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Legislative Memo

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BILL:

S.6350-A/A.8550-A (State Operating) and S.6353-A/A.8553-A (Aid to Localities)

  Support

SUBJECT:

Appropriations for tourism-related programs

 

S.6350-A/A.8550-A and S.6353-A/A.8553-A

DATE:

February 20, 2014

 

The Business Council of New York State, Inc. advocates for more than 2,600 members, many of whom are in the Travel and Tourism industries. Marketing dollars and programs are essential to driving tourists to New York. The Council supports the level of funding for tourism related programs in this year's Executive Budget and is encouraging the New York State Legislature to do the same.

Governor Cuomo has made great strides during his first term; renewing the state's focus on tourism activities with events like the Tourism Summit and the Beer, Wine, and Spirits Summit; Pathways through History; and programs such as Market-NY and Taste-NY. We are encouraging the Governor to host more industry summits — that engage industry experts and business leaders on how the state can ease burdens on businesses and increase tourism. In their first year, programs like Market-NY ($5 million appropriated for FY2014-15) and Taste-NY ($1.1 million appropriated for FY2014-15) have been successful showcasing all of the great things to do, and the great products made, in New York, and we hope their funding remains as proposed.

The Business Council applauds Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for their continued support of marketing programs such as I Love NY ($2.5 million appropriated for FY2014-15), and the county matching funds program ($3.815 million appropriated for FY2014-15). We also support the continued funding of the Wine and Grape Foundation ($713,000 appropriated for FY2014-15) which — in addition to the support seen from the state — has done an excellent job promoting New York wines throughout the state, the country and in international markets. Through 2013 the State has spent an estimated $60 million on various tourism-related projects which have been funded through the Regional Economic Development Councils, Open for Business and NY Works. The increased focus on, and level of funding for, tourism programs provided over the past three years has made a great impact on New York State. Tourism is a leader in New York's economy and the industry continues to prove that the state's investment leads to greater tax revenues and job creation.   We will recommend that moving forward the state increase the funding allocated to tourism-specific programs (eg I Love NY and Market-NY) to accurately represent the state's investment which will allow tourism marketing organizations and businesses plan better and focus their own marketing initiatives.

The Business Council supports the level of funding appropriated to the tourism industry in the proposed FY 2014-15 budget and encourages the Legislature to approve it.