"No one disputes the importance of Pure Michigan. But we had a massive deficit we needed to take care of," (Senate Republican spokesman Matt) Mardsen said.
Over and over again they said "no", but fortunately pressure from their own interests in the tourism industry finally prevailed, and we managed to get half the financing we needed for a campaign last year. That was put toward national cable TV slots that started last May - and look what happened next:
After three down years, travel and tourism spending in the state rose 14% last year to $17.2 billion, up from $15.1 billion in 2009 -- the biggest one-year jump in Michigan history, according to the latest annual national survey by D.K. Shifflet & Associates of McLean, Va.
Especially notable was a 21% spike in spending by out-of-state leisure visitors, quite likely linked to the cumulative impact of the state's first-ever national cable TV buys of advertising time in 2009 and 2010 for the Pure Michigan campaign.
What did that bring? Money and jobs, of course. Just like the Democrats said it would.
• Business-related travel in Michigan perked up with a 15% gain in 2010 to $4.6 billion, after plunging nearly 30% between 2006 and 2009.
• Leisure travel spending outpaced business travel by nearly a 3-1 margin, with spending by out-of-state leisure visitors surpassing that of in-state Michigan travelers for the first time. The narrow margin: $6.37 billion to $6.25 billion.
• State tax revenue from tourism grew 13% to $964 million last year, and 152,600 jobs were generated, up 10,000 from 2009.
Republicans wanted to kill our auto industry. Republicans wanted to kill our tourism industry. They were dead wrong on both counts. Something to think about as the Republican budget that slashes education funding is signed today.
Why would you ever trust these guys with your money?