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House OKs Economic Development Planning Commission


CR 21 plans to encourage, create economic development

Wednesday, April 14, 2010, Juneau, Alaska –
The Alaska State House today passed House Concurrent Resolution 21, legislation creating the Economic Development Planning Commission within the legislature. The bill was sponsored by the House Community & Regional Affairs Committee, which passed by a vote of 39-1.

The commission would consist of an 11-member board: one state Representative and one state Senator appointed by their presiding officers; two public members appointed by the co-chairs of House Finance; two public members appointed by the co-chairs of Senate Finance; one public member appointed by the House Minority Leader; one public member appointed by the Senate Minority Leader; the Commissioner of the Alaska Dept. of Commerce, Community & Economic Development; the Commissioner of the Alaska Dept. of Labor & Workforce Development; and the president of the Alaska Partnership for Economic Development.

“HCR 21 will provide a much-needed mechanism for implementing plans and ideas that are vital for economic development, especially in rural areas like the Y-K Delta that have such a need for job creation,” C&RA Co-Chair Bob Herron, D-Bethel, said. “Many plans in the past have failed at the implementation stage, and this commission’s unique combination of legislative and private sector membership should help bring the most viable economic development ideas to fruition.”

The commission would monitor the economic development planning processes currently underway from both the public and private sectors, and make recommendations to the legislature on those initiatives that may require statutory action. It would also be tasked with issuing recommendations in advance of the 2011 and 2012 Legislative Sessions, with an initial report due Jan. 30, 2011.

“There are a number of economic development efforts underway in the state, and this helps centralize an effort to unite the public and private sectors,” House Finance Fiscal Policy Subcommittee Chairman Alan Austerman, R-Kodiak, said. “It’s important to put the two together, so our legislative efforts are coordinated with the needs of the private sector and economic development efforts from around Alaska.”

“The Commission created by HCR 21 will assist the legislature and the administration with information and direction as we strive to enhance Alaska’s economic diversity,” C&RA Co-Chair Cathy Muñoz, R-Juneau, said. “One of our committee’s goals this session has been to create opportunities through a collaborative effort.  The Economic Development Planning Commission accomplishes this goal as a conduit and clearinghouse for ideas invaluable to Alaska’s economic future.”

HCR 21 now heads to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.

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