MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Following the decision from voters in North Myrtle Beach to deny a one percent sales tax, Myrtle Beach leaders are proposing reasons the city needs to renew its current tax.
In a blog post on the city’s website, city leaders say Myrtle Beach’s Tourism Development Fee (TDF) “provides the largest municipal property tax credit in South Carolina” with owner-occupied homes with city limits receiving an 82 percent credit on their property taxes.
The one-percent sales tax was initiated in Myrtle Beach in 2009 when the General Assembly approved options for implementing the tax. The tax requires that 80 percent of revenue is spent marketing Myrtle Beach to out-of-state areas and the other 20 percent is used toward property tax credits and “tourism-related capital projects.”
Unlike North Myrtle Beach, however, leaders in Myrtle Beach did not take the one-percent sales tax increase to the residents. Myrtle Beach City Council voted in 2009 to implement the tax. Residents of the city did not vote on the tax.
In an Aug. 2009 interview, Myrtle Beach spokesperson Mark Kruea explained, “Myrtle Beach has stepped up to the plate by approving this tax, because we are doing something that will benefit the whole Grand Strand, not just the city of Myrtle Beach.”
Information on the city’s website posted Thursday, just two days after North Myrtle Beach residents said “no” to the tax, Myrtle Beach leaders say the TDF has a three-fold goal:
- First and foremost, to provide out-of-market advertising dollars that allow Myrtle Beach (and the Grand Strand) to compete with other coastal destinations, increase visitorship and boost the local economy;
- Second, to provide a property tax credit for owner-occupied homes; and
- Third, to provide funds for tourism-related capital improvement projects that will, in turn, draw more visitors and benefit the local economy.
The post gives an example for an owner-occupied home tax assessment, explaining that a home appraised at $199,000 receives a tax credit of $505 from the TDF. The post does not comment on the savings for those who live, work, shop or have children in Myrtle Beach area schools but live outside the city limits.
When the tax was implemented in 2009, it was set into place for 10 years. As the city approaches the expiration date of the one-percent tax, leaders say the tax needs to be renewed because “local residents and businesses are better off financially thanks to the TDF.”
“The City of Myrtle Beach believes that our brand is stronger thanks to the additional advertising and increased visitorship provided by the Tourism Development Fee,” the post reads. “Further, the city believes that resident property owners are pleased with the 82 percent property tax credit they receive from the Tourism Development Fee. Property owners likely would not appreciate an effective tax increase of 550 percent if the Tourism Development Fee is not renewed in a timely manner.”
The post did not say when council would take up the matter of renewing the TDF.