It has come to my attention that you are proposing legislation that would prevent companies that have received bailout funding from hosting, sponsoring or paying for conferences, holiday parties and entertainment events. The bill will affect any companies that have received government help under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
Meetings and events are responsible for 15 percent of all travel-related spending in the U.S., creating nearly $40 billion in tax revenue at the federal, state and local level and generating more than 1 million jobs. Industry experts project that without the jobs generated by meetings, events and incentive travel, the current unemployment rate of 7.6 percent would rise to 8.2 percent and cost the average American household an additional $136 in taxes annually.
I humbly submit to you that meetings will continue to play an integral role in the success of our country's efforts to pull ourselves out of the current economic malaise. The recent inauguration, for example, was an outstanding event that galvanized millions of our citizens to move towards a new era of hope and optimism. The congressional committee meetings that have been held to pass the recent economic stimulus package are another example of meetings that have been held to spur the economic recovery.
I would encourage you to carefully reconsider what you are proposing and to then decide to support the *business of meetings*. A million jobs in our country depend on your understanding and support!