By Michael Gaffney
On December 13, 2018, Discover Central MA posted an article about “a number of small businesses” on Main Street claiming downtown shouldn’t look like a highway. There were five businesses mentioned. None of them were new businesses.
Considering the taxpayers of Worcester pay $500,000 per year for Discover Central MA’s services, this is rather unacceptable. The City could have run 60 second ads six times a day for the entire month of December on WTAG for a couple thousand dollars and spent the rest of the money on school books or, heaven forbid, cut the funding and slow the growth of the City’s expenses. But, there are pockets that need to be lined.
Why does the City get so little for the money it spends?
That’s where you have to weed through the shell game on funding and corporations. I went through this about two years ago, so it is time to repeat myself:
Discover Central MA is operated by the Worcester Regional Tourism and Visitors Corporation. In essence, Discover Central MA is really just another name for the Worcester Regional Tourism and Visitors Corporation (the first and second shells in the game).
The Worcester Regional Tourism and Visitors Corporation receives money directly from the Commonwealth, but for reasons that will be explained later, they refuse to receive it directly from the City.
The Worcester Regional Tourism and Visitors Corporation actually receives its money from the Worcester Chamber of Commerce (the third shell).
The Worcester Chamber of Commerce receives the money for the Worcester Regional Tourism and Visitors Corporation from the City of Worcester (the forth shell).
Why doesn’t the City just issue the money to the same entity that the state does?
Because, the Worcester Chamber of Commerce needs the revenue to survive. Tim Murray’s quarter of a million a year in salary and benefits has to come from somewhere.
It also just happens that the head of the Worcester Regional Tourism and Visitors Corporation is a Chamber employee.
Further, the contract between the Chamber and the Worcester Regional Tourism and Visitors Corporation, provides that the Worcester Regional Tourism and Visitors Corporation pay them for office space and use of equipment. Of course they likely use the state funds for the rent, because state law forbids the use of funds for travel, entertainment, and equipment. To circumvent the state law concerning the use of funds, the Worcester Regional Tourism and Visitors Corporation simply uses the funds from the City for expenses the state forbids.
So, after all the political pockets take their share, what is left from the $500,000 to actually promote Worcester’s downtown, is a lame article that I only saw because a local business sent it to me.