The opening of the Major League Baseball season is still a couple
of weeks away, but already a bench-clearing brawl has erupted in
At the center of the fray is a proposed head tax on cruise
passengers that would help finance a new, $400 million stadium for
Miami's Florida Marlins.
Under a bill to be submitted in the current session of the
Florida legislature, a head tax of about $4 to $6 each way will be
assessed on all multiday cruise passengers who arrive and depart
from the Port of Miami.
The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau already has
cried foul, as have the International Council of Cruise Lines, the
Travel Industry Association of America and Carnival Corp.
As well they should. For years, professional sports teams
looking to build new, more attractive stadiums have turned to
tourism taxes for funding that doesn't invoke the ire of the local
taxpayer. Simply put, visitors "are easy targets," as TIA president
William Norman put it, because they don't vote in the districts
where they vacation.
One can often justify industry fees and taxes when the proceeds
clearly benefit the traveling public. But taxing cruise passengers
to build a baseball stadium near the port is way off base.
The decision this month to cut the visiting hours at the U.S.
Capitol came suddenly and without a plausible explanation, and we
echo the National Tour Association's call for the hours to be
The Architect of the Capitol's Web site calls the building "a
symbol of the American people and their government, the meeting
place of the nation's legislature, an art and history museum and a
tourist attraction visited by millions every year."
All the more reason to keep it as accessible as possible.