The Massachusetts House of Representatives is debating the state budget this week. There are several amendments for consideration that would greatly help our visitation and tourism industry and its recovery.
We are writing to ask for your help to get these measures passed into the final bill.
MESSAGE TO LEGISLATORS
Our region’s visitor and tourism industry urge your support for the following amendments. We ask for your help to include these items in the Conference Committee Report:
#34. Rep. McMurty
Regional Tourism Council Matching Program Waiver
This amendment removes the requirement for this fiscal year (’21) that RTCs raise private dollars that match 1-for-1 our tourism marketing and promotion grants in order to receive our grant. The Tourism Trust Fund enabling law requires that each fiscal year we raise private dollars that match that grant award.
We ask this requirement be waived because Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc on our local economies, particularly with hospitality related businesses. The very entities – – hoteliers, attractions, retail, restaurants, services – – that we typically raise these matching funds from are in crisis. These businesses are struggling to hang on – – we cannot raise dollars from them at this time. The House passed this language as part of the Supplemental Budget for FY ’20 in the summer.
Amendment #172. Rep. Tucker
Timely Distribution of Regional Tourism Council Funds
Ensures grant funding is allocated to RTCs by January 1st. This amendment ensures marketing and promotion monies are allocated in a timely manner. Similar measure has been part of the budget the past 2 years. RTCs are working hard to ensure safe travel. Massachusetts Regional Tourism Councils are encouraging safe & healthy travel to in-state residents and low-transmission drive-market states to support our businesses that are in dire need of support.
H. 2 and H. 5150 assume the Tourism Trust Fund is fully-funded. Some of these monies have already been allocated. There is no bottom-line impact to this proposal. It simply ensures the tourism trust fund dollars are allocated and distributed in a timely manner.
Amendment #541. Rep. Blais
Visitation and Local Economic Marketing
Creates a marketing and promotion grant program to help economic recovery from Covid. $10 million program ($6 million dedicated to RTCs).