On Friday, March 9th, Myrtle Beach Public Information Officer, Mark Kruea, posted the city’s key argument for why the Tourist Tax should be renewed. He posted it on a city owned website called Myrtle Beach Point Of View.
One of Kruea’s leading and central arguments for extending the tax was the $505.46 tax credit that 17% of Myrtle Beach primary homeowners get back in taxes on a $199,000.00 home.
Market Common residents pointed out to MyrtleBeachSC.com two central flaws in Kruea’s logic.
- A homeowner must be a primary resident to take advantage of this tax credit. Residents who own a home in Market Common, but claim Pennsylvania as their primary residence, are not given a tax credit. Also, unless your primary residence is an oceanfront home, a home in the Golden Mile, Grand Dunes, or Dunes Club, the city’s TDF tax credit won’t improve your standard of living.
- The primary reason for the Tourist Tax was to grow tourism. The facts indicate the tax has not grown tourism inside the city limits of Myrtle Beach for the past three years. City of Myrtle Beach tourism numbers are falling and the type of clientele the tax is attracting has raised concerns.
One simple way to confirm those facts, beyond any doubt, would be to electronically investigate the eight years of website data that MBACC meticulously keeps. Has anyone on Myrtle Beach City Council taken the time to see those?
MyrtleBeachSC.com asked both Brad Dean and Mark Kruea for that data back on February 15, 2018 as can be seen below.
To Our City Council,
ONE MONTH – NO WORD
Brad Dean and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce are currently challenging FOIA in the S.C. Supreme Court. They are challenging as a “Friend Of The Court” in a Beaufort Chamber of Commerce FOIA lawsuit.
Listening to their side’s attorney in the video above, they clearly inform the justices that should a news group, like ours, want to FOIA the Chamber of Commerce, we simply need to ask City Council and they will provide that data.
It has been almost one month since we asked. When we made our request, we asked for a two week window, before any vote was taken so that we could make that data available to each of you.
The vote taken on March 6th in North Myrtle Beach was overwhelmingly against this tax. Insiders have informed MyrtleBeachSC.com that leaders of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber were shocked by both the high voter turnout and, also, the overwhelming lack of support for the tax. As such, residents in Myrtle Beach are now concerned that they will never be allowed to vote on this $200 million tax extension. While it is called a TDF (tourist tax), locals pay this tax too. Resident leaders are weighing an online petition to demand Myrtle Beach City Council give the voters a say in this matter.
$200 Million – So Much Money – So Little Oversight
The largest demand placed on the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce by City Council is that they spend the millions given to them. No requirements currently exist that compel MBACC to show performance goals on:
- The conversion rate on ad dollars spent versus the national average. Does City Council even know?
- The city of Myrtle Beach’s annual return on investment for dollars spent.
- The type of clients MBACC targets or any metric expectations for what type of clients the city expects. Residents who take the short drive from Market Common to the Family Kingdom on a Saturday night have raised concerns about the type of tourists MBACC is currently attracting.
- Comparisons to other nationally acclaimed brand media experts who manage Orlando, Las Vegas, and New York nationally known brands like, for example, Disney.
- A measurable Brand Story Social Media Strategy.
RECENT VIRAL VIDEO EXPOSES WEAKNESSES OF MBACC APPROACH
A recent viral video put up by local Yossi Galimidi exposed the weaknesses of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber’s Tourist Tax approach. The video has now been seen by over 102 million people. If the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber spent 29 cents on each viewer, at a total tax subsidy of $38 million paid by the city, state and county to the Chamber, MBACC would use up its entire fund for 2018 on this one video. Yossi spent only his time in putting the video up. The video tells a very negative, but incomplete story.
To date, we have heard no response concerning this video from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, yet this video will affect Summer 2018 business as much as any MBACC Tourist Tax promotional ad spend.
Brand experts say Myrtle Beach needs a daily and ongoing social brand story strategy. However, MBACC converts the tax dollars given to it by the city into private funding by driving traffic to its website – VisitMyrtleBeach.com. MBACC charges local hotels, retail and restaurants to get that traffic driven to their individual business websites. While there are absolutely no private funding dollars to be made by MBACC from a social media brand strategy, brand experts tell MyrtleBeachSC this type of brand management would serve the city best.
Myrtle Beach city residents are waiting to see if City Council will allow the TDF (Tourist Tax) to be voted on by the residents. MyrtleBeachSC.com and our viewers are waiting on the eight years of past web data from our FOIA request. State-wide residents are waiting to hear the Supreme Court’s ruling on FOIA.
Meanwhile, Brad Dean and the MBACC are waiting to see if they can quietly get ten more years of $200 million in public funding with as little oversight as possible.