UFA Legislative Update: April 15, 2016

From UFA President Jerry McCune:

Wheels that were spinning have gotten some traction in the last few days.

We expect lots of late night action here as the legislature enters the final weekend of the regularly scheduled session…

Tune in or call in to House Finance Committee meeting this evening at 7:00 PM for public comment on HB249 (Fisheries Taxes) and HB 250 (Income Tax):

HEARING: (H) FIN Apr 15 7:00 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519 — Public Testimony Limited to 2 min. each — –

The toll free call in number is 844-586-9085  – call when the meeting begins at 7 pm – See Industry Taxes and Income Taxes below…

Finance committee is expected to continue through the weekend – check the links on the bills below for new hearings scheduled.

Industry taxes:

House Finance Committee is addressing taxes for fisheries and mining industries and the motor fuel tax together in an omnibus bill under CS HB 249 – with hearings scheduled for 7 pm this evening and tomorrow. The committee will accept amendments through noon tomorrow (Saturday 4/16).

CSHB249 combines HB251 Fisheries Taxes, HB  253 mining taxes, and HB 249 Motor Fuel Tax;

Check for new committee substitute bill version expected soon at the Documents tab for CSHB249 at


The UFA board met yesterday on the combined bill and took the following positions for amendments if this bill moves forward:
-Oppose removing CFEC permit cap in current version
-Oppose canned salmon tax increase from 4.5% to 5% in current bill.
-Reduce the Developing Fisheries tax increase to bring the tax from 1% current tax to 2% (not 4% as in current bill).

UFA’s Resolution from our Fall meeting is still relevant – “Any additional seafood industry taxes must be considered in the context of a comprehensive State of Alaska revenue generation plan that considers the tax burden of each of Alaska’s industries.

The inclusion of mining tax increase so that fishing is not singled out is a step towards our position but at this time we do not support CSHB249.

Resolution 2015 -01  – A resolution supporting the Governor and Legisature taking action to solve the State’s fiscal crisis and achieve long-term fiscal stability (November 5, 2015)

Also on the docket for this evening’s House Finance committee meeting:

 Income Tax Legislation:

HB 250 was heard and held in House Finance yesterday and is scheduled for public testimony in House Finance. Se above note on HB249 for all in information for the hearing.

UFA has written both committees that the sections treating fishermen and crew as employer / employee and requiring withholding on crew wages are unworkable. HB 250 has been heard in House Finance so it could be brought up at any of their meetings under bills previously heard.

The Senate has not shown an inclination to move an income tax forward this session.

Other actions and items still in play:

Appointments confirmed:

The legislature confirmed the Governor’s appointments to the Alaska Board of Fisheries today – Al Cain, Robert Ruffner, and Israel Payton, and confirmed Renee Alward for the Fishermen’s Fund Advisory and Appeals Council.

Budgets in Conference Committee:

The House and Senate Conference committee met today for reconciliation between House and Senate versions of HB 256 operating budget bills.

Shellfish Mariculture

HB 300 regarding Shellfish Mariculture was passed by House Finance and is currently in House Rules Committee, awaiting scheduling for a floor vote. It would then need to be passed by the Senate. Senate Companion bill SB 172 is currently in Senate Finance committee.

Commercial Fishery Entry Commission

HB 112 concerning CFEC was last heard in House Resources committee on April 4. Representative Stutes introduced an amendment HB 112 ver N.pdf . We do not expect further action on this at this time.

Other related legislation – not scheduled for further action at this time:     

HB 241 Nonresident Surcharge Commercial Fishing

SB 172 Fish/Shellfish Hatchery/Enhance. Projects

CSHB 286(RES) – Fish and Game Violations (Governor’s)

SB 164 Fish and Game violations (Governor’s – Senate version)

HB 365 Income tax alt. (Seaton) was heard in House Finance on April 7.

HB 366 Community Permit Bank

HB 220 Fisheries enhancement permit

SB 163 – Outstanding National Resource Waters

HB 283 – Outstanding National Resource Waters –

AK legislature home page: www.akleg.gov .

Inclusion of an item does not mean that UFA endorses or agrees.

To support UFA by joining or renewing your membership, visit: www.ufafish.org/become-a-member/

Compiled by staff of United Fishermen of Alaska
PO Box 20229
Juneau AK 99802
(907) 586-2820