"That $1 million a year is certainly a high price," Wells said. "I'd like to see what that return is."
Wells said the proposed $552,000 cut in Tourism's advertising budget, from $3 million to about $2.5 million this coming year, is shortsighted, particularly with the need to increase promotional efforts in light of negative national publicity surrounding the recent water contamination crisis.
"If you look at the nine counties affected by the water situation, it probably is prudent to have more advertising," he said.
Burdette, however, said the only other way for Tourism to absorb a mandated 7.5 percent budget cut would have been to lay off employees.
Tourism Commissioner Betty Carver said the division concentrates state tourism advertising on markets in neighboring states, particularly the Washington, D.C., northern Virginia and Baltimore areas.
Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.