Comparing Our Marketing Bills

In today’s Albuquerque Journal journalist Colleen Heild (subscription) summarizes Bill’s $3 millon marketing campaign for the state. She makes the following statement:
“The $3 million to be spent in the first year under the new contract pales in comparison to what some states spend on such promotions. Texas, for example, planned to spend nearly $14 million on domestic advertising while Arizona budgeted $8.5 million last fiscal year, according to the Travel Industry Association of America.”
Journalists (and even some economists) need to do a better job of interpreting such figures rather than taking them at face value. The three states are not alike. The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates NM’s 2004 population at 1,903,000; Texas at 22,490,000 and Arizona at 5,744,000.
That means NM’s planned expenditure is roughly 6.5% higher per capita than Arizona’s last expenditure this year. And NM’s planned expenditure is a whopping 153% higher per capita than Texas.
Guess who is going to get the Bill for this marketing? (Hint: It won’t be Bill.) Will Bill’s spending binge never end?
Update 7/25/05: If we calculate the Bill based on personal income in each state, we find that NM’s planned expenditure will take some 18 percent more of personal income than Arizona’s last year expenditure. And we find that NM’s planned expenditure will take some 186 percent more of personal income than Texas’s planned expenditure.