(eTN) – The Texas governor’s race is heating up, as one candidate wants to shift the talks over tourism, local TV stations are reporting.
According to ValleyCentral.Com, gubernatorial candidate Bill White says with Texas facing an 18 billion dollar budget deficit, a good place to start trimming is tourism.
Axing money used for ads and commercials promoting the state.
Executive Director of the South Padre Island Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Dan Quandt calls the measure a massive mistake.
Quandt tells Action 4 News, “The answer isn’t to slash the advertising budget; we’ve got independent studies that have shown for every dollar the state tourism spends on their ad campaign we get 7 dollars back in just state taxes.”
The tourism office, which is under Governor Rick Perry’s office spent more than 22 million last fiscal year for advertising services for Texas tourism and marketing.
The money is intended to lure tourists to the lone star state.
Quandt says, “We’re actually the third most visited state in the United States this is a big tourism destination, people know about Texas but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily going to come unless we tell them the story that’s what the budget is for.”
Governor Perry has already proposed making cuts to the program to help close the budget cap.
Quandt tells Action 4 News, “All of the money for the state tourism budget it comes from the hotel motel dollars exact same thing where it comes from Harlingen, McAllen, and South Padre Island and so it’s a state portion of that so it’s not coming from the general fund.”
Meanwhile the Texas tourism industry is calling on Bill White to reassess his proposal to single out the state’s tourism advertising budget.
Quandt tells Action 4 News, “It’s not an anti Bill White it’s not a pro Rick Perry it is a stance by the tourism industry to say what’s important to our industry.”
Bill White’s camp tells Action 4 News he’s not calling for an end to the tourism program.
The gubernatorial candidate sent us a statement saying, “We need to set priorities in the use of tax dollars, and our highest priorities should be education and law enforcement. There are many communities and private firms with programs to attract tourists. Advertising under the governor is a good candidate