COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - A proposal to allow well-regulated, upscale casinos in the Myrtle Beach area and use the tax revenue to fix poor roads and bridges across the state of South Carolina has been suggested.
House Minority Leader Representative J. Todd Rutherford (D-Columbia) announced Wednesday in a press release his plans to introduce the idea to legislation in 2015.
On the June 10 primary ballot, 80 percent of Democratic voters supported the idea of modernizing the state's gaming laws to fund road repairs instead of raising taxes, according to the press release.
"Governor Haley doesn't have a plan to fix our roads. She's against everything and for nothing. That kind of stubbornness won't fill our potholes, widen I-26, or create I-73. It's time to get serious about how we're going to pay for these repairs and Governor Haley's mystical 'money tree' is not a serious plan," Rep. Rutherford said. "Allowing well-regulated, upscale casinos in the Myrtle Beach area would create a new annual multi-billion dollar revenue stream that will allow us to fix our state's crumbling roads, create thousands of good jobs, and keep taxes low. House Democrats will continue to push for innovative solutions to the problems Governor Haley and her Tea Party allies have created and now refuse to address," he added.
Rutherford stated that voters are taxed enough already and this proposal provides an alternative to a gas tax increase.
However, a Statehouse Representative is not in favor of the idea.
State Rep. Alan Clemmons (R – Horry County) opposes the idea "to turn [Myrtle Beach] into a gambling casino capital." Rep. Clemmons said Rep. Rutherford's idea isn't the first time it has been proposed.
"Every season, a Democrat proposes to enrich the state by turning Myrtle Beach into Atlantic City," Clemmons said. "Myrtle Beach and Horry County already produce more revenue per capita, statewide, than any other county," he added.
Rep. Clemmons said he believes the state has been good about stepping up to the plate to support our tourism efforts.
"You don't have to go any further than Atlantic City to see what [casinos] have done to a beachfront community - leading the area into a deeper and deeper recession. Myrtle Beach is a family beach, its trade and reputation is built upon that," Clemmons responded.
"To turn it into a gambling casino capital would be an abrupt departure from what Myrtle Beach has been and what it takes pride in being," he said.