Letters to the Editor

Myrtle Beach must rethink tourism tax - now

The 80 percent the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is receiving from the TDF (tourism tax) should be redirected to the city - where it belongs - if the plan is to renew it until 2029.

This more than $20 million annually can be used for safety and removing pollution from our beaches, via outfalls extended into the ocean. Had we not given more than $150 million over the past 10 years to the chamber, this could have already been accomplished. Then we would have had a clean beach to attract tourists, one that doesn’t get polluted when it rains.

As I have documented on numerous occasions in letters to the editor and before City Council, according to A-Tax collections, which are uniform across the state, our area has fared no better than the rest of the state. We are the only city in the state with the tax - and it is not working!

The reallocation of taxes to the city that the chamber so generously made back to us in 2014 was from the chamber’s cut of the A-Taxes, not the TDF.

Taxes are for what the public needs and can’t do alone. Taxes are not for advertising businesses, much less just businesses in a certain industry like tourism. What about manufacturing, service firms, etc.?

I have reviewed the records of TDF expenditures and saw items like “meetings” and a banner for a sports stadium in Georgia. Questionable.

The chamber is political at the national and local levels but still has much to offer its members who pay to join. I have run firms in the past that were members. But I and many others do not agree with tax money being given to the chamber for advertising.

When money is given to companies to “advertise,” does any of this make its way back to the chamber for the chamber to do with as it pleases? Board members, do you really know what your chamber is up to?

Is our media censored due to the ad money they accept? Why did a TV interviewer say to me there was a memo out that said they were not supposed to say anything bad about the chamber?

When are our city leaders going to take back their leadership role? In November, everything can change.

The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.