CLIA vs. Juneau

Princess Ships in Juneau, Alaska

The Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) lawsuit against Juneau, challenging the legality of use of a $8 passenger tax appears to be heading to a trial, according to local sources.

The suit, which was filed in April of 2016, basically charges that how the passenger tax revenue is used is unconstitutional, that the money is used for projects that do not service the ships or the passengers, and also that the tax exceeds the port’s costs for ships and passengers.

Juneau is arguing that all the money is reasonably spent on services that benefit the ships and their passengers.

John Binkley, president of CLIA Alaska, explained that the ships pay a $34.50 head tax per passenger in Alaska, which includes the $8 in question in Juneau.

According to Carl Uchytil, port director, the $8 consists of $5 as a so-called marine passenger fee and $3 is a port development fee.

Binkley added that the city also gets another $5 from the state head tax for a total of $13.

The issue, according to Binkley, is that the industry wants the head tax revenue, which he projected to $47 million next year, to be used for cruise-related infrastructure and services. Binkley told Cruise Industry News that the state could appropriate funds to different ports earmarked to support infrastructure development such as new piers, helping to grow and expand the industry in Alaska.

He said that the law suit’s objective is not to reduce the state head tax, but to ensure that is used for the cruise industry.

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