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OPINION: Bill looks to drop tourism tax

Tourism revenue has a significant impact on our state by providing employment and supporting businesses, along with many quality-of-life programs in South Dakota. The benefits trickle down to all of us in many ways.

Here are some statistics you may find of interest:

• 13.9 million visitors came to SD in 2017 which was an increase over 2016.

• Spending reached $3.9 billion, an increase over 2016.

• Visitor spending contributed $2.6 billion in Gross Domestic Product to our economy, up over 3.2 percent from 2016,

• Tourism supported more than 53,900 jobs, an increase over 2016, or 8.9 percent of all jobs in SD.

• Tourism activity generated $291 million in state and local tax revenues which saved each SD household $871 in taxes.

• For every $1 Department of Tourism spent on marketing, the return was $51 in spending.

This information came from the SD Department of Tourism.

HB 1206 will be heard in committee this week. Its intent is to drop the tourism tax from 1.5 percent back to 1 percent. The effects would be far-reaching. Many of you have contacted me already and I will be working hard to defeat this bill.

Stay in touch! This week marks the halfway point. At least that means we're halfway through winter too, I hope!