Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Places to cut...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Places to cut...

The Kansas Legislature will have two choices in this legislative session -- cut spending or raise more revenue. Legislators are facing a budget shortfall as they return to Topeka this year, and by statute, they are not allowed to operate at a deficit. (They'll probably do a combination of both.)

Brownback has already suggested -- and I HOPE he's joking -- extending a 1 cent sales tax, part of which is set to expire this year.

I have a better idea: Get out your scissors, your scalpels and hatchets, and make some cuts.

I will offer suggestions as I think of them just to help out. (No need to send me a thank you note.)

May I humbly suggest cuts to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, fondly known as the KDWPT? Specifically, I'm thinking cuts to the division of tourism, although I'm sure there are other cuts to be made in this department.

Although the KDWPT touts an 80-to-1 return on investment on its advertising campaign last year, I have a brain and therefore I am not buying it.

I do not even know how you conduct the research that tells you that for every dollar spent on marketing Kansas as a tourist destination, $80 are added to the economy.

The KDWPT hired a study to determine how much money their marketing efforts add to Kansas' bottom line. Shockingly, the study results PROVE that spending taxpayer money to market the largest ball of twine and the deepest hand dug well is bringing in loads of tourist money from out-of-state.

Last yer, KDWPT spent nearly $1 million dollars marketing Kansas to people in seven states -- Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Iowa -- through television, print, online and digital advertisements.

The department reports that through efforts like this, thousands of people flocked to Kansas and spent $73 million.

I don't doubt that some people came to Kansas and toured stuff. What I doubt is that Kansas' advertising campaign was what made the difference. (I've drawn this conclusion based on my ability to use common sense and reasoning.)

KDWPT also suggests that the Kansas tourism industry employs one in nine Kansans. I am offended that they expect me to buy that story. It's an absolute stretch. Of all the people I know across the state, the only tourism-type employed Kansans I know are the few people I know that work for the KDWPT. I guess I know a flight attendant, but technically her base of employment is not Kansas. She just happens to live here, so I'm not sure that counts.

To their credit, KDWPT did not exactly use general fund money to "market" Kansas tourism and I hope they didn't use it to conduct their make-our-jobs-appear-meaninful-and-well-worth-it study. Instead, money generated through Economic Development Initiative Funds (think lottery, hotel taxes, etc.) were used.

Here's what I'm saying, instead of raising taxes, or extending the one-cent sales tax (I can't even type those words without rage bubbling up. KEEP YOUR PROMISES LEGISLATORS), why not spend that $1 million on infrastructure or schools instead of spending it on "marketing" the Garden of Eden or whatever. I do not believe that is a good use of state funds when we have shortfalls elsewhere.

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