by Ted Land
Monday, April 5, 2010
JUNEAU, Alaska -- The state Legislature has about two weeks left in session to make a decision on the state's cruise ship head tax.
It started hearings Monday on a proposal to reduce the burden on cruise lines and their passengers.
If they couldn't show up in person, they called in from all across the state: Tour operators, lodge owners and local governments who are keeping a close eye on the head tax bill.
They pleaded for help.
"Without relief being granted to the industry, our biggest industrial base is suffering a very significant blow," said one man.
"We've seen close to between a 20 percent on average decline and our business itself was just over 20 percent," said another.
"I'm terrified; I'm perplexed. I don't know what to do as we see these numbers diminish. How do I continue to support the Alaskans that I've been supporting?" asked Tanja Cadigan, of Caribou Crossings Art, in Juneau.