By Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs
A bill to revive tourism promotion in the state has been introduced into the House of Representatives.
Rep. Cary Condotta, R-Wenatchee, has introduced HB 1123 to revive tourism promotion that the state ended during the last economic recession.
Condotta’s bill changes how a promotion fund would be collected. Instead of a tax or surcharge on retailers, under HB 1123, 0.1 percent of general sales tax collected on retail sales, lodging, on rental cars and at restaurants would be deposited in a new statewide tourism marketing account. Deposits could be matched by private funds up to a maximum of $15 million per biennium.
Under the earlier funding proposal, some retailers not dependent upon tourism objected to being taxed to promote it.
This new and innovative funding approach will be reviewed by WRA and its members before an official position is taken. Washington is the nation’s only state that does not fund tourism promotion.