Michigan Promotion Program

This $5.7 million line item funds tourism and business advertising in this and neighboring states. The advertisements typically involve television and radio spots that highlight Michigan's virtues as a travel destination and hot spot for business growth. The line item also supports the creation and printing of publications to encourage tourism in the state. The advertising is overseen by the "Travel Michigan" department within the MEDC.

The state's tourism advertising campaign — known today as "Pure Michigan" — received a $27.5 million boost in fiscal 2009 due to a legislative appropriation to the Michigan Strategic Fund from the 21st Century Jobs Fund[51] — the fund originally designed for investing in the high technology job arenas of the future.[*] According to published reports, a total of $30 million was allocated to fund the Pure Michigan campaign that features voiceover work from actor and Michigan native Tim Allen.[52]

Two different proposals are wending their way through the state Legislature designed to create a permanent funding stream for greater tourism advertising in the state. The proposals include a tax on rental cars and one that would "capture" growth in sales taxes on tourism-related industries.[53]

The other area in which the Michigan Promotion Program line item is designed to help is business promotion. The reader is probably familiar with the nationwide advertisements featuring Michigan actor Jeff Daniels. This is called the "Upper Hand" campaign. The Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency estimates that since fiscal 2006, the state has spent $40.5 million on these advertisements, with an additional $3.75 million slated for fiscal year 2010. The majority of these funds were appropriated as part of the 21st Century Jobs Fund program.[54]

[*] Technically, the additional monies were redirected from the general-fund portion of the state budget after refinancing the state debt associated with the securitization of the MSA payments. The general-fund dollars were then moved to the 21st Century Jobs Fund where the MSF Board could distribute the resources to the MEDC for travel and business programs.

[51] Elizabeth Pratt and Maria Tyszkiewicz, "Michigan Travel Promotion and Business Marketing Programs," in State Notes (Lansing, Mich: Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency, 2008).

[52] Mark Hornbeck, "Tourism Officials Optimistic About Travel Campaign," The Detroit News, July 28, 2009.

[53] "House Bill 5017 of 2009," (Michigan Legislature, 2009), http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2009-2010/billintroduced/House/pdf/2009-HIB-5017.pdf (accessed August 4, 2009) and "Senate Bill 619," (Michigan Legislature, 2009), http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2009-2010/billintroduced/Senate/pdf/2009-sIB-0619.pdf (accessed August 30, 2009).

[54] Pratt and Tyszkiewicz, "Michigan Travel Promotion and Business Marketing Programs."