Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

02/22/2018 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
Moved CSSB 130(STA) Out of Committee
              SB 130-VOTER APPROVAL FOR NEW TAXES                                                                           
4:04:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER  announced the consideration  of Senate Bill  130 (SB
4:04:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL moved to adopt  the committee substitute (CS) for                                                               
SB 130, version 30-LS1088\J as the working document.                                                                            
4:05:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                   
4:05:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTINE   MARASIGAN,  Staff,   Senator   Meyer,  Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, reviewed the CS for SB 130.                                                                        
     The CS before  you for SB 130 removes  the entire bill,                                                                    
     both pages,  all sections and  replaces it with  a main                                                                    
     section,  section 1,  which  basically  turns the  bill                                                                    
     into an advisory vote.                                                                                                     
     This new version essentially carries  the intent of the                                                                    
     original  bill   which  was  to  place   before  voters                                                                    
     questions about having a broad-based  tax, and so there                                                                    
     would be two questions.                                                                                                    
     The  first question  would  be do  you  approve of  the                                                                    
     passage by the Alaska State  Legislature of a bill that                                                                    
     imposes an individual income tax, yes or no?                                                                               
     The  second question  would be  do you  approve of  the                                                                    
     passage  by the  Alaska State  Legislature a  bill that                                                                    
     imposes a statewide sales tax, yes or no?                                                                                  
SENATOR COGHILL asked why the change was made.                                                                                  
MS. MARASIGAN explained  that at the previous  hearing on January                                                               
30, Emily Nauman from Legislative  Legal Services said SB 130 was                                                               
unconstitutional. She  said to  determine whether  voters approve                                                               
or disapprove a statewide sales tax  or income tax, there are two                                                               
pathways.  She  said the  first  way  would be  a  constitutional                                                               
amendment and the second way would be an advisory vote.                                                                         
She  detailed that  Chair  Meyer assumed  sponsorship  of SJR  7,                                                               
which was  held by the former  chair of the Senate  State Affairs                                                               
Committee,  to  allow for  voter  approval  of  new taxes  via  a                                                               
constitutional  amendment. She  explained  that a  constitutional                                                               
amendment has the full force  of law by enshrining the refutation                                                               
of taxation  in the  constitution unless  allowed by  voters, but                                                               
enactment requires a two-thirds vote in each body.                                                                              
She said  the second pathway  is before the committee  through SB
130, version  J. She  detailed that  SB 130  is an  advisory vote                                                               
which would simply be a  majority vote from both bodies; however,                                                               
the caveat is the vote is nonbinding.                                                                                           
She summarized  that Chair Meyer  followed up with  both pathways                                                               
by  changing SB  130  into an  advisory vote  while  taking up  a                                                               
constitutional amendment bill as well.                                                                                          
4:09:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL asked if SB 130 is  the same as the vote that was                                                               
taken to put into place a 90-day legislative session.                                                                           
SENATOR COGHILL explained that the  vote for a 90-day legislative                                                               
session was a citizen initiative.                                                                                               
SENATOR GIESSEL  asked if SB 130  would have the same  force as a                                                               
citizen's initiative and hopefully  the citizens would understand                                                               
CHAIR   MEYER  confirmed   that  the   hope  is   citizens  would                                                               
understand. He added  that SB 130 would  provide legislators with                                                               
feedback  whether  to  implement  a  tax.  He  concurred  that  a                                                               
constitutional  amendment is  a  high hurdle,  as  it should  be;                                                               
however, SB 130  "hedges our bet" to have a  go before the voters                                                               
on a broad-based tax this year.                                                                                                 
He asked  if the  advisory vote  would go on  the ballot  for the                                                               
primary or general election.                                                                                                    
MS. MARASIGAN replied that the  bill says the advisory vote would                                                               
go on  the ballot on  the first statewide election  following the                                                               
effective  date. She  detailed  that if  the legislative  session                                                               
goes beyond  90 days the  advisory vote  would be in  the general                                                               
SENATOR COGHILL  asked if the advisory  vote would be on  a sales                                                               
tax or an income tax.                                                                                                           
4:11:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER replied that the advisory vote would be on both.                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL  noted a  letter from  the Division  of Elections                                                               
was  included  in  the  packets  that estimated  a  cost  if  the                                                               
advisory  vote  was  not  held  during  the  primary  or  general                                                               
SENATOR WILSON  pointed out  that the  question was  posed during                                                               
the  previous hearing  about the  difference between  a statewide                                                               
election cost versus a special election cost.                                                                                   
CHAIR  MEYER noted  that  the bill  has a  zero  fiscal note.  He                                                               
withdrew his objection to the CS.                                                                                               
4:13:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GIESSEL moved  to report  CSSB 130,  version 30-LS1088\J                                                               
from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL objected to comment. He  said he is not a big fan                                                               
of advisory  votes but would not  hold the bill up  in committee.                                                               
He asserted  that legislators have  a responsibility  to perform.                                                               
He said he  might be convinced to  vote for the bill,  but not at                                                               
this point. He removed his objection.                                                                                           
CHAIR MEYER added that he struggled  with the same issue as well.                                                               
He concurred that  people vote for legislators  to be represented                                                               
on all  issues during  the session. He  opined that  although the                                                               
issue  is big,  there is  a  feeling that  the bill  is what  the                                                               
public  wants. He  said by  doing an  advisory vote,  legislators                                                               
will really know what the  public wants or doesn't want regarding                                                               
broad-based taxes.                                                                                                              
4:15:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MEYER  said there being  no objection, CSSB  130(STA) moves                                                               
from committee.                                                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CSSB 130 Version J.pdf SSTA 2/22/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 130
SB 130 Ltr from Div of Elections.pdf SSTA 2/22/2018 3:30:00 PM
SB 130