|11 18||Dunkin Named Chairman of House Tourism Committee|
CHICAGO – State Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) announced Wednesday that he will again be at the forefront of efforts to bring tourism dollars to Illinois with his reappointment as Chairman of the House Tourism and Conventions Committee. "Our state is facing a great deal of financial difficulty, which makes tourism even more important because it is a great investment that generates more tax dollars than we put in," Dunkin said. "With many people choosing to stay close to home over taking expensive vacations, we need to make sure that our tourism industry is not only working to bring in international visitors, but also not overlooking tourism opportunities in our own backyard."
In 2007, domestic and international visitors to Illinois spent a combined $29.9 billion, supporting more than 305,000 jobs. Travel-related spending in the same year generated more than $5.4 billion for federal, state and local governments, saving the average Illinois household over $1,100 in taxes each year.
As Chairman of the committee, Dunkin will play an active role in discussions with various tourism and convention boards, helping to develop legislation that maximizes the state's ability to promote itself as a major tourist destination.
In the 93rd General Assembly, Dunkin authored and passed legislation creating a 25 percent tax credit for film production companies that shoot in Illinois. Dunkin's legislation helped revived Illinois’ stagnant film industry, with a 100 percent increase in 2004 tax revenue for Illinois over 2003. In late 2008, he helped strengthen the tax credit and make it permanent. Locations for movie shoots often draw additional tourist visits.
"It is an honor to be reappointed Chair of the House Tourism Committee and I look forward to finding new ways to promote the many attractions Illinois has to offer," Dunkin said. "I also look forward to continuing my work to further stimulate tourism within our 5th District, which is home to many of Chicago’s premier sites."