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Are tourism bureaus accountable?

• Jul 12, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Do local tourism bureaus violate the constitutional rights of resort and hotel owners who fund them?

That is what the Mackinac Center for Public Policy suggests in a recent blog post.

Mackinac Center writers Derk Wilcox and Anne Scheiber say “no one should tell individuals how to run their businesses or their advertising, but that is what is happening to resort and hotel owners in Northern Michigan.”

They cite the Indian River Area Tourist Bureau’s 5 percent tax on each rented room in its region, saying it violates the free speech rights of property owners like George Galbraith, the owner of The Landings on Indian River. Galbraith said he shouldn’t be forced to pay for tourism promotion that he doesn’t want.


The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation recently filed a lawsuit on Galbraith’s behalf, “arguing such regional taxes and the Michigan law authorizing the Indian River bureau are unconstitutional.” Wilcox, the center’s senior attorney, told Michigan Public Radio: “The government can’t compel you to pay for speech which you don’t agree with.”

Furthermore, Wilcox says the IRAT Bureau is not accountable and takes business’ money without providing any service.

Read the complete post: “Mackinac Center Defends Resort Owner’s Free Speech Right.”

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