Senators propose own head tax bill

Posted: Friday, April 02, 2010

Senators are offering an alternative to Gov. Sean Parnell's plan to bring more cruise ship passengers to Alaska.

A bill introduced Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee closely resembles Parnell's proposal to reduce the state's head tax on cruise ship passengers from $46 to $34.50, and allow deeper offsets for local head taxes for ships stopping in Juneau and Ketchikan.

But it makes no mention of the tax credits Parnell requested for corporations contributing to statewide tourism marketing efforts. Instead, the Senate added $5 million to the version of the state operating budget that it passed Tuesday for a marketing grant for the Alaska Travel Industry Association.

"We're looking forward to prudent spending and a good return to the state," Senate Finance Committee co-chair Bert Stedman said.

Ron Peck, the travel association's president, said he hadn't seen details of the Senate plan but remained supportive of Parnell's proposal, which Peck said would create a long-term, sustainable means of helping fund advertising and outreach efforts. Parnell is proposing capping contributions eligible for credits at $20 million this year.

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