The cruise industry has picked a fight with Alaska over the $50 tax designed to protect the state. The lawsuit, which is posted online, indicates that the lawsuit was filed by a trade organization called, interesting enough, the "Alaska Cruise Association."
"Alaskan Cruise Association" – Made in Miami, Florida
There is nothing remotely "Alaskan" about the "Alaska Cruise Association" (ACA). The ACA is comprised of nine cruise lines, none of which are based in Alaska. Six of the cruise lines – Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, and Silverseas – are based in Miami or Fort Lauderdale. The other three line, Holland America, Princess, and Windstar Cruises, are all owned by Miami-based Carnival or its subsidiaries.
Even the main lawyer listed on the lawsuit papers, Seattle lawyer Stephen Rummage, is not even admitted to practice law in Alaska. He must petition the court in Alaska for special permission to enter the courthouse in Alaska to argue the case. You can guarantee that the bulk of the ACA’s lawyer’s fees will be paid by money which can be traced back to Miami.
Revenge is Sweet
The Miami cruise lines do not like to be regulated and are certainly not used to being taxed. It is like trying to put a leash on a mean dog. Someone is going to be bitten. Yet, Alaska has every right to impose reasonable taxes to protect its pristine environment from the out-of-state polluters like Carnival and Royal Caribbean.
The lawsuit is revenge against Alaska by Carnival and other cruise lines in South Florida. Unlike Florida and the struggling islands in the Caribbean which for years have rolled over and played dead for the pollution spewing cruise industry, Alaska has enacted a number of measures to protect the state from the foreign flagged cruise lines’ predatory practices. Earlier in the year, it was widely reported that the cruise industry was having difficulty convincing the legislators to abolish strict water pollution standards which were approved by Alaskan voters in 2006.
Like Father, Like Son?
Soon thereafter, Mickey Arison of Carnival began threatening to punish Alaska for the pollution regulations and having the audacity to levy a $50 tax on the passengers who sail on his cruise ships. Any time I hear the word "tax" and "Mickey Arison" in the same sentence, I can’t help but to think about Mickey’s father, Ted Arison. He collected billions of dollars from tax paying U.S. passengers and lived the good life in Miami but he registered his Miami based cruise line and his cruise ships in Panama to avoid all U.S. taxes. In 1990, he abandoned Miami, denounced his U.S. citizenship, and returned to Israel with his billions in a ploy to avoid estate and inheritance taxes.
So here we are again, with the younger Arison leading the charge of the Miami consortium of foreign flagged cruise ships pretending to be an "Alaskan" non-profit organization with Alaska’s best interests at heart. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. This is pay back by the Miami cruise lines, and business as usual for the latest tax avoiding Miami billionaire.
Business Week – Photo of Mickey Arison