The state's popular Pure Michigan tourism campaign would get a short-term boost through legislation approved Wednesday by the state Senate.
A bill approved 37-1 directs the state to add $9.5 million in use taxes to a fund for the promotion this budget year. The bill, which now advances to the House, would raise the total funding for the advertising campaign this budget year to about $15 million.
That's roughly half the level of last fiscal year. Tourism officials want more money, and Democrats argue the promotion needs at least $30 million to run a solid national campaign. But Republicans rejected an amendment that would have raised more money for the program through fees added to some rental cars.
Republican Sen. Jason Allen of Traverse City said the Senate-approved bill is a first step but work must continue on a long-term funding plan.
Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm had proposed adding a fee to rental cars at airports to raise money for the campaign in the next fiscal year. Granholm said Wednesday the campaign needs "a more robust flow of money."