Visit Washington! (But You Didn’t Hear It From Them)
Have you ever wanted to visit the state of Washington? Perhaps you wanted to catch a Mariners game, or drive on out to Mount Rainer. Maybe you even wanted to cruise on up to Puget Sound, or enjoy one of the numerous state parks that are scattered all across the Washington frontier. These all seem like great choices for a vacation destinations, until you realize that after today you’ll be planning any of these vacations by yourself.
That’s right, to rectify the current state budget crisis, the Washington state government has one-upped states like New York that have cut the funding for promoting tourism by completely doing away with all funding. The state’s current tourism expenses have dropped from over $7 million to only $2 million in recent years, which may not seem like much until you realize what else would have been cut instead.
I applaud the effort here because it means that instead of tuition hikes and health-care cuts, the state’s actually risking money out of its own pocket to keep its current residents happy. In fact, tourism accounts for $15.2 billion of the state’s annual revenue, it’s fourth largest market. This means that the risk is pretty steep, but the reality is that this keeps money in the pockets of Washington’s residents for even longer, which is quite a feat in today’s economy. Hopefully our national government, and even our own home states will also take a long hard look at the sacrifices that the government of Washington appears to be making here just to keep a little bit of money in the pockets of its residents.
Don’t worry, though, the state has set up a program so that its tourism website will still be functional, and popular recreational facilities will be staffed. But don’t expect to see any commercials advertising for you to come visit anytime soon.