Saturday, 4 July 2009

Cruise Lines to Sue Alaska over Tax

Source: Travel Pulse

More than two years after Alaskan voters narrowly approved a measure that would levy a variety of taxes on the cruise industry, including a $50-per-passenger head tax, the cruise industry has adopted a much tougher stance to counter the move. A number of lines have dropped cruises and pulled out ships from the Alaskan market over the past few months. During a press conference yesterday onboard the new Seabourn Odyssey in Venice, Carnival Corp. Chairman Micky Arison (pictured) said his company and the rest of the cruise industry intended to pursue a legal remedy to reverse the head tax. He said Carnival and other lines had actively lobbied against the head tax but had not succeeded in getting Alaskan legislators to eliminate it, so he would soon turn to the courts.

Calling the head tax illegal and unconstitutional, Arison said it was not in the interests of Alaska or its neighbors, citing the harm done to such ports as Vancouver and Seattle. He also said that cruise lines had gotten nowhere with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “Sarah Palin should stop running for president and focus on Alaskan issues,” Arison said. The head tax proposal was originally championed by activists who felt the cruise industry did not pay enough in taxes to Alaska for environmental protection, emergency services and waterfront infrastructure.