This morning, the paper published a story from the local tourism agency that the industry is having a $75 billion dollar impact on the community (story HERE).
Let’s take second to focus. That’s $75 billion on a number of different dimensions. Not necessarily profits.
Yet, this impact is occurring in a local economy with an affordable housing crisis and a some of the lowest wages in the nation.
Still, for tourism executives it’s not enough.
And it’s you the taxpayer that continues to pay for tourism projects for these theme parks that involve CEOs raking in millions of dollars for themselves. Heck, you the taxpayer are even giving millions to the agency, VISIT Orlando, to tell you how much money the tourism industry is making off of your labor while we’ve got families living in hotels (story HERE).
This news is also happening while Orange County is in the middle of a campaign to raise your sales taxes for transportation improvements. This while you pay for roads for theme parks such as Universal Studios (story HERE).
The answer here is the diversification of the spending of the tourism development tax. These are the revenues that are collected from hotel night stays. Right now, we’re only allowed to put this money back into tourism. That’s exactly the way tourism executives like it.
We need more resources for teachers and first responders.
Instead, with a $75 billion dollar impact, they keep asking us for more money. Even with an economy that big they’re not satisfied.
We need to stop giving it to them.
Call your elected officials in Orange County and the state level and tell them we have more important priorities right now.