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Gov. Haley blasts 1% tourism tax during Grand Strand meeting

Published: Mar. 11, 2011 at 4:53 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 15, 2011 at 2:00 PM EDT
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SOCASTEE, SC (WMBF) - During her first town hall meeting in Horry County since taking office, Governor Nikki Haley spoke out directly on her opposition to tourism taxes like the one in Myrtle Beach.

"Please stop the penny sales tax that we're seeing across the state," shouted the Governor after taking a question from a concerned Carolina Forest resident.

The one percent tax is unique to Myrtle Beach and generates revenue for the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce to spend money marketing the Grand Strand. Since the tax began in 2009, it's estimated to have brought in several million dollars for the MBACC.

In a statement released late Thursday, the President of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce fought back:

"Until she presents us with her plan that guarantees to deliver the results we've created along the Grand Strand, we will continue to guarantee them for ourselves." said Brad Dean.

After Thursday's town hall, Haley cleared up her remarks by announcing she would not ask for a repeal of the 1% tax, instead she just wants assurances other South Carolina cities won't pursue it as a means to generate funding.

"What I want people to understand here that you can't tax your way to prosperity." said Governor Haley.

Haley is expected to return to the Grand Strand later this year to host a similar town hall meeting.

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