Coalition Fighting Alaska Cruise Tax

An Alaska business coalition is urging citizens to vote against a ballot measure that would levy $50 in taxes on each cruise passenger. According to the "Alaskans Protecting Our Economy" group, the extra $100 tax for a couple or $200 tax for a family of four—when added to the overall cruise fare—could keep some consumers from buying a cruise to the Great Land, and also could adversely affect spending ashore for those who do cruise. Steve Frank, the group's chairman who operates a hotel, restaurant and RV park in Fairbanks, said such a tax could hurt the state's economy in many ways including a loss of jobs. He also stressed the tax wouldn't just adversely impact coastal ports but also interior destinations like Fairbanks, which is popular with cruisers as a pre- or post-cruise add-on trip. So the coalition is raising funds to fight the fall state ballot measure, and receiving some support from the North West Cruise Ship Association, the industry's government relations group in the region. Alaska is already one of the higher ticket cruise markets, when compared to destinations like New England/Canada, the Caribbean and Panama Canal cruises.

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