SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Good News!!!
By Rodney Dial


January 29, 2008

You may remember that in the days leading up to the Consolidation vote (November 06) the Save Ketchikan Group took on the Chamber of Commerce and local government to warn that if we consolidated our island would lose millions if the Commercial Passenger Vessel Tax ($50 per head, cruise ship tax) passed.

As you know, the tax was passed by the voters of Alaska and became effective December 17th, 2006. This tax distributes $5 per visitor, to each community that is the first 5 ports of call for the cruise ships.

The communities that receive the funds have the option of maintaining their existing tax, or receiving the $5 per head fee.

For the city of Ketchikan it made more sense to maintain the existing tax of $7 fee per person. If we had consolidated it would have ended there. However, per AS 43.52.200 If the port of call is a city located within a borough not otherwise unified with the borough, the commissioner shall, subject to appropriation by the legislature, distribute $2.50 per passenger to the city and $2.50 to the borough.

What this means is that because we did not consolidate, the city can continue to maintain their tax of $7, and the borough (which has no cruise ship tax) will receive $2.50 per passenger. With close to 1 million cruise ship visitors per year, this amounts to tens of millions of NEW REVENUE for the borough. Since we all live in a borough regardless of where you live on the island, we all will benefit. It really doesn't matter if we support the $50 head tax or not, it became law and had we consolidated the funds would have simply gone to another community or the state.

On 1/25/08 the State Department of Revenue testified before the Senate finance Committee in Juneau on the affect of the passenger vessel tax and specifically mentioned that the Ketchikan Gateway Borough will receive a share of the $50 tax because we did not UNIFY (consolidate) with the city. The Deputy Director of the State Tax division went on to say that these funds can be used to repair roads, fix sidewalks, and to support infrastructure. They even commented how the funds can be used to build an electrical distribution system to allow the cruise ships to plug in to the Ketchikan power grid, which will cut cruise ship emissions and generate revenue for KPU.

What disturbs me the most is that powers that supported consolidation have not had the courage to stand up and tell the public that they were wrong. The Ketchikan Daily News which was an advocate of consolidation seems surprisingly quiet as well.

The voters got this one right (again).

Rodney Dial
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Lifelong Alaskan"

Received January 29, 2008 - Published January 29, 2008


Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:

letter Webmail Your Opinion Letter to the Editor



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for publication.

SitNews ©2008
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska