Processors working with harvesters on budget plan

Fish harvesters and processors might not agree on much, but everyone hates taxes. Commercial fishing stakeholders took turns in 2016 tearing apart a commercial fisheries tax plan from Gov. Bill Walker that the Legislature batted around during the marathon session but eventually dropped. The industry has such diverse needs and complex features that the bill couldn’t hit the revenue target without hurting one industry segment more than another. Stakeholders also objected to a holdup with a range of other industry taxes introduced by Walker. As none of the other taxes moved out of committee, House Fisheries Committee Chair Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, tabled the fishing taxes until she could be sure the industry wouldn’t take a hit none of the other industry’s would face. Months later, Walker bundled the fisheries tax into a bill with mining and fuel taxes. The bill stalled. Fisheries stakeholders might have a fix. At an October meeting of the United Fishermen of Alaska, the state’s largest harvester group, fishermen decided to knock heads together instead of against the legislative wall. Read the story here 17:44