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Don’t worry about Deby Snodgrass’ salary, the Tourism Department is doing a great job…

11:23 AM EST on November 19, 2013

DebySnodgrass

The piece of cheesy, trying-too-hard happiness pictured above is Deby Snodgrass. When she's not pretending to be a realtor with lipstick on her teeth, she's the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.

Deby made the news recently for receiving a $40,000 (46%) pay raise that bumped her annual salary to $126,000. The raise generated some controversy because a) most state employees haven't received pay raises since 2006, b) it was a $40,000 raise, c) it was a $40,000 raise, and d) it was a $40,000 raise. Did I mention it was a $40,000 raise? I would make an off-color "Who'd she have to _______ for that" joke, but it would be too unrealistic. Other than blackmailing your boss, having powerful friends in high places, or lying on your online dating profile, there's nothing you can do to earn a raise like that.

Snodgrass has obviously received a lot of criticism and unwanted media attention for the hefty pay increase. Therefore, it's not too surprising that the Tourism Department recently issued a press release that touts the economic impact tourism has on Oklahoma. The release lacks substance and fails to put random numbers into a meaningful perspective, but it sure draws attention away from a goddamn $40,000 a year raise. The goldfish pool that is our local media took the bait.

Via KFOR:

Report: Tourism generates $7.2 billion in Oklahoma economy, creates hundreds of jobs

While many Oklahomans may not think of the Sooner State as a tourist destination, a report from a local agency shows that visitors are responsible for generating billions of dollars in our state.

A report by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department in August shows that visitors spent 6.1 percent more in 2012 than 2011, accounting for a total of $7.2 billion.

Most of that money was spent for transportation, food, lodging and entertainment.

Experts say without tourism, the state’s unemployment rate would have been 4.3 percent higher than it was, reaching almost 9.5 percent.

Thanks for the practical information, Experts. If tourism suddenly ceases to exist, I think the unemployment rate will be the least of my concerns. I'll be more worried about the alien invasion or hiding from the random packs of cannibal gangs from the Road.

Here's an Oklahoman article via the AP:

Report: Tourism has $7.1B impact on Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A new report shows that tourism has a $7.1 billion economic impact on Oklahoma.

The report, released by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, shows that visitors spent 6.1 percent more in 2012 compared to 2011.

Payroll income in the state's tourism sectors saw a 2.2 percent increase over 2011, while employment in those sectors rose from 76,600 in 2011 to 78,200 in 2012.

Those are big fancy numbers, huh? What do they mean when compared to the 2.5% US growth rate and $1.8-trillion dollar economic impact that tourism has on the US as a whole? Considering my calculator doesn't go that high, I'll have to trust an expert:

Secretary of Tourism Deby Snodgrass said the numbers show that the tourism industry in Oklahoma is strong and continuing to grow.

If I earned her salary I'd say the same damn thing. Hell, I'd probably get greedy and try to get another raise out of it.

Anyway, instead of playing tricks on our vulnerable local media and sending out hollow press releases that don't provide any useful information or substance, maybe it's time Deby Snodgrass earns her salary and does her job. For example, what's up with that Heavener Runestone? Was it made by Vikings or the Infant Baby Jesus in Prague? Also, maybe it's time we start a fundraiser for the Mary Fallin Oklahoma Highway Patrolman Museum. With her salary, Snodgrass can make the first donation.

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