Legislature, Transboundary editorial, Vote!

29 Feb

Legislature. How to solve Alaska’s $4 billion fiscal gap is the main topic as other bills are getting shelved to make Alaska’s budget priority. A few we’re watching:

House Bill 251/Senate Bill 135 increases Fisheries Business Tax and Fisheries Landing Tax by 1% (most types) and, unlike now, the money will not be split in half with communities but retained for state’s coffers and estimated to yield Alaska $18 million. USAG wrote comments along with many others mostly saying we need to more information to understand how all proposed taxes will affect us comprehensively. This link shows all related documents including letters.

House Bill 249/Senate Bill 132 doubles motor fuel tax for marine, aviation and highway
Senate Bill 198. This one is scary and new. It adds a 12.5% tax to seafood caught called a royalty tax. We are working with other groups and municipalities to strongly oppose.

House Bill 366. Community Permit Banks bill by Rep Kreiss-Tomkins is not expected to advance too far this year but good to be aware.

The House Fisheries Committee will next hear HB251 on Thurs March 8 at 10 a.m. You can listen here. If you want to comment email Reid Harris (reid.harris@akleg.gov) by noon Monday, March 7.

CFEC. The Administrative Order made behind closed doors and signed by the Governor on Feb 16 means that the administrative functions (computer, permit renewals and more) and some research functions will now be done at Fish and Game. Industry opposed this and USAG wrote a discontented letter to the Governor. An article is here.

Fish & Game Budget. Senate Fish & Game Finance Subcommittee’s next meeting this Thurs March 3 at 5pm More info.

ASMI’s budget recommended to be reduced by 33% (the state funding portion) along with eliminating some fish-related positions in the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. More info.

Transboundary Waters. I wrote this opinion piece here in the Juneau Empire to encourage Federal protection of our waters.

B.C. Mines. Legislation across the border was introduced to strengthen permit requirements for new mines! An article 

Life Rafts. In case you missed it, we got a reprieve! Here’s a news report and here’s the policy letter.

USAG. Busy Times! If you haven’t voted and are a current member, please send in your ballot by March 19th! Many apologies to candidate Norman Hughes – I spelled his name wrong on the ballot.

Thank you Members! Not a member? Help us help you here.

-Cynthia

Cynthia Wallesz
Executive Director
United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters
PO Box 2196
Petersburg, AK 99833
(208) 995-7400 (cell)
ph: (253) 237-3099 Google Voice
http://www.akgillnet.org/
usag.alaska@gmail.com