Home / Featured / Will City Council Study 8 Years Of Web Data Before Extending The Tourist Tax For 10 More Years?
Myrtle Beach City Council group shot
MBACC has eight years of past web data which will clearly show if the tax works

Will City Council Study 8 Years Of Web Data Before Extending The Tourist Tax For 10 More Years?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Tuvia Wilkes
Mark Kruea (back center at wall) Watches As City Merchant Addresses Council

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.

Myrtle Beach SC News …..@myrtlebeachsc.com

Feb 15

to gsmithPhilipmchestnutMaryjvereenmlowderJohnMarkbrad.deanAlanLuke 

To Our City Council,

On behalf of the residents who follow our news site,  I wish to express our appreciation for the recent, positive changes we are witnessing in our city, especially in the areas of accountability and transparency.
I also wish to express our condolences to Mayor Bethune during this time of loss.  She leads us well.
We did send the below FOIA request to Brad Dean of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.  In their arguments to the S.C. Supreme Court on FOIA,  S.C. Chambers said we would be able to attain such information from our City Councilmen.  PLEASE SEE THOSE REMARKS BEFORE THE SC SUPREME COURT IN THE VIDEO HERE.
Raw Data
We are requesting the raw analytics data from whatever analytics package MBACC uses.  It would not be responsible for a firm, such as MBACC, to have anything less than a high powered analytics package when spending $200 million in TDF tax monies.  As SCPRT has questioned MBACC‘s tourism numbers with a variance of 10 million fewer annual visitors than what MBACC claims for Horry County,  we do not wish to get MBACC numbers from abstracts the Chamber might compile or present themselves.   In holding MBACC accountable, we feel it is imperative for our council to be well aware of what analytics package MBACC uses and the ongoing raw data from this package as well.
HISTORIC $200 MILLION VOTE
As we approach considerations to this historic $200 million, ten year tax vote extension in MBACC subsidies, we ask that you assist our team in getting this information to us at the soonest.  Our readers will want to discern for themselves the measure to which this tax subsidy is working.
 If MBACC is using an analytics package,  electronically this is a simple matter of an export/import operation that can be done electronically with relative ease and a few mouse clicks.
Finally, as to the numbers from the Pay Per Click generator,  to be clear,  we are asking for the number of clicks out and not a dollar amount.  We are not asking how much in general funding MBACC was able to convert by re-selling our tax funded ad expenditures from this previous $200 million tax subsidy.  If any of you are unclear how MBACC re-sells the tax subsidies we give them,  please see that here.   All re-sales of this tax subsidy to private businesses falls in the purview of General Funding for MBACC, which does create a gray area as to transparency.  I believe, however, that our city council should have a firm grasp on how MBACC operates on both sides of this ledger, so as to be accountable to national and local taxpayers who fund this subsidy.
MyrtleBeachSC.com holds that these statistical numbers were purchased with tax payer dollars,  and, as such,  we request the below as soon as possible. We ask that you please provide the below well before this historic vote so our local readers can be on top of this issue.  (We ask a two week window, if possible)

Kindly,

David Hucks

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.

No Tourist Tax
North Myrtle Beach Residents Vote Down Tourist Tax 3050 No  188 Yes

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:

  1. The conversion rate on ad dollars spent versus the national average.   Does City Council even know?
  2. The city of Myrtle Beach’s annual return on investment for dollars spent.
  3. 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.
  4. Comparisons to other nationally acclaimed brand media experts who manage Orlando, Las Vegas, and New York nationally known brands like, for example, Disney.
  5. 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.

HEAR THESE NATIONAL EXPERTS TELL  WHY THIS STRATEGY WORKS BEST HERE

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.

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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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