The cruise ship head tax is a con job

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, August 30, 2006

We Alaskans have been taken for another ride down "Fleece Street" through misrepresentation by special interest groups located in our own backyard. The greatly touted head tax that was to benefit all Alaskans is a lie. The initiative sponsors knowingly led common Alaskans to believe that this tax would fund grand benefits for Alaskans. It simply will not.

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The only thing that gets funded is lawyers and the new environmental army of "Ocean Rangers." The travesty is they got their hand in the cookie jar by misrepresenting their true goal of shutting down this industry and all others that nongovernmental working Alaskans depend on. Great, the state just passed a multi-million dollar funding for the same groups that want to end all jobs related to oil, timber, mining, road construction and now the visitor industry. Alaskans listen up, there is no money from this tax that will pay for anything outside of what the cruise lines are already paying.

I cry foul on this one. Anyone who believes in Alaskans right to have good industries and jobs should get involved in this fight. The proponents of this measure wanted entrenchment of their new governmental wing - the Ocean Rangers - and years of fighting in court on ridiculous parts of this measure such as disclosure of tour pricing, off-shore gambling and head tax use for general fund projects, which are all currently illegal. Did the proponents of this ballot measure ever tell Alaskans that most of this will just end up in court because it was designed to? No, why kill the golden goose they carefully constructed to lay environmentalist golden eggs and rotten eggs for the average Alaskan.

Let your legislators know that we want this turned into good tax law that is good for Alaska. Fight to rid it of any enlargement of governmental positions that will be needed for the oversight Ocean Rangers. (It will no doubt be environmentalists hired to manage environmentalists.) We should have defeated this measure and demanded a tax measure that protected industry and then legally and fairly dealt with cruise ship taxation, but instead the environmental interests sold us down the poverty trail. Government is paid for by good jobs and good economies. We Alaskans deserve both, but with laws like this one we most certainly are headed toward bigger government, fewer jobs and weaker industry. It's not to late to fight back.

Rob Scheer

Ketchikan



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