SB 6 — Exempting the State from Daylight Saving Time
March 31, 2015
Representative Bob Lynn
Representative Wes Keller
I write this letter to express the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce’s opposition to the passage of SB 6 and our desire that CSSB 6(FIN): “An Act exempting the state from daylight saving time; petitioning the United States Department of Transportation to change the time zones of Alaska; and providing for an effective date” not be moved from the House State Affairs Committee.
Our Chamber works hard to promote economic diversity, regional growth, a climate that is good for business, a lifestyle that attracts year-round residents, and a stable, productive workforce. We strongly believe that the elimination of Daylight Saving Time will dampen our ability to further any and all aspects of this mission, and we are duly concerned about the impacts that the loss of an additional hour of daylight during the peak months of business activity will have on aviation, marine services, and many retail businesses serving the cruise industry here in Ketchikan. Further, the loss of another hour of daylight during the summer will negatively affect the overall quality of life for those who live, work, and do business in our region. Specifically, we are concerned about the following:
- Alaska will stay on ‘winter’ time year-round and thus will be two hours behind Seattle and five hours behind New York when they shift to Daylight Saving Time along with the rest of the country. One result of this discrepancy will be that south-bound cruise ships departing Ketchikan and Alaska for points south will have to leave an hour earlier to achieve parity with Pacific Daylight Time, resulting in a nearly $9,000,000.00 loss in revenues to our city and to Alaska.
- When these regions return to Standard Time we will be one hour behind Seattle and four hours behind New York as we are currently. This will confuse businesses and individuals across the country and complicate communications, particularly the scheduling of teleconferences and appointments. Businesses here in Alaska may have to shift their start times to earlier in the day for half the year (and then switch back) in order not to lose valuable time with partners farther East.
- Sunset during the summer months will be an hour earlier than it is currently. This will detrimentally impact flight operations, marine charters, tour businesses, and the safety of shift worker transportation. Individuals will lose time to participate in valuable recreational activities that make Ketchikan and our region a special place to live, and those who depend on subsistence activities will suffer both culturally and economically by darkness coming earlier. Similarly, commercial fishermen will be forced to shift their schedules and suffer the burden of having to wake up at 2 or 3 am in order to maximize their fishing time.
- Financially, there will be a rise in programming costs to transportation, shipping, logistics, and broadcasting businesses. Municipal governments like our own will lose sales tax revenues, particularly as a result of losses in the tourism sector, and a negative “trickle-down” effect will damage sales at those businesses which support other, directly-impacted sectors.
Our Chamber understands the necessity of living within our means as Alaskans and advocates for reductions in state spending in order approach budget sustainability. Given that, we must to all we can to protect those parts of our economy that generate revenue for our state and our people. Now is not the time to raise logistical and technical issues for Alaska’s businesses and taxpayers.
The only acceptable compromise is to ensure that if Daylight Saving Time is repealed, Alaska be moved to Pacific Standard Time, thereby preserving the hour of daylight that affects business and the overall quality of life for Alaskans during our most active months. This compromise, of course, is complicated by the size of our state and the fact that, internally, population centers such as Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Ketchikan must be able to do business with each other efficiently (making multiple time zones an equally messy proposition). Our Chamber feels strongly that the best option for all Alaskans is to maintain Daylight Saving Time and continue as we currently operate.
On behalf of the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce and our community’s businesses, I implore you to consider SB 6 carefully and do all you can to ensure that CSSB 6(FIN): “An Act exempting the state from daylight saving time; petitioning the United States Department of Transportation to change the time zones of Alaska; and providing for an effective date” stays in the House State Affairs Committee and is not passed during this legislative session.
Thank you for your service to Alaska and your attention to this matter.
Chelsea Goucher, Executive Director
Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce
P: (907) 225-3184
C: (907) 220-2133