YES on Proposition 2 Cruiseship
By Eric Muench
August 18, 2006
Every big industry that ever made use of Alaska's natural resources
has tried and largely succeeded in dominating the resources and
politics of the state. Remember the Russian fur traders' abuse
of Aleut people, the big canneries control of the fisheries,
the two pulp mills monopoly of timber resources, and big oil
s armies of lawyers and lobbyists. Now the tour ship companies
are using their wealth to control Alaska politics. Their political
contributions have already tamed the Alaska legislature. Now,
on a citizen's initiative for a cruise ship head tax, the NO
group has raised and spent over one hundred times as much as
the YES group. Their biggest contributor, foreign (Canada based)
Northwest Cruiseship Association, has given over one million
in the campaign to avoid paying any Alaska taxes. There is so
much money that they have run out of useful ways to spend it.
What else would explain the almost daily and repetitive slick
mail and full page newspaper ads? What they lack is logical arguments.
They hope complete dominance of the initiative discussion will
convince a tame electorate that there is really no other side.
But there is. Every big industry,
no matter how economically useful or how well run, needs oversight.
Stockholder demands for corporate profit are a powerful motivator
even to otherwise honest and well-meaning managers. A 2000 report
by the Government Accounting Office listed 87 confirmed illegal
cruise ship dumping violations in American waters during a five
year period, many deliberate, and recommended improved oversight.
Proposition 2 will provide that.
As to the charge of interference with relations between private
enterprises being outside the scope of proper government function,
there is a whole other side. Voluntary agreements are one thing.
Forced kickbacks and false advertisement made possible by a huge
multinational s monopoly over the affairs of small local businesses
are another. Proposition 2 will help small tourism operators
stay out from under the thumb of the giants.
And the notion that a fifty
dollar head tax will reduce tourism is almost too ridiculous
to contemplate. The recent doubling of fuel prices is sure to
add hundreds of dollars to the thousands charged for Alaska cruises.
Should we think the cruise lines are absorbing these costs? This
is just scare mongering.
The tax is reasonable and needed, and taxing on a State basis
prevents the cruise lines dictating their terms to individual
communities. Let's take control of our state. Vote Yes on Proposition
Ketchikan, AK - USA
About: "I am a 44 year
Alaska resident and have unhappily watched the cruise lines dominate
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