By Mark Johnson, Senior VP of Government Affairs
The Legislature has unanimously approved SB 5251 that would return tourism promotion funding in Washington State for the first time since 2011.
Provided that Gov. Inslee signs the bill, this is great news for retailers who depend upon tourism for part of their annual income.
In recent years, Washington was the only state that wasn’t spending anything to promote tourism after eliminating funding during the last recession. The funding bill avoids any new taxes.
The bill diverts 0.2 percent of the retail sales tax collected on lodging, restaurants and retail cars to a tourism marketing account. The funding formula offers the potential for generating up to $9 million per biennium to be spent on statewide tourism promotion.
A healthier tourism and retail industry also means a healthier state because additional sales tax revenue will be available to operate vital state services.
This bill is a win-win for all concerned about the economy. We urge the Governor to sign it into law.