House subcommittee proposes changes for ASMI

The budget process continues in Juneau, with House subcommittees drilling down into parts of each departments’ budget. This week, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute was up for consideration.

This photo won ASMI's 2013 photo competition for Best Fish Photo. (Photo courtesy of ASMI/Joseph E.)
This photo won ASMI’s 2013 photo competition for Best Fish Photo. (Photo courtesy of ASMI/Joseph E.)
 On Wednesday, a House subcommittee proposed cuts for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute – and revamping how the organization is funded.

Language proposed for the budget would direct ASMI to develop a plan to phase out state general funds by fiscal year 2019.

ASMI has long been a public-private partnership between the state of Alaska and the seafood industry, that works to market Alaska seafood domestically and abroad. About half of its funding comes from a tax on fish landed in Alaska; much of the rest comes from the state and federal governments.

The subcommittee, which reviewed the entire budget for the department of commerce, community and economic development, also requested a study looking at increasing industry contributions to ASMI.

The subcommittee’s proposal would cut $1 million from ASMI’s budget next year, compared to the governor’s budget. That’s about a 30 percent cut, and would put the state’s general fund contributions to ASMI at about $2.3 million.

ASMI wasn’t the only entity on the chopping block. The committee recommended cuts to other components of the DCCED budget, and suggested that the state’s Tourism Marketing Board also move toward self-sufficiency.

That proposal is still far from a done deal. The proposal now goes to the full House Finance Committee, and eventually the Senate will take a stab at the budget.