Fishing industry is a contributor

Posted: Wednesday, February 18, 2004

I advocate equitable corporate taxes, fair-value royalty payments and progressive personal income taxes to responsibly generate revenues to close our budget gap. Tapping the Permanent Fund, spending our savings, increasing loan debts and instituting regressive statewide sales taxes is neither prudent nor fiscally responsible.

Con Bunde, suggesting mere provincialism since I live in Kasilof, offers specious arguments about commercial fishing industry revenue contributions to deflect any meaningful assessment of our plight.

The Fisheries Business tax, dating from 1913, is the oldest tax in the state, and generated $13.8 million unrestricted general fund dollars in FY03 and another $12.2 million appropriated by the Legislature to qualified community revenue sharing. The Fisheries Resource Landing Tax, enacted in 1993, generated $6.9 million in unrestricted general fund dollars in FY03 and another $2.9 million to qualified communities.

In FY01, 58,536 people were employed in commercial fisheries in the state, harvesting 4.7 billion pounds of product with an ex-vessel value of $871 million. In FY01, tax revenues generated by fish processing taxes, salmon enhancement taxes, seafood marketing taxes, fishery resources landing taxes and CFEC license fees equaled $51.5 million. General fund outlay for commercial fisheries division was half that amount.

The oil and gas industry contributed a large share of Con Bunde's campaign finances, which may account for his penchant for supporting legislation reducing state revenues by cutting royalties and granting oil industry tax breaks. Mr. Bunde's attempt to compare extraction of non-renewable resources with the sustainable harvest of renewable resources is particularly egregious. Speak to the issues, Con.

Paul Zimmerman


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