A head tax on the cruise ships wouldn't be out of line, but charging a head tax on other guided tours could hurt some of the lower-cost options - often provided by local companies - once the tourists reach the shore. Placing a $15 tax per person on, say, a guided taxi tour or a Wings of Alaska excursion would only reduce the number of passengers on these trips and ultimately do more harm than good.
A better tax would be $15 for each of Gov. Murkowski's broken promises. At that rate, the governor would dig us out of our financial woes by next month.
We need a coherent revenue plan that is balanced and fair. The governor appears to be flailing about looking for a "target of opportunity" that will give him some political cover. That will not solve the problem. Whether we like it or not, a coherent plan will require an income tax; a fair plan will require a graduated income tax; and a balanced plan may well require a "user fee" on visitors. But until a comprehensive plan is approved, trying to nickel-and-dime the problem is silly and non-productive.
New revenue sources are necessary to fund the cost of maintenance in our great state, but what we need new taxes to go for is a safe and well-maintained highway system, including the marine highway system.
The head tax should be $100.