Pure Michigan Campaign Ineffective, Needs To End

New op-ed published in the Detroit News

Michigan taxpayers spend $33 million each year marketing the state through the Pure Michigan ad campaign. New findings from the Mackinac Center find that money is largely wasted.

The ineffectiveness of the Pure Michigan promotional program is the focus of an op-ed in The Detroit News by Mackinac Center scholar Michael Hicks and Michael LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative. The piece was published as the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism convened in Lansing, and suggested lawmakers end the subsidy.

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The Pure Michigan promotion campaign has received $261 million in state appropriations since 2006. Michigan’s tourism industry wants more and has said in writing that one of its goals is to see a $50 million appropriation by 2017. Michigan is not the only state to spend millions of dollars in the state-promotion game.…

We found that advertising has a positive, but microscopic impact on the tourism industry. For the average state —including Michigan — a $1 million increase in state promotion spending resulted in an increase of $20,000 in economic activity shared by the entire accommodations industry.

Advertising might be a good use of businesses’ money, but it is not a good use of taxpayer money.

Read the full op-ed in The Detroit News.

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