St. Louis Public Radio News
5:09 pm
Mon August 31, 2009

Tourism industry leaders want cut reversed

Jefferson City, MO – Tourism interests in Missouri want Governor Jay Nixon to reverse cuts made to the state's Division of Tourism.

Among the recent budget cuts approved by the governor was a $7 million cut to the Tourism Division.

Gary Figgins, past President of the Missouri Travel Council, called on the Nixon Administration to reconsider.

"We just feel that this disproportionate cut is just too much for tourism, and that tourism is being asked to shoulder the bulk of the burden for the Department of Economic Development's cut," Figgins said.

Ramona Mormann, Executive Director of the Missouri Hotel Lodging Association, estimates that about 2,500 hotel workers will lose their jobs as a result of fewer state dollars spent to draw visitors to Missouri.

But Scott Holste, Governor Nixon's Press Secretary, says the cut is not as big as it appears.

"(The Division of Tourism) did carry over $4.5 million from the previous fiscal year...taking that into account, (that) would be about a $2.5 million cut from their overall budget, which is about 10 percent...that's in line with other agencies that have had (to) take cuts," Holste said.

Holste also says all cuts made to the budget were necessary to keep essential services in place and to avoid raising taxes.