The Tourism Department presented it’s FY18 budget request last week at the House Appropriations and Finance Committee in front of a crowd of tourism industry members and supporters. The department is requesting a $12.6 million dollar general fund appropriation (76% of which is spent on marketing and promotion of New Mexico), which is slightly less than the amount of general fund dollars in the department’s current FY17 budget. During the budget hearing Secretary Latham made the case that New Mexico True advertising continues to deliver a 7:1 ROI at the tax-base level and has been shown to improve perceptions of New Mexico as a place to start a business, start a career, relocate, attend college, retire, and buy a second home. She spoke about the successes of department initiatives like New Mexico True Certified and shared that New Mexico True advertising is now visible in Austin, Texas. After hearing from multiple tourism industry members voicing support for the department’s budget request, the committee voted to accept the department’s budget request. The next stop for the FY18 budget is the Senate Finance Committee.
Additionally, Representative Rebecca Dow (Grant, Hidalgo & Sierra Counties) is introducing legislation to “clean up” the Litter Control and Beautification Act by repealing the mandated 32-person Litter Control Council and replacing it with a 7-person Clean and Beautiful Advisory Committee. Changing the structure of this group (which currently only has 1 active participant) will provide greater support for the department’s Keep New Mexico True program, to include involvement with how Clean & Beautiful grant funds are being awarded and how Keep America Beautiful affiliates are being recognized for their efforts. Representative Dow is also proposing to remove a statutorily mandated requirement that the Council print and distribute litter bags to locations across the state. If this change is adopted, Clean and Beautiful grant applicants will still be able to request funding for litter bags in their grant applications. This simply removes the burden off of the volunteer advisory group. Follow the progress of this legislation by tracking House Bill 218 at NMLegis.gov.
We will keep you updated as other relevant legislation is introduced in this 60-day session.