Tanja Cadigan, owner of Caribou
Crossings in Juneau, poses with Gov.
Sean Parnell in her Alaska-owned
shop. Cadigan spoke briefly during the
signing ceremony for SB 312 as a representative of the hundreds of small
Alaska businesses that depend on
Following the signing of legislation adjusting the head tax from $46 per passenger to $34.50, the Alaska Cruise Association (ACA) officially terminated its lawsuit against the state.
A stipulation filed with the U.S. District Court for Alaska dismisses with prejudice the lawsuit that was filed against the state last September.
"We are pleased to resolve this situation so amiably," ACA President John Binkley said. "Senate Bill 312 sends a positive message that Alaska values its cruise visitors and the state is open for business."
Gov. Sean Parnell signed SB 312 on June 24.
“The issues in this case were factually and legally complicated, and without this settlement this case could have been tied up in federal court for years to come,” Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan said. “Beyond that, the tax cut introduced by the governor and enacted by the Legislature should spur economic growth, particularly among small businesses that will benefit from increased tourism traffic.”
SB 312 also requires a review and report to the Legislature every three years regarding passenger visits, use of tax proceeds and community needs so the Legislature has current information on the industry and visitor trends.
“This report will provide the Legislature with the information it needs to ensure this passenger excise tax remains commensurate with the costs of safely and efficiently hosting passengers in Alaska,” said Assistant Attorney General Chris Poag, who led the state effort to defend against the lawsuit and negotiate the settlement.