Gov. Sean Parnell's bill to roll back the cruise ship passenger head tax is still in play in the Legislature, part of the end-of-session wrangling and dealing. The Senate passed its version on Wednesday and now the bill goes to the House, where it may be amended and destined for final bargaining in conference committee.
Lawmakers should give this bill a long, cold-eyed look before final passage, because this deal looks one-sided.
Attorney General Dan Sullivan and Alaska Cruise Association president John Binkley agreed this week to settle the cruise industry's lawsuit over the passenger tax -- provided the Legislature enacts the industry-backed tax cut without "material amendment."
As proposed in the Parnell bill, the actual cut in the state tax is from $46 to $19.50, because the cruise lines would get a state tax credit for the head taxes their passengers pay in Juneau ($8) and Ketchikan ($7). That's a 58 percent cut in the state's take. The cruise lines would see a total cut from $61 to $34.50, or 43 percent.
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