As I mentioned earlier, Carnival responded to Senator Rockefeller’s letter inquiring into the cruise line’s avoidance of U.S taxes and its refusal to reimburse federal agencies for services rendered with what I characterized the other day as a "screw you!" letter.
Today news sources are reporting that Senator Rockefeller characterized Carnival’s response as "shameful."
Carnival’s letter dodged the central question of exactly what and how much the cruise line pays in taxes.
A recent audit of Carnival’s finances on behalf of NBC News revealed that Carnival paid only 0.6% in taxes on the billions and billions of dollars collected from its passengers over the last five years. That’s less than 1% in local, state, federal and international taxes.
One thing is clear to me at this point. Senator Rockefeller is not going to drop the issue after receiving a blow-off letter like this from Carnival’s CEO Arison.
Rockefeller convened a hearing last year after the Costa Concordia disaster and grilled the cruise line’s representatives at that meeting about the non-payment of taxes, non-payment for the services of the Coast Guard and other federal agencies, and pollution.
Rockefeller seems likely to schedule another one soon.
This may be a good time to introduce legislation to create some meaningful oversight of foreign cruise lines given the public’s loss of confidence in Carnival following its streak of cruise ship fires and disabled ships.