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State to spend less on tourism, will restore matching program

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy has since confirmed that matching funds will be included in the budget for 2011-2012.

Senator Little notes that maintaining funding for tourism marketing benefits New York state.

"I think that tourism is something we need to invest in," she said. "It does a lot for our economy and we're dependent upon it in many ways. As tough as things are and as much as we're making cutbacks, you need to continue working to create jobs and business and improve our economy - that's something that tourism does."

Still, McKenna notes that over the years, funding for the I Love New York marketing program has taken repeated hits.

"That's outreach marketing around the country and also in Europe and we're not sure where that's going," he said. "But as far as the matching program is concerned, we're happy about that."

Meanwhile, Senator Little hopes the state will be able to reopen the Gateway Welcome Information Centers in Beekmantown and Binghamton.

Both facilities were closed late last year as a result of the state's ongoing fiscal crisis.

"It's all about first impressions, and when you're driving into the Adirondacks and see that a welcome center is closed - well, that is not a good first impression," Little said.

McKenna agrees, noting that the Beekmantown welcome center serves as a gateway to travelers from Canada.

Gov. Cuomo wants lawmakers to pass a budget by April 1.

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