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Slow Beach day
Slow Saturday Beach Day June 4, 2016

Leaders Ponder Slow Season & Tourist Taxes

Slow Beach day
Slow Saturday Beach Day June 4, 2016

 

Local merchants, including those at the downtown Walmart,  told us business slower than normal first week of Summer 2016.

Tourism lobby nervous about Summer 2016  numbers.

On Friday,  Mayor John Rhodes spoke publicly  about a new $300 million tourist tax  city council is scheduled to pass this month by  2/3rds majority vote.

The bill’s sponsor,  District 33 Senator Luke Rankin,  has been quiet about the legislation.  A referendum option on the bill, which would have allowed voters to decide on the tax, has been rejected by local leaders.

Mayor John Rhodes told the Sun News Newspaper that putting the question to the voters would be taking “a gamble.”  “If we put it up for a referendum vote, it was going to take an awful lot of campaigning to educate people on how taxes are reduced and what would happen if they didn’t vote yes,”  Rhodes stated.

Upset that they were given no voice  in this new $300 million tourist tax, local residents  put a petition up online in protest.  Here are just a few comments we read from that petition:

 Let Us Vote
MyrtleBeachSC.com reached out to both incumbent Luke Rankin,  the sponsor of the new tax,  and his opponent for Sentate District 33 Scott Pyle for their comments.   These two square off in a Repbulican primary this June 14th.

 

Rankin promised us a statement in writing by Friday,  June 3rd.  We never received that statement.    Scott Pyle commented on the tax on his Scott Pyle For Senate Campaign Page.

 

Cody Adams, of the Scott Pyle for Senate Campaign  told us, “While Scott has no issues with the tax itself,  he does believe in transparency and that the voters should have a say in this matter. District 33 voters want to believe that their Senator is willing to include them in the process.  Voters have had six years to evaluate the performance of this tax.  Scott believes they certainly should have a say in whether they do or don’t want this tax extended.

 

FARMERS FOR LUKE RANKIN?
At a “Scott Pyle For Senate Rally” held  on Friday,  the tourism lobby trucked in more than a dozen farm protesters on farm tractors.   Governor Haley recently vetoed a $40 million S.C. farm bill.   However, as MyrtleBeachSC.com is not aware of any  farms in Myrtle Beach district 33,  we chose not to give this group  air time.   MyrtleBeachSC.com believes staged protests (like these)  are just the type of photo ops voters have grown tired of.

 

One local Rankin supporter also sent out thousands of letters and emails to local voters concerning candidate Pyle.

 

Rankin Activist Jimmy Gerald
Local activist Jimmy Gerald mailed thousands of attack letters on Rankin opponent

 

The tourism lobby had big wins this week with a $300 million tourist tax extension.  Mayor Rhodes promised the tourism lobby he would not put the matter before Myrtle Beach voters.  However,  an industry facing minimum wage jobs, poor beach water quality, a looming recession,  and high downtown crime rates waits nervously to see if this new tax frightens away  even more tourists.

As to Myrtle Beach’s ongoing poor water quality issues, elevated bacteria levels this  first week of June caused Myrtle Beach No Swim Advisories to be  posted by DHEC.  These beach bacteria warnings were reported by: The Myrtle Beach Sun News, WMBFnews Myrtle Beach,  Wilmington NC’s Star News Online, The Charleston Post and Courier,  and MyrtleBeachSC.com.

 

 

 

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About David Hucks

Born in 1961, David is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at MyrtleBeachSC.com

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