Alaska Cuts Cruise Passenger Head Tax

July 1, 2010

From the Associated Press:

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell signed legislation lowering the state’s tax on cruise passengers in a move aimed at bringing more ships back to Alaska and settling an industry lawsuit over the fee.[…]

Tourism and industry officials called the reduction an important first step, and John Binkley, president of the Alaska Cruise Association, cautioned against expecting too much, too fast.[…]

Binkley said the state will not only have to build back what it lost, but it must also compete with destinations that benefited from ships Alaska lost. A multimillion-dollar ad campaign to promote the industry, a cause for which the Legislature gave extra money, is seen as a key part of that endeavor.

With Parnell’s signature, the head tax will drop from $46 to $34.50, with deeper offsets for ships stopping in at least one of two popular ports, Juneau and Ketchikan. Voters had approved the tax in 2006, with supporters seeing it as a way to help cover the cost of infrastructure needed for large ships coming to port.

But the cruise association argued the tax is onerous and unconstitutional, and sued the state.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down another one of Alaska’s taxes on ships.

More on Alaska here.

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