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Proposal would halt distribution of cruise ship head tax

JUNEAU — The state would not distribute cruise ship passenger taxes during the coming budget year to communities where ships stop under a proposal approved by House and Senate negotiators.

The provision was approved Thursday during an operating budget conference committee.

Rashah McChesney | AP Photo A city worker walks along a site that will soon host a life-sized whale sculpture and bridge park project along the Gastineau Channel in Juneau. The city is being sued by a industry representative for 12 cruise lines which alleges that the city is misspending funds from a per-passenger tax on the whale project and others which do not directly benefit cruise passengers.

Rashah McChesney | AP Photo
A city worker walks along a site that will soon host a life-sized whale sculpture and bridge park project along the Gastineau Channel in Juneau. The city is being sued by a industry representative for 12 cruise lines which alleges that the city is misspending funds from a per-passenger tax on the whale project and others which do not directly benefit cruise passengers.

Sen. Anna MacKinnon says concerns with equity have been raised, and there are distribution issues that need to be looked at. She says she’s willing to hear from communities about any problems the action might create for them.

By law, the state’s share of the tax is reduced by the amount of the municipal head taxes charged by Juneau and Ketchikan. Gov. Bill Walker proposed repealing the credit for local taxes but that stalled during the regular session.

Since the budget hasn’t been finalized, there’s a potential for issues to be revisited.

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