SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Cruise Ship Taxes and Consolidation
By Eric Muench


October 11, 2006

The State Cruise Ship Initiative offers yet another reason to avoid consolidation.

There seem to be several unknowns about application of the Initiative, including questions of constitutionality and/or conflict with federal law, and legal challenges may arise, but these are largely beyond the realm of local decision making.

Just two questions appear to affect our decisions: first whether the city or consolidated municipality could continue to collect the $7 currently scheduled dock passenger fee while also receiving the local $5 share of the State s head tax, and second whether the State legislature will actually appropriate all, some or none of the $5 in any given year.

If the consolidated municipality chooses to give up or is not allowed to collect the $7 fee in addition to recieving the $5 head tax, then net result will be somewhere from a loss of $7 if the State does not come across with an appropriation to a loss of $2 if it does. That choice appears foolish and unlikely to be made.

Therefor if the consolidated municipality keeps the $7 passenger fee and thereby becomes ineligible for the $5 head tax the net result is no change from the presently scheduled income per passenger. And if the municipality keeps the $7 fee and is still eligible for the $5 head tax, the net result will be between a gain of nothing if the State does not come across to a gain of $5 if it does.

However, if the city and borough remain separate and the city keeps the $7 passenger fee, the same total net results happen only if the city remains eligible for its $2.50 share of the locally available $5. But if the city becomes ineligible for its $2.50 share as a result of keeping the $7 fee, then the borough will still receive its $2.50 share of the State s head tax, so long as the State appropriates it.

It boils down to a net financial reason (worth possibly $2.5 million for one million passengers) to vote against consolidation.

Eric Muench
Ketchikan, AK

Received October 11, 2006 - Published October 11, 2006

About: "I am a long time Ketchikan resident and have consistently opposed consolidation and/or unification as fundamentaly wrong for the community."


Related Information:

Information for Ketchikan Voters

Consolidation Election of the City of Ketchikan and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough
Election Day is Tuesday, November 21, 2006
This Election Will Be Conducted By Mail
There will be no polling place on election day.

TO VOTE: Ballots will be mailed on Monday, October 20, 2006.
Ballots must be voted and postmarked on or before Election Day, November 21, 2006.

Alaska Division of Elections - State-Conducted Local Elections


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


Send A Letter -------Read Letters

E-mail the Editor at

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska