Prop 2: Time for payback

Posted: Friday, August 18, 2006

I wish to voice my support for Proposition 2 for the following reasons:

1. Few, if any, cruise ship passengers will notice a $50 increase in the price of a cruise because the price goes up every year anyway. Five years ago the price was around $800 to $900. Today, it’s $1,500 to $1,600 and varies a lot within the same year. The cruise companies charge the highest rate they can to maximize profit. That’s business.

2. Cruise companies should pay their fair share in the form of taxes for the infrastructure provided by the people of Alaska in support of the cruise business, such as roads, police, fire, ambulance, etc.

3. Gambling tax: It is only fair that, if all other gambling enterprises pay a tax, the cruise industry should, also.

4. Environment: Currently there are no state environmental inspectors on cruise ships as there are on the larger fishing boats — they are needed to assure compliance with environmental laws.

5. Effect on shore-side business: A friend recently came to Alaska on a cruise and landed in Whittier. He told me the shops on the ship were advertising they would “meet or beat” any shore-side prices on souvenirs, etc. This is not friendly to the shops at the ports of call.

Currently, cruise ships come to Alaska, unload their passengers on cruise line-owned buses or rail cars, take them to cruise line-owned hotels to go on cruise line-owned tours. Little of the funds expended by the tourist go to the tax-paying businesses within Alaska.

I recently had some relatives fly into Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage. They wanted to take the train from the airport to Seward — there is a train station at the airport. They were told that the train was controlled by the cruise lines and only cruise line passengers were allowed to use it.

If they wanted to take a train to Seward, they would have to use the downtown Anchorage terminal and take a cab to get there from the airport.

Cruise lines get lots of benefits from Alaska, it’s time they paid for some of them.

Emery Thibodeau


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