Five bucks a head


Whether or not Juneau, Alaska's decision to impose a $5 head tax on cruise passengers actually passes a constitutional smell test, there are two words that will always be associated with the controversial measure: Royal Caribbean.

Juneau needs about $3 million to stop up its hemorrhaging city budget. The head tax, which was passed on Tuesday by a 2-to-1 margin, will bring in, guess how much, about $3 million.

Juneau tried a similar measure three years ago when a proposed $7 head tax was rejected by voters. That was before Royal Caribbean admitted to the intentional dumping of oil and chemical pollutants into Juneau's harbor.

Now, of course, the entire cruise industry has been branded as a bunch of money-grubbing pirates who abuse the environment and then just sail away. And while it's not fair, it's not hard to fathom either.

Hopefully, for everybody's sake, the matter will be settled quickly, because if it goes to court, as some members of the cruise industry predict, Royal Caribbean is going to find out over and over again that not all publicity is good publicity.


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