Lasee's Notes
 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, Brown, Calumet, Door, Kewaunee, and 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.  Last 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 out-of-state newspaper or a television show shared an activity to do in Wisconsin. Last year alone, almost 10 million users visited TravelWisconsin.com, an increase of 26% from 2015! That doesn’t even include the increased traffic on Travel Wisconsin’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat.

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!



 
 

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State Capitol Room 316S- PO Box 7882, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-3512
Email: Sen.Lasee@legis.wisconsin.gov