The Myrtle Beach City Council race candidate filings were completed yesterday for the November 5th election.
Of the seven candidates who filed, three are incumbents Phil Render, Mary Jeffcoat, and Mike Chestnut. Combined these three candidates have served over 30 years in elected office. In those 30 years, Myrtle Beach went from being the envy of the S.C. coast to trailing every other city on the Grand Strand in practically every key metric.
ECONOMIC – BRAND STAGNATION
No one in our area denies Myrtle Beach currently suffers from economic and brand stagnation. The question is why?
The American economy is booming nationally. The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber collects over $55 million annually in taxes to bring new tourists to our area.
Why are the cities of North Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach, and Pawleys Island outperforming Myrtle Beach in every key economic metric?
COULD IT BE HOW MYRTLE BEACH GOVERNS?
Everyone assumes the form of government Myrtle Beach leverages is a crony model of one of the below.
NO FREE MARKETS INSIDE CITY
In actuality, none of the above describes how Myrtle Beach City Government operates.
In an early August 2019 poll taken by our news team, 83% of our readers agreed the City of Myrtle Beach is collusive and corrupt.
BUT WHAT KIND OF ECONOMY IS IT?
WHY A COMMAND ECONOMY HAS NOT WORKED?
Residents have debated whether Myrtle Beach features Crony Capitalism, Crony Socialism or Crony Fascism in its operating model.
Economists actually call the system used by the city a “Command Economy.” A command economy is a top down, centralized cliquish economy where private/public partnerships always win at the expense of everyone else.
COMMAND ECONOMY – FROM THE MANY TO THE FEW
Former city and county elected leaders, including former Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes and Former County Councilman Mark Lazarus, applauded how the Command Economy system works well in China. Both visited China in attracting the now failing Founders Group International Chinese golf course investors Yiquian Funding. Both Lazarus and Rhodes are no longer in office.
By overtaxing downtown merchants and individual “out of market”condo owners (who rent their condos through city-colluded property managers to tourists), the City of Myrtle Beach has all but killed investment downtown.
The city is now doubling down on more “government offered” tax payer financed buildings, historic tax credits and opportunity zone tax credits to encourage new investments.
Doubling down on increased big government efforts to spur investment is not working, however. The city still has over 120 empty storefronts, among the most of any city in S.C.
It is the cliquish and highly controlled insider command economy that scares away free market investors. Couple that with city government and their colluded private partners wanting to specifically hand pick and limit investors and there you have it.
WHY WOULD RESIDENTS CONTINUE TO VOTE FOR THIS?
Many tourists ask us, why do you keep electing the same failed candidates?
RESIDENTS IN ON THE DEAL
City government was smart enough to get residents in on the deal with real estate tax credits. These credits are paid by tourists and “out of the area” oceanfront condo investors.
During these Fall elections, residents will hear incumbents Render, Jeffcoat and Chestnut bragging about real estate tax credits given to local homeowners.
This socialistic model of having investors and tourists pay city resident real estate taxes is why many call the city’s economy crony socialism.
A tightly controlled command economy, however, is actually the model that best describes the past 30 years.
HOUSE OF CARDS
The entire model is actually a house of cards. Without tourists and investors the model implodes onto itself. One devastating hurricane, several down tourist cycles and there are no future funds to pay for government and the real estate “give aways” promised to local residents.
It may take another decade of poor tourist performance for the system to entirely fail, but it is failing now and will certainly continue.
Since 2017, Myrtle Beach has experienced 3 successive tourism seasons of steadily declining numbers.
Despite the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation’s (DRC) claims of exciting, new future investors in the downtown, the city’s big government approach is unlikely to make that a reality, unless the command economy model is abandoned entirely.