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Alaska cruises may get more expensive

Alaskans voted yesterday on a proposed measure that would levy a $50 tax per cruise passenger, as well as tax onboard gambling and require stricter environmental standards. Proponents argue that the cruise lines need to pay their fair share, while opponents claim that the tax will hurt the Alaskan economy. Unofficial results as of midnight last time show 53 percent of voters in favor of the initiative and 47 percent against it.

Alaskans Protecting Our Economy, the group leading the attack on the bill, claim that “Ballot Measure 2 is a threat to local jobs and Alaska’s economy.” They also say that the measure would increase bureaucratic red tape without actually benefiting the environment. Proponents of the initiative, such as Responsible Cruising in Alaska, believe that the cruise industry is getting a free ride and not helping to maintain the environment that is the state’s biggest attraction. They say that the cruise industries are making billions of dollars in Alaska, but that very little of that money stays in state.

Should the bill pass, it’s quite likely that the cruise industry will pass the additional costs to you, their customers. Alaska cruise fares, which are already higher than Caribbean cruise costs, may go up further. I doubt that the price increase would be prohibitive for most people looking to purchase a cruise vacation, but it will be something to factor in to your vacation budget. Just remember that the extra money you may have to pay is helping to maintain the natural beauty of Alaska for future generations of cruisers.

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