  have a direct line of  contact with the                                                               
Legislature and,  moreover, have  some of  the tools  and support                                                               
that would  be needed in  actually creating legislation  where it                                                               
would be appropriate.                                                                                                           
1:55:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THOMAS said he has  heard concerns that there hasn't been                                                               
as much activity  as one would expect when you  have a Department                                                               
of Economic  Development. Making sure services  aren't duplicated                                                               
would be  helpful as  well as  figuring out  why the  state isn't                                                               
moving forward as fast as it should be.                                                                                         
1:57:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR PASKVAN  recognized Commissioner Curtis  Thayer, Department                                                               
of Commerce, Community and  Economic Development (DCCED), sitting                                                               
in the audience. He said SCR 16 would be held for further work.                                                                 

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