Tourism Promotion Needs More Funds, Official Says

State tourism officials want Senate budget writers to revive almost $2 million for marketing that the home cut in its $18.97 billion, two-year operating budget.

Under the House budget, how much rooms and meals tax revenue earmarked for tourism promotion was reduced.

Taylor Caswell, Commissioner of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, asked the Senate Finance Committee to consider adding $1.975 million back to the tourism promotion budget over another two years.

He said that could bring the total near the original 3.15 percent of rooms and meals earnings for promotion.

He told the committee any lapse from the existing year would be allocated to promotion because of this summer.

If the committee agrees to increase funding by $990,208 for fiscal year 2022, that'll be about $9.5 million or just short of the 3.15 percent.

“I really do think, given the state of the industry, this is an especially important year to look at those numbers,” he said, “and how we might help the industry recover from 2020.”
Caswell also seeks $985,208 in additional rooms and meals earnings for the 2023 budget for tourism promotion.

The agency also requested additional money for the tiny Business Development Center at the University of New Hampshire.

Traditionally the state has appropriated between $400,000 and $450,000 for this program as a match for federal funds, but Gov. Chris Sununu didn't include any money in his proposed budget for the program.

THE HOME added back almost all of the amount of money, but Caswell seeks yet another $90,000 in each of the next two fiscal years to totally fund the program.

Senate Finance Committee member Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua, wondered if federal Rescue Act money could possibly be used to greatly help fund the development center.

Caswell said the federal money will head to various agencies with some legislative involvement, but some general fund money needs to be in the budget to keep the program running.

Many federal programs do not allow states to use other federal money to meet up their obligations for matching funds.

The Senate Finance Committee is hearing from state agencies through the end of the month before it commences developing its version of the budget.

The Senate’s deadline is June 3 to approve its version of the state’s two-year operating budget.

A fresh operating budget should be set up July 1 as the current fiscal year 2020-2021 biennium budget ends June 30.

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