Letter from Mark

Gov. Nixon,

I just learned from the Missouri Division of Tourism that the $1.5 million set aside for the 2009 Tour of Missouri was frozen by you. It is obvious from this decision that you do not fully understand or appreciate the economic activity and revenues that are generated by the Tour of Missouri, both directly (through hotels, car rentals, dining out, etc...) throughout the state of Missouri, and indirectly through increased international exposure for our state (both in major metropolitan areas and rural portions of Missouri).

From a purely economic perspective, it is incredibly short-sighted and foolish to withhold this money from the 2009 Tour of Missouri. Independent estimates indicate that the Tour of Missouri generates approximately $30 million dollars of activity in Missouri each year. Spending $1.5 million to create a $30 million benefit for the state is an easy decision.

From a PR standpoint it will be an absolute nightmare for the State of Missouri if the Tour of Missouri is cancelled this year as a result of your decision. Not only will Missouri businesses lose millions of dollars in revenues this year, Missouri as a destination will be marred by a large segment of the international community, a segment that does not hesitate to travel to less popular locales and spend their hard-earned money. The state’s reneging on its commitment to the Tour will also hurt other future economic development opportunities in Missouri. Regardless of the industry, as new opportunities arise businesses will be less likely to take a chance on Missouri for fear that any commitment from the state will be reneged and unfulfilled in the 11th hour. This sets a terrible economic precedent, which will impact us for years – certainly for the remainder of your tenure in office.

I voted for you in the last election and am absolutely dumbfounded that you do not see the value or importance of this international event being held in our state. Rest assured you will not get my vote in the next election if this money is not restored or your office does not make alternate arrangements, which would sustain the Tour's existence, in the place of state appropriations. I am not a single issue voter, but this particular issue says a great deal about broader issues such as: (1) your ability, or lack thereof, to see the bigger picture in a given situation from an economic and/or cultural perspective (with a tight budget it's much easier to cut something like this rather than some other program or expenditure that might create more backlash in the short-term even though this has higher long-term value for the state), (2) the value you place on the state keeping its prior commitments, and (3) your commitment to foster economic development across the ENTIRE state rather than just in St. Louis or Jefferson City.

I implore you to make the right decision and restore the funding for the Tour of Missouri right away.

Kind regards,
Mark from Liberty, MO

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