Big Lake, Alaska and The Susitna Valley News, Weather, Events, And More

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Saturday, November 18 2017 @ 08:49 AM AKST

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Governor Walker Signs Proclamation Encouraging Alaskans to Buy Local

Alaska BusinessIn an effort to promote local businesses and job growth, Governor Bill Walker signed a proclamation this month naming May 2016 Buy Alaskan Month. Alaska is home to more than 69,000 small businesses, which make up 96 percent of all employers in the state. Alaska’s small businesses employ more than half of the state’s private workforce.

“Entrepreneurs and small business owners truly embody the Alaskan spirit of independence and self-reliance,” Governor Walker said. “Whether it be creating more jobs or donating money to youth hockey, Alaska-owned businesses are at the heart of our communities and make our state thrive. When we buy in-state, those dollars continue to circulate in our economy. With Alaska’s current fiscal challenge, it is absolutely critical to support and encourage local economic development.”

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Governor Walker Proclaims November 2 - 8 as Apprenticeship Week

Alaska BusinessJUNEAU: Governor Walker has proclaimed November 2-8, 2015 as Apprenticeship Week in Alaska in recognition of the value apprentice training provides as a pathway to high-skilled, high paying jobs where Alaskans can earn and learn while obtaining occupational licenses and college credit while working. Registered apprenticeship programs directly contribute to higher rates of Alaska hire and lower rates of unemployment.

This proclamation was designed to recognize employers, union and non-union apprenticeship sponsors, community partners and the federal government for their collaboration in developing Alaska’s workforce using Registered Apprenticeships.

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AMHS Releases Winter 2015-16 Schedule

Alaska BusinessThe Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) today announced the release of its 2015-16 winter schedule. Reservations are now available for booking at http://FerryAlaska.com , by calling 1-800-642-0066, or visiting ferry terminal staff throughout the system.

Coinciding with release of the winter schedule, AMHS will be applying a new reservations policy for all travel initiating October 1, 2015 and thereafter. The new policy requires payment at the time of booking and includes a revised fee schedule for cancellations or changes.

The intent of the new reservations policy is to limit lost revenue due to late cancellations or no-shows. Late cancellations make it difficult for the AMHS to sell the limited space aboard ferries to other customers.

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Massage Therapists to be Licensed by the State beginning in July

Alaska BusinessPatrons seeking a professional massage in Alaska will soon have a simple way to verify their massage therapists are legitimately trained and operating according to regulated standards: starting late this summer, potential clients can check a web page to see if their therapist holds an Alaska professional license. http://commerce.state.ak.us/CBP/Main/...hInfo.aspx

Beginning this month, the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing will start issuing licenses to individuals who meet standards set by the Alaska State Legislature in 2014. HB 328 requires all massage therapists in the state obtain licenses as of this year. The division will continue its efforts throughout the summer to ensure all therapists are aware of the new law before stringently enforcing it.

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State Seeking Contractor to Operate Lake Louise State Recreation Area

Alaska BusinessThe State of Alaska, Division of Parks & Outdoor Recreation is offering an opportunity for a qualified entity to obtain an exclusive competitive permit for commercial activities to operate park facilities at Lake Louise State Recreation Area. Lake Louise State Recreation Area is located at Mile 16 on the Lake Louise Road, which heads north off the Glenn Highway at Mile 160, about 28 miles west of Glennallen. The park has two campgrounds (Lake Louise Campground and Army Point Campground), a picnic shelter and a boat launch.

A copy of the bid packet and permit application is available on line through the following link:
http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/misc/rfplakelouise.pdf

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Tourism Marketing Board Solicits Participation

Alaska BusinessThe State of Alaska’s Alaska Tourism Marketing Board (ATMB) is soliciting participation from the public to serve on the two standing committees of the board; the two committees are:

Advertising and Public Relations
The committee will advise the ATMB on advertising, digital marketing, public relations, and social media activities.

Travel Trade and International Promotions
The committee will advise the ATMB on domestic travel trade and international promotional activities.

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Alaska Division of Insurance Streamlines Insurance Communications

Alaska BusinessWith the aim of increasing efficiency and cost-effectiveness, Lori Wing-Heier, director of the Alaska Division of Insurance, issued an order relating to the use of electronic transactions and communications in the business of insurance.

Wing-Heier issued the order earlier this week after holding a public hearing and soliciting public comments. “We received a very positive response on our initiative to increase the efficiency of communicating, both between us and the regulated industry, and between the regulated industry and consumers. We fully expect that the greater use of electronic transactions and communications in the business of insurance will reduce our costs as well as the costs to insurers, licensees and consumers."

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Some employers still eligible for 2014 federal work tax credits

Alaska BusinessJUNEAU, Alaska—The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 reauthorized employer Work Opportunity Tax Credits for 2014. The retroactive WOTC extension was part of a larger bill signed by President Obama on Dec. 19 that extended more than 50 tax provisions.

Alaska employers who hired certain workers in 2014–and filed for the credits within 28 days of hiring–may claim the tax credits. Employers who hired at the end of 2014 may still have time to file for the credits.

Employers could realize a tax savings between $1,200 and $9,600 for each eligible employee. In 2013, Alaska employers saved more than $2 million through the WOTC program.
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Alaska employment up 0.6 percent in first half of 2014

Alaska BusinessAlaska’s average monthly employment during the first half of 2014 was 332,473, a 0.6 percent increase over the first half of 2013. Total wages increased by $253 million, or 3.0 percent, over the same period when adjusted for inflation. Alaska employers paid $8.7 billion in wages during the first six months of this year.

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Unemployment rate at 6.8 percent in October

Alaska BusinessAlaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in October, unchanged from September and August. The comparable national rate was 5.8 percent.

With the national rate now a whole percentage point below Alaska’s, the difference is getting closer to normal pre-recession levels. In the five years before the U.S. rate spiked above Alaska’s, the national rate averaged 1.6 percentage points below Alaska’s.
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2015 Payroll Tax Rates Reduced 19 Percent

Alaska BusinessNovember 19, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today announced that Alaskans’ average unemployment insurance (UI) tax rates for 2015 will be reduced 19 percent. This is the second year in a row Alaskans will hold onto more of their hard-earned money – UI contributions were reduced 22 percent this year.

“These reductions over two years represent a savings of $91 million, money that Alaskans are keeping in their pockets,” Governor Parnell said. “Alaska’s UI Trust Fund is fully solvent and at pre-recession levels. This ensures the trust will continue to be a safety net in times of need for Alaskans who pay into the system.”

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NEW LICENSE LAW EASES PAPERWORK, COST TO ALASKA BUSINESSES

Alaska Business(Juneau, AK)—Several provisions reducing the cost and paperwork of business licensing took effect on Wednesday. Under HB32, a new law signed this summer by Governor Sean Parnell, Alaskans may now consolidate multiple businesses under one license and make minor changes to licenses after issue.

Consolidating licenses saves business owners the expense and time of applying for several business licenses when certain conditions are met. Under the new law, for instance, a construction contractor who operates a snowplow business in the winter under the same name can combine those two licenses into one.

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Legislation Leads to Further UI Reductions

Alaska BusinessOctober 13, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today announced that for the second year in a row, Alaskans will see a reduction in the unemployment insurance tax rate.

“This is a very strong indicator that Alaska’s economy continues to move in the right direction,” Governor Parnell said. “Alaska workers and employers will save as the tax rate continues to decrease.”

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects the average combined tax rate will be reduced by roughly 20 percent in 2015, savings estimated at $40 million. Alaska workers pay 27 percent of the average benefit costs and employers pay 73 percent.

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State to host Farm to School Conference in January

Alaska Business(Palmer, AK) – The Division of Agriculture is pleased to announce it will host a statewide Farm to School Conference on Jan. 13-14. The division’s Farm to School Program received a competitive grant of $25,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to host this event. Only 20 such grants were awarded nationally, with more than 100 applicants.

This conference is a great opportunity to share information with those interested in pursuing Farm to School efforts in their schools and communities. The USDA grant will be used to assist with travel expenses in order to increase attendance from all parts of the state. Conference topics will include school gardens, successful program strategies, and local food in the cafeterias.

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Alaska Vote a Credit Positive

Alaska BusinessJuneau, Alaska – Moody’s Investors Service has validated Alaskans’ sound rejection of Ballot Measure 1 and support for Governor Parnell’s tax reform plan as a credit positive to the State of Alaska. On August 28, Moody’s released a credit update recognizing the importance of oil production to state revenues and the action the state has taken to stem the decline.

“Moody’s has provided an important and independent validation of the path we are on,” Revenue Commissioner Angela Rodell said. “As this state continues to grow, our AAA rating demonstrates to investors and businesses, large and small, that Alaska is an outstanding place to invest in and that the state is open for business.”

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