Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/24/1997 05:00 PM FSH

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
HJR 23 - SALE OF LTD ENTRY PERMITS BY IRS                                      
                                                                               
Number 1480                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN announced the next order of business would be               
HJR 23, "Relating to the seizure and sale of Alaska commercial                 
fishing entry permits by the United States Internal Revenue                    
Service."                                                                      
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BILL HUDSON stated that he introduced HJR 23 after              
talking to members of the CFEC and others in the fishing industry.             
He stated that HJR 23 requests that the Alaska Congressional                   
Delegation use any means available to assure that the IRS will                 
collect past dues from income generated from the sale of fish and              
voluntary sale of limited entry permits.  He stated that HJR 23 is             
to ensure that the IRS complies with Federal Law to avoid                      
inflicting economic hardship on the tax payers and to protect                  
fishing privileges and the right of Alaska fishermen to work.  HJR
23 compliments Governor Knowles effort of appeal to the                        
congressional delegation to bring the pertinent members of the IRS             
to work together with us.  He stated that the CFEC had good                    
cooperation with some members of the IRS and now without the                   
cooperation it seems that economic harm could be the result to the             
permit regime.  He stated that the state of Alaska has established             
the limited entry permits as a means to manage the fisheries from              
over-harvesting and over-entry.  He stated that for the IRS to sell            
a permit worth $30,000 for $5,000, with threats to seize an                    
additional seven entry permits in the Dillingham area, is not                  
right.  He stated that it does appear that the IRS' actions are                
calculated.  He stated that he has no intention to relieve any                 
taxpayer of the taxes that they owe.  He stated that he would urge             
the committee to adopt HJR 23 so Congress could take some action.              
                                                                               
Number 1726                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN stated that he agreed that people should             
not have their livelihood taken away and it violates the spirit of             
the U.S. Constitution.  He stated that he would support HJR 23.                
                                                                               
Number 1763                                                                    
                                                                               
JERRY MCCUNE, President, United Fishermen of Alaska, stated that               
United Fishermen of Alaska support HJR 23, to keep the permit                  
system intact.  He stated that the IRS wants to get a permit so                
they can go after other permits.  He stated that they will end up              
selling a $150,000 permit for a $10,000 tax obligation.  He stated             
that every fishermen he has talked to across the state supports HJR
23.                                                                            
                                                                               
Number 1816                                                                    
                                                                               
BERNICE HEYANO, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation Permit            
Brokerage, testified via teleconference from Dillingham, that this             
is not a program that hands out money to individuals who owe back              
taxes, it is a loan program where individuals have to have a permit            
in order to get the loan.  She stated that rural individuals are               
not able to get commercial loans to pay their back taxes because               
they lack collateral.  She stated that the loan program has                    
benefitted Bristol Bay in numerous ways by helping people if they              
can't pay their taxes.                                                         
                                                                               
JERRY LIBOFF, manager, Native Village Corporation, testified via               
teleconference from Dillingham, that he is a tax practitioner and              
a commercial fisherman.  He stated that he is in favor of HJR 23               
and HB 123.  Both of these will be positive tools toward getting               
the IRS problems worked out so the permits will remain in the                  
villages.  He stated that he has helped 100 people in Bristol Bay              
to save their permits from loss and helped 10 people obtain the tax            
obligation loan funds to get the IRS off their back.                           
                                                                               
Number 1963                                                                    
                                                                               
HJALMAR OLSON, fisherman, testified via teleconference from                    
Dillingham, in support of HJR 23 and HB 123.                                   
                                                                               
Number 2000                                                                    
                                                                               
CHERI SHAW, Executive Director, Cordova District Fishermen United,             
testified via teleconference from Cordova, in support of HJR 23 and            
HB 123.  She stated that since the Tax Obligation Loan Program came            
into being it has been successful in enabling commercial fishermen             
to pay tax obligations.  She stated that extending this program                
could only benefit the state and the commercial fishing industry.              
She stated that the CFEC will be able to continue in their efforts             
to bring commercial fishermen in compliance with their federal tax             
obligation.  She stated her husband was a recipient of the Federal             
Tax Obligation Loan Program and has been a fishermen representative            
at the Alaska Symposium with the IRS.  She stated that she was                 
appalled that the IRS had tried to seize and sell two permits prior            
to the Christmas holiday.  She stated that the symposium discussed             
the effort to avoid such drastic measures and to allow the CFEC to             
intervene to try and rectify the problem by suggesting solutions.              
She stated that it was reprehensible that the IRS could turn its               
back on the agreements that were made.                                         
                                                                               
Number 2112                                                                    
                                                                               
JEFF STEPHENS, United Fishermen Marketing Association, testified               
via teleconference from Kodiak, in support of HJR 23 and HB 123.               
He stated that it is important to reaffirm Alaska's intention to               
work with the IRS in a positive manner to help collect past taxes              
while at the same time allowing commercial harvesters to continue              
their commercial endeavors so they can continue in the commercial              
enterprize.                                                                    
                                                                               
Number 2207                                                                    
                                                                               
MELANIE GUNDERSEN, Peninsular Marketing Association, testified via             
teleconference from Sand Point, in support of HJR 23 and HB 123.               
She stated that it would be good if Halibut Individual Fish Quotas             
(IFQ) could be protected from seizure from the IRS.                            
                                                                               
Number 2250                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GENE KUBINA made a motion to move HJR 23, with                  
individual recommendations and zero fiscal notes.                              
                                                                               
Number 2259                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIRMAN AUSTERMAN asked if there was an objection, hearing none               
HJR 23 was moved out of the House Special Committee on Fisheries.              

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