By Melissa Daniels
for The Pennsylvania Independent
HARRISBURG PA – It took less than 90 seconds Tuesday (Oct. 1, 2013) for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to decide to create a new state commission, and authorize $15 million in tax credits devoted to improving the Commonwealth’s brand and tourism, The Pennsylvania Independent online news service reported.
The House voted 189-6 to create the Pennsylvania Tourism Commission, and 194-1 to establish a tax credit for businesses who give money to support the commission’s fund. The bills passed without floor debate, and sponsor House Tourism Chairman Jerry Stern of Blair County told The Independent he was encouraged by the bipartisan support.
Stern said he hopes to see more of a public-private partnership approach to tourism, a $37 billion industry in Pennsylvania. He said a commission could provide continuity that an administration-managed tourism package can’t.
Pennsylvania has had four tourism themes in as many governors, he said.
Not all politicians saw it Stern’s way. At least two of the six “no” votes on the commission’s creation took into consideration the expansion of government.
The commission will be an 11-member board of governor appointees. Members would come from the private sector, and from tourism promotional agencies and associations for restaurant, lodging and retail industries, among others.
Members wouldn’t get a salary but could be reimbursed for expenses. Stern said it’s likely the commission would have a small staff. DCED has five employees dedicated to tourism right now.
- Read a story by reporter Melissa Daniels, titled “PA House creates new tourism agency, authorizes $15M in tax giveaways” and published Wednesday (Oct. 3, 2013) by The Independent, here.