Friday, November 13, 2009

Local Politics - Help Protect Nebraska's Tourism Marketing Efforts

In 2008, direct travel spending in Nebraska generated $266 million in federal, state and local tax revenues. Travel-generated income and sales taxes represent 3.8 percent of all state and local tax revenues in Nebraska, not including property taxes.

The travel and tourism industry supports 36,050 jobs statewide, generating earnings of $555,624,000.00 for Nebraskans. We are facing an economic crisis, and now isn't the time to jeopardize the tax revenue or the jobs and payrolls generated by this important industry.

The total budget of the Nebraska Travel and Tourism Division in Fiscal Year 2007-08 was approximately $4.8 million, compared to an average of $17.4 million among all state travel offices. A 1% lodging tax provides much of the revenue for the Division "to generally promote, encourage, and attract visitors to and within the State of Nebraska and enhance the use of travel and tourism facilities within the state."

One of the proposals to help balance the Nebraska budget is to divert a portion of this 1% lodging tax into the state's general fund. Since Travel and Tourism generates 3.8% of all state and local tax revenues in Nebraska, not including property taxes, this is a self-defeating proposal. It will ultimately hurt the efforts to balance the budget by reducing the taxes generated by Travel and Tourism.

Please contact your state senator today (you can find their contact information on http://nebraskalegislature.gov) and let them know that diverting money from tourism marketing is like killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

The Nebraska Legislature is a prudent manager of the state's funds, and we all must sacrifice to keep the budget balanced. The tourism industry is willing to grant major concessions, including giving back any general fund income it receives, but protecting the main source of income from the 1% lodging taxes paid by visitors is essential. Please take a few minutes and let your senator know how important this issue is.

Thanks for stopping by. Isn't discussing politics over coffee fun?

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