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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Battle Continues For Tourism Funding





Action continues on several fronts in an attempt to restore state funding for tourist promotion for many rural Pennsylvania counties. State Senator Joe Scarnati and Rep. Martin Causer are pushing for action. The Potter County Commissioners are lobbying their counterparts in other rural counties to join the move. Meanwhile, the Potter Leader-Enterprise has been encouraging its readers to help. Unless state officials relent, Potter County Visitors Association (PCVA) will take a big hit next year, due to a new formula for distributing state funds. PCVA funding has been cut from $34,652 this year to $13,355. That’s a 61 percent decrease, largest proportional reduction in the state.

Under Pa. Act 50 of 2008, tourist promotion agencies are awarded funding based on a formula that weighs the agency’s eligible expenses (i.e. spending on promotion, etc.), hotel room tax revenues and an evaluation of a marketing plan.

Those changes have a negative impact on smaller tourist promotion agencies with relatively small room tax revenue and promotional spending. In the case of Potter County, the marketing plan received a favorable rating, but the other two factors have more than outweighed that high score.

Sen Scarnati said that week that if the Pa. Dept. of Community and Economic Development doesn’t re-evaluate its guidelines, he will seek to correct the inequities through the legislative and budgetary process. Potter County Today

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