Cruise industry protests too much

Letter to the editor

Posted: Friday, August 18, 2006

After such a free ride it is not surprising that the cruise industry is crying a river over Ballot Measure 2. A response to a couple of TV ads is in order.

Sound off on the important issues at

First, it is true that the cruise ship industry pays for a large share of the tourism marketing efforts. But they are also the greatest beneficiary and have enjoyed record growth using our public tourism dollars. Very few know that efforts to increase their share for this joint state-private effort have failed.

Second, the cruise industry does not even hint at the few taxes the pay. Thanks to Rep. Don Young and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, federal legislation shields the cruise industry from corporate income taxes. Ballot Measure 2 would help close this "on-shore tax shelter" - at least within Alaska. Likewise, the cruise industry does not pay sales tax for local charters if "sold" to passengers on board. This means, on the same fishing charter your relatives may share with the guests off a cruise ship - only your relatives are paying the sales tax.

Third, Alaska depends on oil for 89 percent of its annual revenues. Other sources include corporate income taxes on non-oil related businesses, fish taxes, mining taxes, etc.

+But the volatile fate of oil fortunes is clearly apparent: Oil prices are more than $70 a barrel while our largest oil field is shutdown for months for repairs. Our choice is simple. Keep all our eggs in one basket or let other industries share the burden. I'm voting yes on Ballot Measure 2.

Joe Mehrkens


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