Fish taxes HB 4006 on House floor – today.
- Short Version: let your House representatives know how you feel about increased fishery taxes
- Special Session Summary – Fish Taxes
- Income Tax – Fishing crew withholding and employer/employees removed
- Operating Budget
- Fish-related bill that passed
- Bills that did not pass
- Appointment Confirmations
- Short version: Contact your legislators: Let your House Representative know how you feel about increased fishery taxes, as HB 4006 is headed for House floor vote, in second reading, with possible amendments, and may or may not come to a vote – today beginning at 1:00 PM.
Gavel to gavel coverage should be available…
- Special Session Summary – Fish Taxes:
Governor Walker called the legislature back for a special session of up to 30 days beginning on May 23, immediately after the end of the 121 day extended regular session. Walker introduced House and Senate versions of an omnibus tax bill from the Administration – HB 4001 and SB 4001 – combining fisheries, mining, income, motor fuel, alcohol and marijuana taxes, and more.
These were heard in House Finance committee on May 24 and Senate Labor and Commerce on May 25. UFA pointed out that the unworkable withholding provisions on crew payments and classification of fishermen as employers/employees was still included – even though the Department of Revenue presentation showed their intention to remove it.
This week a standalone income tax bill HB 4004 was introduced and heard in House Finance on June 2. This version is finally corrected to remove this section – and is currently in House Finance committee awaiting possible amendments.
HB 4006 standalone Fisheries Taxes was introduced on May 27 and first heard in House Finance on June 1, along with standalone versions of the Motor Fuel Tax HB 4003 and Mining Tax HB 4005.
In addition to fisheries taxes, HB 4006 had the added provision to remove the CFEC permit fee cap of $3000. UFA opposed this provision and highlighted testimony from Alaska based fishermen that would be affected – especially Kodiak based operations that have multiple family member skippers, each of whom will be required to hold a permit, unless the permit is put in another person’s name such as an engineer who would be on the vessel for all trips. Representatives Munoz and Stutes put in a yeoman’s effort to amend the legislation to remove this, though it failed in the committee by one vote.
HB 4006 Amendments were posted on May 29 and heard on June 1. The UFA Board met that day by teleconference and moved to “oppose any increases in the Fisheries Business or Resource Landing tax that disproportionally distribute the tax burden across fishery sectors.”
HB 4006 Fisheries tax bill without any of the proposed amendments, as well as the HB 4003 Motor Fuel tax and HB 4005 Mining tax bills were all passed out of House Finance yesterday (June 2), with most committee members noting they would be voting no on the House Floor and some discussion of not being bullied by the governor demanding the advance the three to a floor vote.
These three bills are now in House Rules awaiting transmittal to the floor. Many legislators have said they will be voting against them.
Contact your legislators: Let your House Representative know how you feel about increased fishery taxes.
- Income Tax – Fishing crew withholding and classification as employer/employees removed
HB 4004 standalone Income tax bill was first heard in House Finance, and this version is corrected to remove the unworkable withholding provisions on crew payments and classification of fishermen as employers/employees (that UFA spotted as an error in the omnibus bill). It is currently in House Finance committee awaiting possible amendments.
- Operating Budget
CONFERENCE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 256 Operating budget Conference Committee Substitute –passed and sent to the Governor on May 31, 2015, just in time to avoid termination noticed to state employees. Thanks to Senator Lyman Hoffman for holding onto ADFG & ASMI funding. Final numbers from the bill (subject to Governor’s approval) include:
CCSHB256 Appropriation General Fund Other funds
ASMI 22,948,200 3,428,400 19,519,800
House version 21,895,100 2,399,900 19,495,200
Senate Version: 22,923,600 3,428,400 19,495,200
ADFG Comfish: 69,529,800 49,812,500 19,717,300
House version 69,592,900 49,856,800 19,736,100
Senate Version: 69,192,900 49,456,800 19,736,100
Statewide Support Services 38,673,600 12,342,100 26,331,500
House version: 38,713,900 12,371,600 26,342,300
Senate Version: 38,713,500 12,727,400 25,986,100
Sport Fisheries 47,423,200 4,133,300 43,289,900
Sport Fisheries – House 47,411,000 4,196,500 43,214,500
Sport Fisheries – Senate 46,411,000 4,140,700 42,270,300
(Note that General Fund in the bill includes Unrestricted General Fund (UGF) and Dedicated General Funds such as CFEC & license receipts)
Final Budget Allocations (pending approval by Governor):
Final Original Governor’s Proposed
Southeast Region Fisheries Mgmt: 13,115,800 13,127,300
Central Region Fisheries Mgmt: 10,410,800 10,434,800
AYK Region Fisheries Mgmt: 9,735,000 9,755,200
Westward Region Fisheries Mgmt: 14,268,600 14,282,800
Statewide Fisheries Mgmt: 18,305,600 18,333,000
Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission: 3,694,000 3,659,800
Commissioner’s Office: 1,651,100 1,647,400
Administrative Services 12,032,400 12,044,600
Boards of Fisheries and Game: 1,309,800 1,311,500
Advisory Committees 546,700 548,400
Habitat 6,040,700 6,257,000
State Subsistence Research 6,953,600 7,270,700
Sport Fisheries 47,423,200 42,180,300
FY2015 FY2016 FY2017(Gov amended) FY2017(legislature)
Overall ADFG Budget (UGF): 79,387,800 65,095,400 57,730,200 55,530,200
These numbers are from Legislative Finance:
For complete Legislative Finance FY 2017 Conference Committee Operating Budget Reports, see
Noteworthy Intent Language included in final operating budget bill:
“It is the intent of the legislature that retaining the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission allocation under the Commercial Fisheries Appropriation does not diminish or affect the Commission’s statutorily designated budgetary or operational autonomy or authority; nor does it grant the Commissioner of Fish and Game or his designee any budgetary or operational control over the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission…”
“It is the intent of the legislature that the department evaluate consolidation and reorganization of research and surveying staff between Commercial Fisheries, Sport Fisheries, and Wildlife Conservation in order to avoid duplicative efforts and find cost savings, and report its findings to the Finance Committee Co-Chairs for the next legislative session.
“It is the intent of the legislature that the department evaluate the use of unmanned aircraft for aerial survey work and report findings in regard to safety and cost-savings in comparison with the use of manned aircraft to the Finance Committee-Co-Chairs by the next legislative session.”
For details see bill text at CONFERENCE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 256 – ADFG begins on page 15 and DCCED begins on page 5.
- Fish-related bill that passed in the 29th Legislative Session:
HB 137 Sportfish license fees…
HB 128 Alaska Wild Salmon Day – AUGUST 10!
- Bills that did not pass – With the close of the extended session, other fisheries related bills will not be advanced, including:
HJR 23 IUU fishing resolution
HB 92: Label genetically modified food
HB 233 Climate Change Commission
HB 258: Ban sale of genetically modified fish
HB 366 Community Permit Banks
HB 220 Fisheries enhancement permits
SB 198 – 12.5 percent Fisheries Tax (UFA opposed – this bill was not heard in committees of referral)
- Appointment Confirmations
Renee Alward was confirmed for the Fishermen’s Fund Advisory Panel and Robert Ruffner, Al Cain, and Israel Payton were confirmed for the Board of Fisheries. UFA supported Alward, Ruffner and Cain.
We wish you all a very productive and safe summer and year-round fishing season, with ample harvests and good prices!