Statewide Tourism Facilities Fund
Mr. Tarr moved that the bill be amended by inserting at the end thereof the following section:-
“SECTION __. There shall be authorized and setup on the books of the Commonwealth a Tourism Facilities Fund, the purpose of which shall be to provide grants, loans and guarantees for the planning, design and construction, maintenance and repair of buildings, equipment and technology for the purpose of promoting the tourism industry of the Commonwealth, including the management and education of visitors. Items eligible for assistance from the fund shall include, but not be limited to, visitors and welcome centers, information booths and kiosks, signs, billboards that provide guidance, education or interpretation, and electronic displays or equipment.
The fund shall be administered by the Secretary of Administration and Finance in consultation with the Office of Travel and Tourism, provided that the secretary shall develop a system of annual disbursements from the fund to eligible municipalities, regional tourism councils, chambers of commerce and non-profit entities engaged in the promotion and management of tourism in the Commonwealth. Said system shall provide for a comprehensive plan of investment throughout the Commonwealth, with equitable distribution among regions and municipalities and market sectors; provided further that it may require a match of funds or in-kind services or other value for funds received from the system.
The Secretary shall report not later than December 31 of each year on the activity of the fund, the items receiving assistance from the fund, and the economic impact of such activity. Said report shall be posted electronically in an easily accessible and searchable format and filed with the clerks of the house and senate, the senate and house committees on ways and means, and the joint committee on tourism.”
SECTION __. To meet the expenditures necessary to carry out the provisions of section __, the state treasurer, upon request of the governor, may issue and sell bonds of the commonwealth in an amount to be specified by the governor, from time to time, not exceeding, in the aggregate, $25,000,000. All such bonds issued by the commonwealth shall be designated on their face Tourism Facilities Improvement Act of 2014, and shall be issued for a maximum term of years, not exceeding 25 years, as the governor may recommend to the general court pursuant to section 3 of Article LXII of the Amendments to the Constitution. The bonds shall be payable no later than June 30, 2043. All interest and payments on account of principal on these obligations shall be payable from revenues generated from the hotel occupancy tax established by section 3 of chapter 64G, except for the portion designated to the Tourism Fund established pursuant to section 35J of chapter 10. Bonds and interest theron issued pursuant to this section shall, notwithstanding any other provision of this act, be general obligations of the commonwealth.
Said fund shall be initially capitalized from bonds in an amount not less than $25,000,000 million over a period of not less than three years, provided that additional funding beyond that period shall be subject to appropriation from the proceeds of the hotel occupancy tax which is in excess of the amounts necessary to fund debt service and the funding of the Tourism Fund established pursuant to section 35J of chapter 10.