Alaska Shipping Tax, Ballot Measure 2 (August 2006)

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The Alaska Shipping Tax Initiative, also known as Ballot Measure 2, was on the August 22, 2006 primary election ballot in Alaska. It imposed a new $46 per voyage tax "on large cruise ships to pay for vessel services".[1]

A group called Responsible Cruising in Alaska supports Measure 2.

  • Yes: (52%)
  • No: (48%)

Aftermath

In 2009, an executive from Carnival Cruises said that the company is thinking about suing the State of Alaska over Measure 2. Carnival Cruises and others believe that the head tax imposed via Measure 2 is driving cruise ships out of Alaska and into waters that are more profitable because the cruiselines don't have to pay the extra tax.[2]

Cruise West, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Holland America have said that for the 2010 cruise season, they are redeploying ships from Alaska. 1,800 tourism-related jobs based in Alaska will be lost if this happens.[2]

Patti Mackey, executive director of the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau, believes the Measure 2 tax is hurting their economy. "I think Alaska has become a more difficult place for the cruise lines to do business. The tax and all of the associated regulations that were part of the ballot initiative are all part that equation, and certainly the economy right now isn't helping."[2]

Chip Thoma, president of Responsible Cruising in Alaska, and Joe Geldhof, a driving force behind Question 2, believe that Measure 2 is a net benefit to the state.

Election results

Alaska Shipping Tax
Yes or no Votes Percentage
15px-600px-Yes check.png Yes 81,693 52%
No 75,432 48%

Results according to Alaska Division of Elections.[3]

Text of the proposal

The text of the proposal was as follows:

This initiative would impose a $46 per person per voyage tax on large cruise ships to pay for vessel services. It would provide for the proceeds from the tax to be deposited in the state general fund and, subject to appropriation by the legislature, distributed to municipalities. It would levy a tax on cruise ship gambling activities in state waters. It would change the way cruise ship corporate income tax is calculated. It would require cruise ship operators to gather and report more information, and get a new type of permit for sewage, graywater or other wastewater before discharging in state marine waters. It would assess a $4 per passenger berth fee and require large cruise ships to have state-employed marine engineers (Ocean Rangers) licensed by the Coast Guard to observe health, safety and wastewater treatment and discharge operations. It would authorize citizen lawsuits against an owner or operator of a large cruise ship, or against the Department of Environmental Conservation, for an alleged violation of any permit condition, provision of environmental statutes or performance of duties. It would also enable a person who provides information leading to enforcement of the law to receive 25 to 50 percent of fines imposed. It would impose additional requirements on disclosures about on-ship promotions of shore-side businesses.

Campaign expenditures

The group in favor of the shipping tax was called "Responsible Cruising in Alaska". They raised and spent just $8,497.

The group opposed to the shipping tax was called "Alaskans Protecting our Economy". They raised and spent $1,357,924, with the largest single donation of $1,344,244 coming from the Northwest Cruiseship Association.[4]

References

  1. Christian Science Monitor, "Alaska to Cruise Ships: We're Not Your Sewer"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 KTUU, "A taxing situation for cruise industry", July 16, 2009
  3. Alaska 2006 election results
  4. Follow the Money campaign finance reporting for the Alaska shipping tax ballot measure