Each Spring Southeast Conference asks regional business owners and top managers to complete a business climate survey. This year businesses were also asked to rate their preferences regarding how they would like to see to the state achieve a balanced budget, and 320 Southeast business leaders from 25 communities provided their insights.

Of the 15 categories of budget components businesses were asked to rank, the top four elements Southeast business leaders would most like to see used to address the fiscal gap include:

1) Reducing oil tax credits (77%)
2) Reducing individual PFD payments (72%)
3) Increasing the percent of market value earnings from the Permanent Fund used to pay for state services (66%)
4) Instituting a state-wide income tax (63%)

The categories businesses would least like to see used to balance the state budget include cuts to the Alaska Marine Highway System, cuts to K-12 education, and implementation of a state property tax.

Dennis Watson, Southeast Conference President explains: “Our business leaders are risking their personal investments in order to create long-term jobs in the region. They are used to prioritizing budgets and know what it takes to build a stronger economy in Southeast Alaska.”

Robert Venables, Southeast Conference Executive Director added: “Our members recognize that these are challenging times and a fiscal solution must be achieved through a balanced approach of providing services with available revenues. Regional leaders understand that hard choices have to be made and over 300 businesses have provided their priorities for a balanced budget.”

See the attached survey findings, prepared by Rain Coast Data.


About the Southeast Conference: Southeast Conference began 58 years ago to advocate and support the establishment of a regional marine transportation system. Southeast Conference serves as the collective voice for advancing the region and state’s economy while supporting activities that promote strong economies, healthy communities and a quality environment in Southeast Alaska.

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