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Thread: ADFG leaders tout $11 billion return on agency spending

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    Default ADFG leaders tout $11 billion return on agency spending

    I read this article today and thought it worth passing on. http://www.alaskajournal.com/2019-04...gency-spending

    "Each year, the state spends in the neighborhood of $65 million to $70 million from the General Fund to pay for the department. Combined with user fees and federal grants and matches, the total budget clocks in at about $197 million. According to a number of studies conducted in-house and by the McDowell Group, that supports an economic return of about $11.8 billion annually."

    Less than half of that comes from commercial fishing, $5.2 billion according to the article. That leaves about $6.6 billion generated by sports fishing and hunting. How much of those billions leave the state is anyone guess, but that is a lot of money generated by fish and game (not the department, but the actual fish and game) in our state. ADFG has a thankless job overseeing all of the commercial and sport activities that we enjoy here, we can argue about the exact figures but I think we can all recognize that ADFG has a lot on their plate and overall does a pretty good job protecting and overseeing the uses of our resources.

    While I knew about the benefits of the
    Pittman-Robertson Act, this is the first I can recall hearing about the Dingell-Johnson Act. Yep the Dingell-Johnson Act is a thing that helps with sports fishing restoration https://www.fws.gov/laws/lawsdigest/fasport.html

    For the game hunters ADFG also put a price on game meat...
    "The department also enumerated the economic impact of subsistence resources. Alaskans harvest about 18,000 tons of wild food annually, according to the department. Calculated at about $6 per pound, subsistence provides between $200.8 million and $391 million in 2019 dollars each year, according to a 2014 report from the Division of Subsistence."
    “I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” Physicist ― Richard Feynman


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    Some context:

    The economic return on fish and wildlife to the State of Alaska has a lot to do with the quality of the habitat. Yes, management of those resources is an important consideration. However, the reasonably intact ecosystems, watersheds, and habitat are the primary factors that drive fish and wildlife populations. Anyone at ADF&G would agree. So the most important consideration for the State would be to ensure this habitat remains intact, reasonably high quality, and protected from future development. In other words, if we can manage the people, the fish and wildlife will do just fine by themselves.

    Unfortunately, the record on habitat protection is mixed (and not just in Alaska). On Federal lands, things seem reasonably okay. On State lands, the pressure to increase the pace of development is constant. And even when proposed development would be catastrophic, the State seems slow to acknowledge the risks (e.g., Pebble). And on private lands, it’s an entirely different set of circumstances.

    Yes, there are two Federal mechanisms for funding fish and wildlife conservation in the U.S. That would be Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson. P-R is a tax on hunting equipment such as rifles and ammunition; while D-J is a tax on fishing tackle and related items. Both programs impose an excise tax at the retail level. So you and I pay the tax when we buy hunting gear and fishing tackle. The funds go to the U.S. Treasury, and are dispersed to the States by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The funds are dispersed via a formula that is based on number of hunting/fishing licenses sold, geographic area, and population. Each year Alaska, Texas, and California receive the most funding. Alaska gets its funding due to geographic size and license sales, but not from population. Texas and California score high due to all three factors.

    That is also why ADF&G has a Sport Fish Division and a Commercial Fish Division. And the two shall never meet. The Sportfish side is funded with D-J funds, which originate entirely from recreational angling. So they are kept separate from the Comm Fish side (I’m not sure how Comm Fish is funded, but it might be from General Appropriation via the Legislature). And thus there are significant differences in management philosophy between the two Divisions.

    And we’ve debated the result of that split on this BB at length over the years, primary as it plays out on the KP……

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    Default The Magic Appeal of Alaska

    Just to note, when I tell people I summer in Alaska I get two reactions. One, I have never been and I really want to go. Second, we went to xxx in xxxx and really had a good time fishing or hunting or sightseeing and we really want to go back. Same reaction in Washington State or Arizona and Nevada desert. Just my mentioning it has caused a number of people to come up for a week or more, go fishing, book rooms, ride the ferry, and really have a good time. A day or two of my time as road guide and promoter is usually well received. I think ADF&G is in the reasonable range on the estimates, and Coho has some good points, but Alaska is a pleasant mental concept for a vast number of people who will make there own wonderful experience.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Well if this 11 billion dollars really is the case, and I'm not questioning that figure here, I have some questions.
    The first one being: other than the funds that go directly to ADF&G to cover the cost of management of our resources, how much of this money does the state receive that goes towards paying the state's bills?
    Second question: is it possible for the state to receive more of this money to possibly help fund our state government?
    The state of Alaska is facing a budget crisis and could certainly use more funds.
    We need to get off of this system where one sector pays 98% of the state's bills.
    one way to diversify would be to find a way to collect some tax money on this 11 billion dollars.
    No I'm not saying we should tax subsistence users or resident hunters/fishermen out filling our freezers.
    But maybe it's time some of these tourists step up and start paying a tax on the fish or game that they remove from the state?
    not sure if that would mean taxing the fisherman or taxing the guide businesses that they use?
    As I understand it commercial fisherman pay some sort of tax on the fish that they catch correct?
    Maybe there's some way in there for the state to collect some more funds to help with the budget crisis they're facing?
    And before you go telling me how much I hate the tourists up here,which I do not,
    the state's budget crisis has been all over the news lately and we need to figure a way through it.
    This to me seems like a logical way for the state to gain some revenue.
    11 billion dollars is a lot of money in one would think there be a couple million in there somewhere that could help the state cover the budget gap?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    The state of Alaska is facing a budget crisis and could certainly use more funds.
    We need to get off of this system where one sector pays 98% of the state's bills.
    Yes

    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    one way to diversify would be to find a way to collect some tax money on this 11 billion dollars.
    No I'm not saying we should tax subsistence users or resident hunters/fishermen out filling our freezers.
    But maybe it's time some of these tourists step up and start paying a tax on the fish or game that they remove from the state?
    not sure if that would mean taxing the fisherman or taxing the guide businesses that they use?
    As I understand it commercial fisherman pay some sort of tax on the fish that they catch correct?
    We should tax everyone. Low-level, broad-based taxes.

    I keep hearing that AK is "open for business". Interesting though - if you think about that;

    Say I'm a widget manufacturer and I open a "YUGE" widget factory on the Kenai. Yay! That means I will buy a big chunk of land and hire like 5,000 employees. All those employees will build houses, drive cars, send their kids to school, etc. The KPB will get increased property tax and sales tax from these people, which offsets the cost of having to build and maintain more roads, schools, etc. Grow the economy, grow the budget/revenue.

    The state of AK would also have increased infrastructure costs associated with this economic development.

    What increased income would the state currently get from this economic development? No sales tax, no payroll tax, no income tax, no production tax for widgets.

    Our model is broken. We need to address our revenue stream.

  6. #6

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    <<<No sales tax, no payroll tax, no income tax, no production tax for widgets.>>>
    I'm not advocating that AK should or should not start taxing more. That is a Solomon's choice argument with no winners, and everyone who gets "selected" to carry that tax burden will complain that it should be the "other" guy. Who do you think is going to vote for a politician that advocates raising taxes in any of the above categories?

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    One very simple thing that I have and will continue to advocate for is a small fee for over the counter hunting tags. Why are they free? It costs millions to print, distribute, collect, and disseminate the data- we should be paying for that. As to fishing, the state needs to get the king fishing back, whatever it takes. Just the king tags bring in a lot of revenue. Not to mention state park day use and camping fees, and all the revenue that flows into businesses that support sport fishing. Without the resource, users go away, and Alaska feels it. While there may not be much in the way of direct taxes, Kasilof's widget factory would be paying property tax. Inventory tax. On the KP, a borough and city sales tax. With those local taxes in place, the state isn't under as much pressure to revenue share. So the state government does receive some revenue from the widgets of this world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    While there may not be much in the way of direct taxes, Kasilof's widget factory would be paying property tax. Inventory tax. On the KP, a borough and city sales tax. With those local taxes in place, the state isn't under as much pressure to revenue share. So the state government does receive some revenue from the widgets of this world.
    I think you're off a little bit in your assessment.
    In the widget factory example that Smithtb posted the only reason for the increase in cost is because of the widget factory.
    There are more children in local schools incurring higher school costs, more road usage acquiring more maintenance, etc.
    So while the borough will pick up the percentage that they always have there is more cost incurred to the state for their portion of these costs.
    State of Alaska always has paid a portion of school budgets.
    But if an area sees a growing population the state of Alaska will have to spend more money in those areas.
    Money they do not currently have and money whose source predominantly comes from oil extraction mostly on the North Slope.
    So if 5,000 more people move to the Kenai Peninsula to work at a widget factory and brought their families with them the cost to the state of Alaska would go up.
    But the people moving in and the business which employs them would not be paying much if anything in taxes to cover those costs.
    This is something the state of Alaska needs to remedy.
    In addition to cutting the budget they need to find other sources of income.
    If the fish and game of Alaska have a value of 11 billion dollars why cannot we recoup some of that money in taxes?
    Especially since tourists and summer residents who are not Alaskan residents pay little to nothing to the state of Alaska in the way of taxes but yet take a lot of fish and game out of the state.
    Yes they pay user fees but so does any resident who uses those services.
    And those fees usually go to cover the services rendered. Meaning there are maintenance cost for say Alaska state parks and those user fees are used to cover those cost leaving little to nothing behind to cover other essential services needed in this state.
    when it comes to fish and game in Alaska the state is always trying to maximize the benefit.
    For instance in the commercial crab fisheries they fish them in the winter time when the weather is bad but the crabs have their most value. the shells are filled out and the crabs weigh more than they do at other times of the year.
    Well if our fish and game have a value of 11 billion dollars why not try to maximize our benefit and get a few more dollars in our state budget out of that 11 billion?
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    <<<Especially since tourists and summer residents who are not Alaskan residents pay little to nothing to the state of Alaska in the way of taxes>>>
    Obviously, you've never rented a car or stayed in a hotel in Anchorage. You might want to do some research on the taxes/fees that get tacked on there, which is a major tourist hub. And I'll save you some research, for a car rental from TSI, taxes/fees are around 100%. After all, Las Vegas used a hotel tax to pay for most of the Raiders new stadium, so the idea of taxing tourists is nothing new and Alaska knows this!!!!!
    And Alaska is a great state to live in if you don't want to pay taxes of any kind. It's the number one rated state for least taxes in all of the US. So, it's not like Alaskans are paying a lot of taxes anyways. Try living in other states (I've lived in and paid taxes in eight other states before I retired) before you start complaining.

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    “Don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax that guy behind the tree!”

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    Quote Originally Posted by NorcalBob View Post

    Obviously, you've never rented a car or stayed in a hotel in Anchorage. You might want to do some research on the taxes/fees that get tacked on there, which is a major tourist hub. And I'll save you some research, for a car rental from TSI, taxes/fees are around 100%. After all, Las Vegas used a hotel tax to pay for most of the Raiders new stadium, so the idea of taxing tourists is nothing new and Alaska knows this!!!!!
    And Alaska is a great state to live in if you don't want to pay taxes of any kind. It's the number one rated state for least taxes in all of the US. So, it's not like Alaskans are paying a lot of taxes anyways. Try living in other states (I've lived in and paid taxes in eight other states before I retired) before you start complaining.
    Are those rental car and bed taxes paid to the state or the city?
    Yes I've paid a bed tax in Anchorage in the last year.
    Actually the last time was the day after the big quake.
    I've paid income taxes in other states as well.
    But the State of Alaska itself receives very little money from tourism that goes into the state's general fund to pay for essential services needed in the state of Alaska.
    If the fish and game of Alaska are worth 11.8 billion dollars a year and the state has a 1.2 billion dollar budget shortfall, I'm thinking we can help cover some of that budget gap with some sort pf tax on some of those natural resources just like we tax oil, mining, and commercial fishing.
    Whether that means we tax charter boats and hunting guides or the clients themselves or anybody who leaves the state of Alaska with fish and game is up for debate.
    And no I'm not thinking we can make up a 1.2 billion dollar budget shortfall from this.
    But certainly any little bit helps.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    Bed Tax = Local

    Rental Car Tax = State

    Pretty sure, anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Bed Tax = Local

    Rental Car Tax = State

    Pretty sure, anyway.
    Just looked it up and it appears that is the case.
    The rental car tax is 10% to the state.
    And it generates 12 million dollars a year.
    I imagine we could generate more than that in additional tax from an 11.8 billion dollar resource.

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    A summertime gasoline tax would hit up tourists, as well as Alaskans who are driving more to recreate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willphish4food View Post
    A summertime gasoline tax would hit up tourists, as well as Alaskans who are driving more to recreate.
    Would this be in addition to the 14.65 cents per gallon the state already taxes gas and the 12.75 cents they tax diesel?
    On top of the 18.4 cents In federal gas tax and 24.4 cents in federal diesel tax?
    No I'm not thinking more gas tax is a good idea.
    I'm still thinking there's always to tax the fish and game leaving this state every year in airline boxes and RV's.

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    It's a sign of the times, I guess, but I didn't intend for this to become a discussion on taxes. However, since it was brought up I can see the argument for further taxing some of these activities. Oil, as has been mentioned, has been the primary revenue source to the state for years. If we were to tax every industry the way we tax oil we wouldn't have much in the way of any industry in the state. Even if we were to tax this $11.8 billion at an additional 5% to whatever it is already taxed at, that brings in an additional $590,000,000 to state coffers...that just gives politicians that much more money to spend, but would take a big bite out of the spending deficit. That probably steps over the terms of service so I will leave it there since I didn't want to turn this political, so moving on.

    I can get on board with willphish and the OTC tags, I am not a pro tax guy by any means but I do think that a fee paid for by the end user isn't asking too much. It would only impact those who use the service, and under this scenario would bring in more matching Pittman-Robertson funds. It would be similar to a king stamp but for game. Want to shoot a deer or caribou $XX per tag, a black bear $XX, so forth and so on depending upon species. I currently get tags for black bear, moose, and deer every year whether I hunt for them or not and I get them online and report them online but there is a cost in that.

    The main reason I wanted to share this information is that with the current budget situation it is our responsibility to understand what our government spends money on and what that money does for us as sportsmen and sportswomen. I've heard people say that F&G is a waste of money, and while that may be so in certain cases at least according to this study they oversee a considerable amount of money that moves through our economy. Turning $65-$70 million of state general funds into $197 million of state general funds, user fees, and matching funds is good. Turning that $197 million into $11.8 billion is money well spent, money that we as end users should think about how we can help offset the costs we impose on the state.
    “I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” Physicist ― Richard Feynman


  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patsfan54 View Post
    It's a sign of the times, I guess, but I didn't intend for this to become a discussion on taxes. However, since it was brought up I can see the argument for further taxing some of these activities. Oil, as has been mentioned, has been the primary revenue source to the state for years. If we were to tax every industry the way we tax oil we wouldn't have much in the way of any industry in the state. Even if we were to tax this $11.8 billion at an additional 5% to whatever it is already taxed at, that brings in an additional $590,000,000 to state coffers...that just gives politicians that much more money to spend, but would take a big bite out of the spending deficit. That probably steps over the terms of service so I will leave it there since I didn't want to turn this political, so moving on.

    I can get on board with willphish and the OTC tags, I am not a pro tax guy by any means but I do think that a fee paid for by the end user isn't asking too much. It would only impact those who use the service, and under this scenario would bring in more matching Pittman-Robertson funds. It would be similar to a king stamp but for game. Want to shoot a deer or caribou $XX per tag, a black bear $XX, so forth and so on depending upon species. I currently get tags for black bear, moose, and deer every year whether I hunt for them or not and I get them online and report them online but there is a cost in that.

    The main reason I wanted to share this information is that with the current budget situation it is our responsibility to understand what our government spends money on and what that money does for us as sportsmen and sportswomen. I've heard people say that F&G is a waste of money, and while that may be so in certain cases at least according to this study they oversee a considerable amount of money that moves through our economy. Turning $65-$70 million of state general funds into $197 million of state general funds, user fees, and matching funds is good. Turning that $197 million into $11.8 billion is money well spent, money that we as end users should think about how we can help offset the costs we impose on the state.
    Great topic, great thread. Thanks for posting. Totally relevant and state taxes/finances are part of fisheries management.

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    Since we're talking about it:

    https://www.npr.org/2019/04/10/71158...e-ferry-system

    Taxes in the Great Land make national news!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Since we're talking about it:

    https://www.npr.org/2019/04/10/71158...e-ferry-system

    Taxes in the Great Land make national news!
    I'm so inspired by this kind of thinking from the administration, I've decided to emulate it and just start putting the houses I build together with hot glue instead of nails, screws, etc....this will save my customers hundreds of dollars on fasteners!
    .....and the whole structure only has to stay intact long enough for me to cash the check....
    "– Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    I'm so inspired by this kind of thinking from the administration, I've decided to emulate it and just start putting the houses I build together with hot glue instead of nails, screws, etc....this will save my customers hundreds of dollars on fasteners!
    .....and the whole structure only has to stay intact long enough for me to cash the check....
    what many legislatures have done in the past is to ride-out low oil prices in the hope they reverse themselves so they do not have to add new revenue sources by tax. The world is changing and a large reason the U.S. produces more oil and exports rather than imports is that it is not used like it once was, per capita per world population oil consumption is in decline. Although it will be many decades before oil rigs are stranded asserts the state leadership still needs to make a plan. spending equals revenue is not going to work because the state remains stuck without revenue and we are too small a population to run all services off existing taxes plus oil revenues that are likely not recoverable in the future.

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