Of course a longer summer benefits businesses in Ocean City, but it also benefits the tourism industry at large, which in turn benefits the people of Maryland. Tourism isn't limited only to Ocean City. From the majestic mountains of Garrett County to the historic towns of Southern Maryland to the countless cultural and educational attractions right here in Baltimore, tourism drives economic growth in every corner of our great state. Tourism is the 10th largest private sector employer in the state, directly responsible for over 140,000 jobs and nearly $5 billion in wages. Often times, the industry provides those new to the workforce with entry level opportunities that can grow into long, lucrative, and extremely fulfilling careers. But the industry isn't just large hotels, attractions, and restaurants. It's also hundreds of small businesses, from gift shops to guide services. Visitors to our state spend over $15 billion each year, resulting in over $2 billion in state and local tax revenues. The truth is, if all the tax revenue generated by the tourism industry suddenly disappeared, every Maryland family would have to pay an additional $1,010 in taxes to make up the difference. According to the comptroller's office, a later school start will spur an additional $74.3 million of direct economic activity. That's good news, especially on the same day The Sun reported that the state's revenue collection is down $250 million from last year's estimates. Increased economic activity and the tax revenues that come along with it will help pay for state wide improvements in infrastructure, public safety and, yes, education, including expanded summer enrichment programs. These are important priorities for all Marylanders, including those of us in the tourism community.