Fishing industry and lawmakers on Thursday puzzled over the origins of a proposed one percent tax increase in fisheries business taxes and fishery resource landing taxes.

During a hearing on the bill by the House fisheries committee, fishermen testified that they did not understand the origins of the increase. It is expected to raise $18 million in new revenue for the state annually, according to the Department of Revenue. It is one of six proposed industry taxes from Gov. Bill Walker, including increases to mining, motor fuels, alcohol and tobacco taxes.

"Are you telling me that a group of people got behind closed doors and pulled out the dart and the dart board and the dart landed on that increase? Is that what you're saying?" Rep. Bob Herron, D-Bethel, said after he asked fishermen if they understood how the increases had been calculated. Each said they did not.

In its current form, the bill increases by one percent three different tax rates within the Fisheries Business Tax structure, a tax on direct marketers and the tax on floating processors. It also increases the Fisheries Landing Tax.

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