(Anchorage) - Alaska House State Affairs Committee Chair Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, has called a proposed 149% increase in real estate licensing fees, from $275 to $685, bad for business and unacceptable. In a letter to Commerce Commissioner Susan Bell and Don Habeger, who runs the division that oversees professional licensing, Lynn states that "every Alaskan envisions as I do, that Alaska should enjoy a business-friendly environment, not one that is repressed."
It's clear to me that the Alaska Real Estate Commission budget needs to be contained.
~ Rep. Bob Lynn
Lynn asked the state department of commerce today to extend the public comment period for its proposed 149-percent real estate license fee increase until at least after the next Real Estate Commission meeting in December.
"It's clear to me that the Alaska Real Estate Commission budget needs to be contained - more directly - the contractual (legal and investigative) portion of the budget. We cannot have, what seems to be, an 'open checkbook' for expenditures," Lynn writes.
The Commission is proposing an increase from $275 to $685 for renewing a license, which is open for public comment until Tuesday, October 25. Lynn writes, though, that it's more prudent for the Department to extend the comment period through the next Commission meeting, Wednesday, December 7.
"The Commission will be taking public testimony at that meeting. It seems reasonable that you would want to embrace what they have to say. I recommend the Department postpone this proposed fee increase until further analysis has been done, and the Department has more time to evaluate things," Lynn writes, adding, "If state laws need to be revised, appropriate action should be taken during the next legislative session which gavels in on January 17, 2012. We must protect the public while keeping costs contained so that doing business in real estate is affordable."
Rep. Lynn, a licensed real estate Associate Broker, also asks for an accounting of Commission expenses and breakdown of cost increases that are purportedly leading to the increased fees.
Written comments on the proposal must be mailed, faxed or emailed to DCCED Regulations Specialist Jun Maiquis, at:
Jun Maiquis, Regulations Specialist
Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development
P.O. Box 110806 Juneau, AK 99811-0806
Fax: (907) 465-2974
The proposal can be seen at http://www.dced.state.ak.us/occ/pub/Occ_Lic_Fees_Dec_2011.pdf