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State Visitors Centers Worried About Map Shortage

Interesting story out of La Crosse I spotted on Twitter.

A bill that would help Wisconsin’s budget issue could also result in a state map shortage.

Several state lawmakers want to pass a bill that would prohibit the state from producing free maps that are available at the state’s visitor centers for the next two years.

The department of motor vehicles issued map could still be distributed until the current supply runs out.

La Crosse officials say the free maps are very popular throughout the area’s visitor centers.

La Crosse Area Visitors Bureau Executive Director Dave Clements says, “We go through over 20,000 of those a year and so its obviously something the consumer, the visitor, the tourist is interested in having.”

So where can Visitors Centers get more maps?

Oh, I have an idea… (From September in the Journal Sentinel)

The longstanding practice of state lawmakers giving away Wisconsin highway maps to constituents at taxpayer expense has some legislators and government watchdogs calling for the handouts to be reined in because of perceived abuses.

Assembly Majority Leader Thomas Nelson (D-Kaukauna) has led the way, distributing 36,000 maps in 2007 and 2008 – more than the 30,083 total votes cast in his November 2008 election.

Nelson has handed out 76,400 maps since he came to the Assembly in 2005 – about 20,000 more maps than people in his district.

“It’s a big hit with my constituents, and it’s a service I’m happy to offer and will continue to offer,” Nelson said.

In all, lawmakers have given away nearly 1.4 million maps worth about $190,000 since 2005, state records show.

“What an egregious waste of money,” said Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay), who has distributed 2,400 maps over the five years.

Cowles said he thinks the state should stop printing maps and leave that to others instead of the Department of Transportation.

I oppose Cowles idea of making the Wisconsin DOT stop printing maps; but I do think the longstanding practice of giving state legislators as many maps as they want should end.  WisDOT could give them instead to local communities instead or just allow them to be handed out at gas stations like Packers schedules.

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