May 11, 2017
Lasee's Notes is a way for me to
communicate directly with you on key issues of our day
and to champion limited government, lower taxes, and individual liberty.
How we respond to these issues today, will affect the direction of our state
and nation tomorrow.
I look forward to hearing from you about the issues of concern to you. Please feel free to contact me,
Sen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.gov or (608) 266-3512. If you are planning to be
in Madison, please visit, I look forward to seeing you at the Capitol.
Wisconsin: Come Smell Our Dairy Air!
In Wisconsin politics, some things simply bridge the partisan gap: the
Capitol in Madison is by far the best in the country, the Packers are
the best team in the NFL, and Wisconsin is the best place in the country
to live, work, and play. Everyone agrees, yet some people want to keep
it a secret (cars with Bears bumper stickers clogging up traffic – no
thank you). Personally, I think the proverbial cat is out of the bag.
In 2016, well over one hundred million people traveled to Wisconsin!
That’s an increase of two and a half million people from 2015, and over
15 million people from six years ago. Those one hundred and ten million
people had a $20 billion impact on the Wisconsin’s economy. That’s a
$700 million increase since 2015 and a $5.2 billion (that’s billion with
a b) increase over the past six years. Wow! Clearly they think Wisconsin
is pretty great too!
Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s great, but what do all these people and
their money do for me?” Well, it’s a boon to our state in many
different ways. More people visiting means more jobs; in 2016, roughly 1
in 12 jobs or were directly or indirectly related to tourism – nearly
200,000 men, women, and teens have jobs because of our visitors. Growing
our tourism industry has resulted in 21,500 more jobs since 2010, a
12.4% increase. Aside from the financial benefit of jobs, that’s tax
money that we as Wisconsin residents don’t have to pay – in 2016, state
and local governments benefited by about $1.5 billion. That’s roughly
$650 per Wisconsin household.
As you, my constituents know, tourism has a major impact in Senate
District 1. In 2016, the five counties in my district,
Manitowoc had about 18,000 tourism related jobs and their labor
income increased by 3.6% to $571 million. Visitors spent well over a
billion dollars in these five counties last year, again almost a 3.5%
increase from the year before.
Our Wisconsin Department of Tourism has done a terrific job at putting
taxpayer dollars to work effectively.
year, tourism generated $20 billion
from spending $17.2 million – that
return on investment is staggering!
Spending isn’t perfectly linked with revenue
otherwise we’d simply spend more to receive more.
However, I think most would agree that we're in a pretty good spot!
For comparison’s sake, our Midwest neighbors
spend the following amounts on tourism (we’re right in the middle):
Illinois $54.6 million, Michigan $29 million, Minnesota $13.9 million,
Indiana $9.1 million, and Iowa $4.4 million.
Governor Walker appreciates the magnitude
and importance of our tourism industry as well.
He held the Governor’s Conference on Tourism in March and last week, he
toured the state touting and praising our tourism industry. Much of his
praise went to our Department of Tourism. They’ve excelled at getting
Wisconsin free media; last year, thanks to more than 2,000 media
placements, Wisconsin had $80 million in free press! Free means that an
a television show
shared an activity to do in Wisconsin. Last year alone, almost 10
million users visited
an increase of 26% from 2015! That doesn’t even include the increased
traffic on Travel Wisconsin’s
I love everything about Wisconsin: our good-natured people and their
family values, our sports teams, our beautiful environment, and the
million other things that make Wisconsin home. The word about Wisconsin
is out and visitors clearly love it too. While the addition of a hundred
million plus visitors every year can make the wait a little long at our
Friday night fish fries, in the end, it’s worth the 193,500 jobs created
and the $20 billion contributed. Please welcome our guests this summer,
yes, even the Bears fans!