Small businesses face financial obstacles

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, March 17, 2003

I am wondering if the present state administration is aware of what it takes to run a small business in rural Alaska.

Here in the real world of rural Alaska where you have to make ends meet without any government assistance, big expense accounts, etc., it can be quite a challenge.

Heating fuel is $1.89 per gallon, boat fuel costs from $2 to $2.15 per gallon, automotive fuel is over $2 a gallon, and electricity is .36 cents a kilowatt-hour.

Hunting, fishing and sightseeing clients are getting harder to book due to political and financial problems facing the nation, and the possibility of war. In-place costs and overhead make it even more of a challenge to book a hunter and show a profit.

Now our governor wants to increase the cost of business licenses eight fold and increase the cost of big game tags to nonresidents by a figure yet to be determined. He also wants to do away with the Department of Fish and Game Habitat Division that is very essential to our business, and impose a $15 fee for a Wildlife Conservation Pass to all nonresidents visiting our state. Does this make sense?

In addition, the price of a vehicle registration will increase, plus he wants to charge us more when we ride the state ferries to Juneau for needed supplies!

Alaska needs leaders who are aware of the problems facing small businesses in the rural areas, and who have lived in these areas and know what the problems are - men like Bill Egan and Jay Hammond come to mind.

I am afraid a lot of small businesses in rural Alaska may go the same way as the Fairbanks Bank of the North did under similar management.

John Erickson


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