On Thursday, June 6 the Senate voted to approve its version of the state’s biennial budget, which includes a $1.5 million increase in the budget for the NH Division of Travel and Tourism Development (DTTD.)
The House of Representatives previously voted to include in its version of the budget a $3 million increase for DTTD. The $3 million increase was originally proposed by Governor Sununu, in compliance with the state statute that dictates that 3.15% of NH Rooms and Meals tax be dedicated to funding tourism promotion.
Since the statute was voted into law in 2009, DTTD’s budget has never been fully funded.
Next, the House and Senate will negotiate to approve a budget in the Committee of Conference. Is it possible that they’ll agree on a $3 million increase in DTTD’s budget?
Simon Thomson of Sheehan Phinney Capitol Group is not optimistic on that point. On behalf of the NH Travel Council, he spoke with Rep. Patricia Lovejoy, who is one of the House members on the committee of conference for the budget. She told Thomson she has made the pitch to restore the $1.5 million for DTTD the Senate cut from its budget. However, according to Thomson, “the viewpoint of most legislators is that the DTTD budget will be dramatically increased for the first time in a long time, and the Democrats have other spending priorities.”
After House and Senate pass the budget, the Governor has to sign it, or he could veto it. The state’s fiscal year ends June 30.