New Englanders divided on using taxes for tourism

BURLINGTON, VT: Northeast states considering using PR to generate tourism should think twice before asking taxpayers to pick up the tab, according to a recent study.

BURLINGTON, VT: Northeast states considering using PR to generate tourism should think twice before asking taxpayers to pick up the tab, according to a recent study.

BURLINGTON, VT: Northeast states considering using PR to generate

tourism should think twice before asking taxpayers to pick up the tab,

according to a recent study.



Residents in Massachusetts, Vermont, New York and New Hampshire are

split on spending tax dollars to promote tourism, according to a recent

Investor Economic Pulse poll conducted by the Stratevest Group, a

Burlington, VT investment-management firm. Fourty-four percent of

respondents from Massachusetts, 52% from New York, 43% from New

Hampshire and 46% from Vermont were in favor of increased state

spending.



’Tourism is very big in our region, and as we were coming into

leaf-peeper season, we wanted to see what people think of tourism and

whether states should offer assistance to the tourism industry,’ said

Stratevest chief economist J. Alan Day. Of the nearly half of

respondents who said their state should not do more to promote tourism,

Day said, ’Maybe states should do more to inform the public as to what

tourism means for the economy of their state in terms of jobs and

revenue.’



Doug Twitchell, executive director of the Adirondack/Speculator Chamber

of Commerce in Speculator, NY, said the survey findings were not

surprising.



’I think people have a difficult time understanding what tourism, via

increased sales-tax dollars, does to reduce taxes,’ he said. ’Tourism is

the third-largest industry in the state of New York, and you should fund

the promotion of the third-largest industry as you would fund promotion

of the largest industry.’



Twitchell is in favor of spending more to promote tourism, suggesting

that with more funding, his group might consider creating a spring

tourism guide, in addition to the summer, winter and fall guides that

the state already produces. He said he’d also like to do more promotions

beyond New England.



However, Mary Jane McKenna, executive director of the Massachusetts

Office of Travel and Tourism in Boston, said that the question is not

relevant for Massachusetts, which funds its tourism promotions through a

portion of its 5.7% hotel-room tax. She also said it is not necessary to

raise the rooms tax. ’So long as the tourism fund continues to grow, I’m

perfectly satisfied with the system,’ said McKenna.



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