ANCHORAGE -- In order to raise what the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) says is much-needed funds for tourism marketing, the organization made a proposal: Let the tourism industry tax itself.

Leveling a 2% tax on your own business is unusual, especially so in Alaska, where, as an ATIA spokesman put it, "People aren't used to being taxed." But the state is facing a budget deficit, revenues from its oil production are down and funds are tight. In its current model, the ATIA's budget is $10 million -- 60% private funds and 40% state funds.

"In this budgetary climate, the tourism industry recognizes the chance of getting more marketing funds from the state is slim to none," said Ron Peck, the ATIA's president.

Peck said the proposed "self-assessment" could raise $20 million in marketing funds. If the assessment were to go into effect, it would be levied on sales generated by hotels, car rentals, gift shops, shore excursions, day tours and land-based package tours but not cruise ships.

To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].

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