Carnival Corp. Chief Micky Arison said that the cruise industry, and not Carnival Corp. alone, might use the courts to overturn Alaska's $50 per passenger head tax.
In several published reports from Venice, Arison was quoted as saying during a press conference aboard the Seabourn Odyssey that the company's "intention is to file litigation relatively soon" in order to repeal the tax.
Arison clarified his comments in emails Tuesday, saying that he apparently wasn't clear but meant to convey that the industry was preparing to challenge the tax, not Carnival Corp. alone.
Arison has been outspoken about the tax, which was approved by citizen referendum in 2006 and enacted in 2008. In a conference call in March to discuss the company’s earnings, Arison called the head tax "unconstitutional and, in fact, effectively illegal." He suggested at that time that Carnival would consider legal action.
The three largest cruise companies -- Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and NCL Corp. -- plan to reduce capacity in Alaska for the 2010 season. Each pointed to the head tax as a factor in its decision.
According to USA Today, Arison said Carnival had "tried over several legislative sessions to convince the powers that be [it was illegal] and that it was not in the interest of Alaska economically. We have not been successful."
Arison also took a shot at Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, suggesting that she "needs to concentrate on Alaska and stop running for president."