Fishermen, lawmakers weigh in on proposed fish tax increase

Fishing industry and lawmakers puzzled over the origins of a proposed one percent tax increase in fisheries business taxes and fishery resource landing taxes.

During the third hearing on the bill by the House fisheries committee, fishermen testified that they did not understand the origins of the increase. It is expected to raise $18 million in new revenue for the state annually, according to the Department of Revenue.

The director of the department’s Tax Division, Ken Alper, says the department studied the current tax structure. He says the Alaska Department of Fish and Game also was consulted to produce the new tax rate.

Republican Rep. Charisse Millett says she is uncomfortable with the lack of available information on the origins of the proposed new tax.