I-73 is an interstate Representatives Alan Clemmons, Heather Ammons Crawford, Russel Fry, and Tim McGinnis insist Myrtle Beach needs. In fact, Horry County representative Alan Clemmons pre-filed House Bill 4745 back in November. This bill would give the State of S.C. control over the decision of who receives hospitality fees. The measure would take local funding out of the hands of Horry County and Myrtle Beach City leaders.
The bill is such bad legislation that a majority of the Horry County State delegation are unwilling to sign off on it. Meanwhile, neither Clemmons, nor his colleagues are willing to commit one penny of state monies to the Interstate. The State of S.C. rightfully refuses to pay for Clemmons’ pet project.
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune, City Manager John Pedersen, and the entire Tourism Lobby insist I-73 is an interstate Myrtle Beach must have. However, the city of Myrtle Beach sued to end the funding for the road. The formula Myrtle Beach is proposing would have Horry County residents paying a disproportionate amount to fund the road.
Every government constituency wants the road. Recent polling, however, shows that more than 50% of Horry County residents oppose the road.
The State of S.C. and the City of Myrtle Beach are working collectively to ensure Horry County residents fund their pet project.
Representative Clemmons said the money collected would go toward the construction of I-73 and then once that’s completed, the hospitality fee money would go toward any other infrastructure projects in Horry County.
But during a subcommittee hearing Wednesday, the city of Myrtle Beach issued a statement, stating that it opposes the bill and said that it gives too much power to Horry County leaders.
Several Horry County leaders oppose House Bill 4745 as well. Pro- I-73 Horry County Councilmen Dennis DiSabato, Cam Crawford and Gary Loftus had nothing to say at Wednesday’s meeting. They also made no comments to the media when the meeting ended.
Other councilman believe we should fix existing roads including Highway 9, Highway 501 and Highway 544. They say Clemmons’ bill takes away HOME RULE, allowing the State to mandate how local funds are spent.
The State of S.C. currently has a $2 billion surplus. If the State wants to demand such payments and believes the road is that necessary, shouldn’t the state simply pay for the road? Clemmons has offered no state monies to fund the interstate.
CLEMMONS AND THE TOURISM LOBBY
Clemmons wrote the legislation known as the Tourism Development Fee. The TDF currently puts $24 million annually in tax gifts directly into the City of Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. In total, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce gets $50 million annually in tax subsidies. Yet the Tourism Lobby is unwilling to spend one penny of that money on I-73.
Leaders of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber say that state law does not allow them to use the funding this way. However, Clemmons has written new legislation to force local funding for the road. Is it impossible for him to re-write his Tourism Development Fee legislation so as to fund the interstate?
Since the Tourism Lobby is the largest benefactor from the development of I-73 and since they are demanding its development, why would they not pay for it out of those funds?
MyrtleBeachSC news was informed yesterday that Speaker of the House, State Representative Jay Lucas, as well as, representatives from Charleston, Laurens, and Greenville are also concerned about Mr. Clemmons’ bill.
They say the bill sets a precedent from the State House on how county monies can and can not be spent. This mandate takes away the rights of local municipalities, transferring those rights to the State of S.C.