Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124
02/16/2018 01:00 PM RESOURCES
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|Presentation(s): Pebble Mine Status Update|
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HB 267-RELEASE HUNTING/FISHING RECORDS TO MUNI 1:08:01 PM CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON announced that the first order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 267, "An Act requiring the release of certain records relating to big game hunters, guided hunts, and guided sport fishing activities to municipalities for verification of taxes payable; and providing for an effective date." [Before the committee was the committee substitute (CS) for HB 267(CRA), labeled 30-LS0808\J.] 1:08:12 PM TIM CLARK, Staff, Representative Bryce Edgmon, Alaska State Legislature, on behalf of Representative Edgmon, sponsor of HB 267, paraphrased from the following sponsor statement [original punctuation provided]: For boroughs and other municipalities that bring in revenues through levies on fish and game guiding, CSHB267(CRA) will provide a tool to help confirm that activities within their jurisdictions subject to taxation are being accurately reported to them. The bill would allow municipalities access to certain records collected by the state that relate to big game hunters, guided hunts, and guided sport fishing for the purpose of verifying taxes payable. All such information would remain confidential. The access that CSHB267(CRA) permits municipalities is modeled after long-existing provisions in AS 16.05.815(a)(4) and AS 43.75.133, both of which allow local governments to review certain records, reports, and returns to verify payment of local commercial fishing taxes. With state-government cutbacks resulting in greater responsibilities and costs being borne by local governments, all necessary resources should be made available to our municipalities to ensure they are receiving the revenues due to them according to their local ordinances. MR. CLARK pointed out at the time the information is made available to municipalities, the strict confidentiality required of state agencies would apply to the municipalities as well. REPRESENTATIVE PARISH directed attention to [an email dated 2/15/18, provided in the committee packet] in opposition from the Big Game Commercial Services Board (BGCSB), Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing, Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development, which stated its concern about confidentiality. MR. CLARK opined BGCSB would be less concerned about confidentiality when apprised of [CSHB 267(CRA), Version J]. The bill was amended by the House Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee to clarify the confidentiality requirements; furthermore, the consequences to an official for a breach in confidentiality would constitute a class A misdemeanor. CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON asked whether municipalities feel they are not getting revenue to which they are entitled. MR. CLARK explained affected municipalities have very large jurisdictions and may be unaware of all hunting and fishing guiding activities. In addition, some guides may be unaware of municipal or borough ordinances, and some may forget to pay taxes or fees; however, most businesses will remit delinquent taxes when notified. CO-CHAIR JOSEPHSON observed some guides or transporters may work outside the seat of government. 1:13:08 PM MR. CLARK agreed and gave the example of regions that are accessed by floatplane and not through an airport managed by a borough. REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON asked whether there are other state tax records to which municipalities have access. MR. CLARK said certain Alaska Statutes allow municipalities access to records regarding commercial fishing from the Tax Division, Department of Revenue. REPRESENTATIVE TALERICO observed from his experience most municipal codes require a municipality to keep accurate records, and also include confidentiality clauses; furthermore, general accounting rules and standards are explicitly followed to maintain accuracy for auditing purposes. He said the issue was discussed thoroughly at the time the bill was heard by the House Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee, and expressed his confidence in the conduct of municipalities. 1:17:21 PM HB 267 was held over.