Animals – Will Entertain For Budget Money

The governor has said repeatedly that we're all in this together and everyone will have to sacrifice, but does that mean iguanas, owls and penguins too? 
The state’s budget crisis is hitting everywhere and budget cuts are necessary, Gov. M. Jodi Rell said, but some of those cuts will hurt deeply because they will reduce crucial tourism dollars, advocates of the tourism industry said Tuesday.
State lawmakers and tourism officials said the $10 million dollar annual tourism budget should not be cut because the industry brings millions of dollars into the state every year, provides more than 170,000 and is the only industry in some parts of the state.
A news conference in Hartford looked like its own animal-laden tourist attraction, complete with an iguana from the Bearsdley Zoo in Bridgeport, a barred owl from the Sharon Audubon Center and an African penguin from the Mystic Aquarium.
While none of them could actually advocate for funding, their message was clear. They’re animals, they’re cute, they are a draw from tourists, and they bring in the cash. 
Rell will not release details of her budget, which will undoubtedly include budget cuts and union concession, until Feb. 4.
If any state agency or commission can maintain its current budget without cuts, that would be a major achievement.

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