Michigan State Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) called for action on Wednesday Feb. 28 on SB 523, legislation to create the Michigan Regional Tourism and Sports Fund. The measure is expected to be up for a Senate vote tomorrow.
The legislation, if enacted, reinvests $18.4 million in existing surplus revenue into the fund through the State Convention Facilities Act.
“The reinvestment is a vehicle for the economic transformation of Michigan through the development of world-class sports and recreation facilities,” said Casperson. “Every county in Michigan would receive additional money as long as a surplus exists in the Convention Facility Development Fund,” added Casperson.
The fund grows approximately 4 percent per year, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency.
Pat Milan, chief insights officer with Tunheim, a public relations and sports marketing firm, observed there is a tremendous return on investment for the state of Michigan.
“Michigan is a premiere venue for hosting a diverse level of sporting and recreational events, enhancing Michigan’s economy and quality of life,” said Milan.
An incremental investment supports over 300 events, attracts over 1.5 million spectators, and generates over $500 million in direct spending.
“The surplus is largely derived from statewide sources and it’s only fair for the entire state of Michigan to benefit, rather than only COBO Hall in Detroit,” said Kent Wood, director of government relations for the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.