Merging economic development, tourism departments called ‘dumb’ |

Merging economic development, tourism departments called ‘dumb’

CARSON CITY ” Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki has told state lawmakers that he’s against a proposal by Gov. Jim Gibbons to merge the Nevada Commission on Economic Development and the state Commission on Tourism.

Krolicki says, “This merger makes little sense, in fact makes harmful sense,” adding that the two commissions have “different missions” and the proposal would diminish the missions of both. He says economic development and tourism are Nevada’s “bread and butter.”

Lawmakers said they were concerned that the merger would dilute both agencies’ ability to help recruit business and create jobs in the state. Assemblywoman Kathy McClain summed it up: “This proposed merger … sounds kind of dumb to me.”

Nevada earns more of its money from tourism than any other state, and about 13.9 percent of Nevada’s earning comes from tourism, said Betty “B” Gorman, Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce president. She attended the Nevada Tourism Summit.

The next closest state is Wyoming with 4.1 percent, and only 2.6 percent of California’s earnings come from tourism, Gorman said.

Carol Chaplin, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority executive director, attended the summit and the legislature session and said she was encouraged by lawmakers’ response.

“They understand the issue,” Chaplin said. “It’s refreshing and positive because they understand that it’s the right thing to maintain, and the consequences if they don’t.”

Regardless of what happens, Chaplin said the legislature won’t take action until June, so the issue needs to be kept at the forefront.

” Tribune staff writer Sara Thompson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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