Talks of 1% tax increase in North Myrtle Beach

North Myrtle Beach, SC - By Greg Argos - bio | email

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach has a 1 percent tourism tax, and now North Myrtle Beach may be the next city to enact one.

"We have got a good leadership, and I think they should look at it a little bit harder, and think it through," said Barefoot Landing resident Tom Powell, who is against the tax. "We're North Myrtle Beach. We're not Myrtle Beach."

Powell says the tax would just hurt the local economy.

"People are going to shop elsewhere so they don't have to pay a 9 percent sales tax, and that's wrong," he said.

North Myrtle Beach City Council hasn't formally discussed the plan, though Mayor Marilyn Hatley says it was brought up during March's budget retreat meeting.

Even so, Councilman Greg Duckworth says if the tax increase does go into effect, it'll be identical to the tax in Myrtle Beach.

"It would be the exact same statute that any place in South Carolina can utilize," explained Duckworth.

That means the tax would apply towards most purchases at restaurants, stores and hotels, but Duckworth doesn't think they should pass it with out residents' OK.

"This should go to a referendum in November and let the people decide," stated Duckworth.

Brent Platt, who owns Christopher's Mensware, supports the idea of a public referendum, but isn't too worried about the tax.

"I don't think it's going to make so much of a difference that'll it'll keep people from shopping," he said, noting a majority of his customers are already from the Myrtle Beach area. "I don't think they're going to pay much attention to having a 1 percent tax in my business."

However, Powell fears the opposite is true if North Myrtle Beach Council decides to follow it's neighbor's footsteps.

"I do think it'll drive people away from here," Powell said. "I'd hate to see it enacted, and I really hope the city council thinks this one through."

There is no word if or when council will formally discuss the 1 percent sales tax increase.

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