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Tourism Lobby Hustling

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  The special interests that represent Louisiana's travel industry are already stirring up their respective constituencies for what could be another major budget battle in 2010. Gov. Bobby Jindal vetoed $2.2 million in tourism marketing funds earlier this year, bringing the total amount cut in 2009 to $4.8 million. Overall, the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism's budget was targeted for a reduction of some $38 million. Further attempts to chip away at tourism marketing are expected. While proposed cuts from the Division of Administration are likely to emerge, there are also novel ideas coming from the governor's Commission on Streamlining Government. For example, Treasurer John Kennedy has floated the concept of a cooperative endeavor agreement between Louisiana and Mississippi or Arkansas, based on an existing tourism marketing relationship between Minnesota and Wisconsin. In response, the Louisiana Hotel and Lodging Association is urging its members to write Jindal. "Cutting the (tourism) budget again, as was done this year, will only result in the loss of jobs and less tax dollars generated," LHLA President Darrius Gray writes to his membership. Also on the bandwagon is the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association, which recently produced a set of commercials that focus on economic development. Get a peek at www.lpta.org. — Jeremy Alford 

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