Lawmakers push for statewide tourism program

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) _ Lawmakers are looking to boost tourism in Washington state.

After eliminating the state tourism office in 2011, the Legislature is considering creating a Washington Tourism Marketing Authority to fund and manage resources throughout the state. The authority made, up of tourism industry officials and legislators, is expected to deposit $5 million into its account every two-year state budget cycle by diverting a tenth of a percent of retail taxes from lodging, rental cars and restaurants.

The plan could offer a maximum of $15 million per biennium to be spent on tourism across the entire state.

A public hearing is scheduled for a Senate Bill Thursday morning. The House Bill has been referred to the Appropriations Committee.

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