IS ANOTHER “COASTAL KICKBACK” BREWING?
The “Myrtle Beach Mafia” is looking to extend a controversial “tourism tax” indefinitely – and is asking the S.C. General Assembly to exempt the city of Myrtle Beach from a state law that would phase out this infamous local levy.
Let’s hope our “Republican-controlled” legislature summons the courage to reject this tax hike … but we’re not holding our breath.
What the mafia wants, the mafia gets …
From start to finish, this “tourism tax” – which passed over our strenuous objections in 2009 and has since sucked $50 million out of the local economy - has been a case study in corruption.
First, the tax was tied to the “Coastal Kickback,” one of the most brazen pay-to-play scams South Carolina has ever seen (and the subject of an ongoing FBI/ IRS investigation). Second, the proceeds from the tax directly benefited the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce – the entity alleged to have orchestrated the pay-to-play scam. Third, the tax hike hasn’t worked – as tourism in South Carolina has yet to rebound from its 2008 peak.
On top of all that? Government shouldn’t be in the tourism promotion business in the first place.
Seriously … the tourism industry shouldn’t expect government at any level to subsidize its marketing efforts, and yet South Carolina spends tens of millions of dollars each year doing precisely that.
Anyway, we urge state lawmakers to reject any extension of this tax hike … but again, we suspect that this is fait accompli. We also suspect that