Governor Charles D. Baker's Budget Recommendation - House 1 Fiscal Year 2016

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Outside Section 13

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Tourism Grants

SECTION 13.   Chapter 23A of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out section 14, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 14. (a) The office of travel and tourism is hereby directed, subject to appropriation, to establish a program for financial assistance to those public or nonprofit agencies which promote or provide services for tourism, convention, travel and recreation in the commonwealth. Funds shall be for competitive grants to any public or nonprofit agency which has been in operation for 2 consecutive years prior to application for funds under this section and which spends not less than $15,000 in its fiscal year on tourism, or a public or nonprofit agency which has a total budget larger than the average of Massachusetts tourist promotion agencies as estimated by the executive director of the office of travel and tourism and which spends 25 per cent of said budget on tourism.

(b) Funds shall be used to strengthen efforts of tourism, convention, travel and recreation agencies to attract and service visitors to the commonwealth and to better manage and distribute the influx of said visitors. The amount of funds received by any one agency shall be based on, but shall not be limited to, the following criteria:

(1) geographical size and population served by such agency;

(2) amount of matching funds from nongovernmental sources;

(3) assurance that the funded proposal will be in addition to the work currently being done by the agency and that the agency will maintain a continued effort of the funded program;

(4) demonstrated effectiveness of agency;

(5) integration of agency's tourism promotion plans with other private and public agency plans.

No funds may be spent for travel, entertainment, or purchase of equipment under this section.

(c) The office of travel and tourism is hereby authorized to make grants to agencies to assist such agencies in planning and carrying out their promotional programs and projects; provided, that before any such grant may be made;

(1) the agency shall have made application to the office of travel and tourism for such grant, and shall have set forth the program proposed to be undertaken for the purpose of encouraging and stimulating tourist, convention, visitor and vacation business. The application shall further state, with evidence satisfactory to the office of travel and tourism, the amount of nongovernmental funds held by or committed or subscribed to the agency for application to the proposals herein described and the amount of the grant for which application is made;

(2) the office of travel and tourism, after review of the application, shall be satisfied that the program of the agency appears to be in accord with the purpose of this section, and shall authorize the making of a grant to such agency;

(3) the maximum received by a private nonprofit agency shall be no greater than the amount received by that agency from nongovernmental sources.

(d) Any agency receiving funds under this section shall make a report to the house and senate committees on ways and means on the use of said funds at such time and in such form as the executive director of the office of travel and tourism shall specify. The executive director of the office of travel and tourism shall establish guidelines regulating the dispersal of funds under this section.

This section proposes to eliminate the current statutory entitlement of each regional tourism council to grant funding and convert tourism funding into a competitive program.

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