Senior Citizens & Tourism

Tom knows that we owe it to our seniors to help make sure they can enjoy their golden years in comfort and economic security. As governor, he will promote wellness efforts to help seniors and adults with disabilities receive home health assistance for as long as possible if they so choose. And Tom will fight for SeniorCare to make sure our seniors can get access to the affordable prescription medication they need.

Tom will crack down on the criminals who target Wisconsin seniors with security fraud scams, and he will continuously look for innovative solutions that protect seniors’ retirement savings and other financial assets.

Supporting Wisconsin’s Veterans

Wisconsin is home to over 400,000 veterans and nearly 30,000 brave Wisconsin men and women have served in the American operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When Wisconsin service members return home from duty or retire from the armed services, Tom understands that it is our solemn responsibility to ensure that we have tools and the resources necessary to support their continued service or transition to civilian status.

As governor, the Wisconsin National Guard will have the proper equipment, tools, training and support needed for responses to state emergencies or deployment in service of our nation. And Tom will make sure Wisconsin always treats its proud veteran sons and daughters with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Tom Barrett on Wisconsin’s tourism industry:

I have seen Wisconsin’s enormous potential to draw visitors from all over the world. Tourism has been a traditionally strong industry in our state, and I believe that we need to recommit to its ongoing success,” said Barrett. “As governor, I will revitalize Wisconsin’s tourism industry, leading to job creation and increased income for small business owners across the state.

The success of the tourism industry will be a major factor in Wisconsin’s economic recovery. With about 98% of the employers in Wisconsin classified as small businesses, an increase in visitors spending money at local restaurants, shops, museums and hotels would provide enormous benefits. Furthermore, Wisconsin is well-situated to capitalize on its premiere location between the large metropolitan areas of Chicago and the Twin Cities. In order to truly boost the number of people vacationing in our state, Wisconsin must continue to draw visitors from these high-population areas.

Tom’s plan to bolster Wisconsin tourism has three basic components:

Commit to Marketing Wisconsin

Support for a strong state tourism marketing campaign has historically been the most effective way to attract people to Wisconsin. However, Wisconsin’s commitment to tourism has slid in recent years. The 2010 tourism promotion budget was decreased by 17%. In 2009, the promotional investment for Wisconsin tourism remained flat.

As Governor, Tom will partner with industry leaders to assure that, even in tough budget times, the state and the industry can jointly find the resources to support a marketing campaign to compete.

The state of Michigan, for example, earned national recognition for its ‘Pure Michigan’ marketing campaign that brought 680,000 new visitors and $250 million in spending to that state.

Take 2 on Wisconsin

To generate the resources to invest in tourism without raising taxes, Tom proposes a new innovative idea called ‘Take 2 on Wisconsin.’ This initiative waives all tourist-related permits and registrations for two weekends per year – once during summer vacation and another over the winter months.

This will provide an open and appealing invitation to visit our great state and enjoy some of the best fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities available in the entire Midwest at a reduced cost. There is always something to do in Wisconsin, and once tourists get a taste of what it’s like to visit our state, they will be coming back time and time again.

Over these ‘Take 2’ weekends, the increased number of visitors will result in higher revenues in sales and hospitality taxes. This revenue would be re-invested in promoting tourism, giving Wisconsin a long-term plan to attract tourists and the revenue they bring into our state. Over time, this will add to Wisconsin’s efforts to position ourselves as a top travel hot-spot.

Recommit Hospitality Tax Revenue to Wisconsin Tourism

The hospitality tax should be used for its intended purpose – to further promote Wisconsin’s localities as top tourist destinations for visitors from around the world. Like what happens too often in Madison, this revenue has been used to fill budget gaps instead of reinvesting in local tourism.

Hospitality revenue dedicated to boosting tourism is a much more sustainable long-term plan, and will work to ensure that these revenues are used appropriately.

Our state, with its unique attractions and beautiful landscape, has always been an incredible getaway for visitors from around the world. As governor, the Department of Tourism will be emphasized as an economic development investment and jobs creator.

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