SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California Gov. Gray Davis pledged his support for continued funding of the California Tourism Department, which is threatened with a cut of its $7.3 million annual allocation because of the state's projected $17 billion budget shortfall.

Davis said the funding more than pays for itself in creating jobs and supporting an industry that generates $4.8 billion to the state's economy.

The $7.3 million in annual funding is augmented by about $6 million in annual assessments paid by the state's largest travel companies under a program run by the California Travel and Tourism Commission.

The commission, made up of representatives from several different segments of the industry, directs the state's marketing and promotion efforts, which are currently featuring the tag line "California: Find Yourself Here."

The state's efforts after Sept. 11 included an $8.5 million emergency TV advertising campaign, partially bankrolled by federal funds, that featured actors Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicholson.

The next campaign, $900,000 in TV advertising with a character named "Doug" visiting famous attractions, will run in May and June in drive-in markets of Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Phoenix; and Las Vegas, Caroline Beteta, executive director of the California Travel and Tourism Commission, said.

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