If you live in New York, you're probably familiar with this popular “I love NY” campaign.
But it's the tag on the back of the "swag" that caught the eye of New Windsor resident Colin Schmitt.
"If you stop at any of the state rest stops, you’ll actually see most of the material is made in either China, Taiwan, Dominican Republic,” Schmitt said. “… These are some of the countries where the goods representing ‘I love NY’ are being made."
Schmitt, who serves in the Army National Guard, is exploring a run for a seat in the New York State Assembly.
He says the merchandise should benefit the New York economy.
“‘I love NY’ should be made in New York. And we have so many great businesses across the state of New York who can produce T-shirts, who can produce pens, who can produce bumper stickers and magnets," Schmitt said.
Some people FiOS1 News spoke to were surprised to find out where the merchandise is actually being made. Others, not so much. But everyone we spoke to seemed to agree on one thing:
"It's supposed to be made in New York if it says ‘I love NY’ … not made in China."
"I know it's cheaper, but you're kind of still going against the point. ‘I love NY’ … New York is great. Why wouldn't you want that to be in the New York economy?"
According to New York Department of Economic Development, which benefits from the money generated by the sales of the "I love NY" merchandise, last year the state committed $50 million to promote tourism.
Schmitt says the state licenses out the production of the promotional merchandise.
We reached out to the state for comment, and the Empire State Development Agency released this statement saying:
“As of 2015, nearly half the licensees in the I LOVE NEW YORK licensing program were based in New York State. That being said, I LOVE NEW YORK is a global brand with licensees all over the world helping to build awareness of New York State as a world-class travel destination. Empire State Development is always mindful of promoting I LOVE NEW YORK in a manner that best highlights New York State. We encourage but do not require New York State-sourced merchandise because the licensee is best qualified to make their own business decisions.”