Gov. Jay Nixon announced today he has released $2 million in funding for the Missouri Division of Tourism, which will be used to enhance the state’s tourism efforts and continue moving the state’s economy forward. With the release of this restriction, funding for tourism will have increased by more than $6.2 million for this fiscal year.

“With the wide variety of attractions Missouri offers to visitors from across the country and around the world, tourism continues to generate a tremendous amount of benefit to our state’s economy,” the governor said in a new release. “This funding will help maintain tourism’s vital role in our economic engine.”

Tracy Kimberlin, president/CEO of the Convention & Visitors Bureau, said that’s good news for the state and Springfield.

“The state’s fiscal year ends June 30. Releasing the $2 million now allows the Division of Tourism some time to determine how to best use the funds to increase travel to Missouri before the traditional spring advertising campaign begins” said Kimberlin.

The governor also announced a one-percent pay raise for Missouri state employees that will go into effect Jan. 1. The pay raise was appropriated in the FY2015 budget to begin on Jan. 1 but had been restricted over budget concerns.

He also is restricting $1.8 million of the $4.2 million available for state capitol repairs, and another $4 million from a facilities maintenance fund to be used for state building repairs and renovation. Those projects would instead be included in the governor’s recently proposed bond issuance, which has been met with bi-partisan support from the General Assembly.