Sponsor plans to carry on fight for cruise tax

Posted: Friday, April 25, 2003

Though it's unlikely a cruise ship head tax will be approved by the Legislature this session, the sponsor of such a measure said he will continue to fight for it.

Rep. Carl Gatto, a Palmer Republican, said he will try to muster support for the measure when the Legislature returns next year.

Gatto sponsored House Bill 207, which would impose a $100-per-person tax on cruise ship passengers. Similar head tax bills have been proposed in past sessions of the Legislature and all have failed.

Gatto's bill also has its critics. Both House Speaker Pete Kott, an Eagle River Republican, and Gov. Frank Murkowski have expressed opposition to a head tax on cruise ship passengers. And the chair of a committee now considering the bill said she will not give it a hearing.

Rep. Cheryll Heinze, an Anchorage Republican, said she is opposed to singling out one segment of the tourism industry and plans to hold it in her committee until the Legislature adjourns.

Heinze said the state's tourism industry has been impacted by world events and simply holding a hearing on the legislation could have a chilling effect on sales.

Gatto said the measure is supported by other lawmakers and he will continue to try and "get some motion" on the issue.

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