Tourism budgeted for $13 million, received $13.9 million, yet "can't afford" Tour of Missouri

Tour of Missouri near the State Capitol in Jefferson City
Tour of Missouri near the State Capitol in Jefferson City
Tourism officials, including Katie Steele Danner, Director of Tourism, have repeatedly stated that the Division of Tourism just doesn't have enough money to fund the Tour of Missouri this year--despite the greatly reduced amount requested for the Tour this year, the specific appropriation for the Tour recently passed by the Missouri General Assembly, and the recent request by the chairs of the House Budget and Senate Appropriations Committee for the Division of Tourism to support the 2010 Tour.

In fact, Tourism's budget was cut dramatically--by about 1/3, from $20.5 in fiscal year 2010 to $13.9 million in fiscal year 2011.

Now information has come to light that the Division of Tourism has in fact received more state funding for fiscal year 2011 than they were planning on.

MoBikeFed recently issued a Sunshine Law request for minutes of the Tourism Commission. 

The minutes for November 10th, 2009, Tourism Commission meeting state:

Division staff prepared a preliminary budget with three budget scenarios -- funding at $16 million, $13 million and $11 million.  

In the final 2011 fiscal year budget as approved by the General Assembly the Division of Tourism's budget was $13.9 million.

So that leaves us with these facts:

  • Tourism's budget has been cut, but actually came in close to a million dollars higher than their middle estimate

  • Tourism's budget was cut by about 1/3--but the Tour of Missouri has been included in Tourism's budget before, and the proposal approved by the General Assembly for the Tour's funding this year also had a large budget cut of 1/3 built into it. ($1 million this year vs $1.5 million in previous years.)

  • Perhaps given Tourism's serious budget situation, the budget for the Tour of Missouri could have been cut even more--but when neither the Governor's office nor the Tourism Commission will sit down and meet with Tour organizers, that discussion cannot even be held.

  • Our goal and the state goal of Tourism officials is a far greater proportion of private funding and smaller proportion of Tourism funding for the Tour of Missouri.

    The difference is, Tourism officials are professing to support the Tour while expecting it to go from three straight years of $1.5 million funding from Tourism, to $0 funding, instantly.

    The Tour of Missouri board has a realistic business plan to ramp down funding for the Tour over a period of years--starting with a 33% cut this year--while still delivering a high-level international event, bringing the same high-level teams and bringing the same level of international attention to the event, and creating the same economic impact as previous years.

Additional info: Division of Tourism budget & expenditures for FY 2010 [Excel file].  (Note that FY 2010 is still open--it runs through June 30th.)

Ask Governor Nixon and the Missouri Divison of Tourism to release the money that the General Assembly has approved for the Tour.

Division of Tourism: 573-751-3051, FAX 573-751-5160, tourism@ded.mo.gov
Governor's Office: 573-751-3222 or 
online contact form.