NEW YORK (MainStreet) One could suppose it is just another example of American state sponsored capitalism. It will follow in the footsteps of such other great "government sponsored enterprises" or private sector/public sector partnerships like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Post Office, Amtrak or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
It too will become part of the Leviathan.
Its name is BrandUSA.
Originally incorporated in November 2010 as the Corporation for Travel Promotion a nonprofit corporation in Washington, D.C., it is a creature created by the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. It is subject to the Department of Commerce. One year later, in November 2011, the organization changed its name to BrandUSA.
The Secretary of Commerce appoints a board of 11 directors to govern BrandUSA. The directors come from both the private and public sector travel and tourism areas.
According to the law that established it, the enterprise endeavors to "develop and execute a plan to provide information to those interested in traveling to the United States; identify and address perceptions regarding U.S. entry policies; promote the United States to world travelers; and identify opportunities to promote tourism to rural and urban areas equally."
The federal government also requires annual objectives for each fiscal year. These objectives are to be approved by the Secretary of Commerce, Homeland Security and State. also must develop a marketing plan and budget each fiscal year.
But only expenditures over $5 million require an explanation. Funds initially came from a Travel Promotion Fund at the U.S. Treasury. Money from the Treasury, up to $10 million, came fees collected by the Immigration and Nationality Act.
For 2011, the Corporation must provide matching amounts from non-Federal sources equal to 50% or more of the amount transferred to the Fund. For subsequent years, the Corporation will receive an amount equal to the amount collected from non-Federal sources, not to exceed $100 million.
Section 9 (e) of the bill requires the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish and begin collection of a fee under the Immigration and Nationality Act no later than 6 months after the date of enactment of the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. The initial fee will be $10 per travel authorization in addition to an amount that will recover the full costs of administering the system. The $10 fee will be credited to the Fund.
Section 9 (f) allows the Corporation to assess members of the international travel and tourism industry for sums up to $20 million by referendum and sue in Federal Court to compel compliance.
--Written by Michael P. Tremoglie for MainStreet