Myrtle Beach mayoral candidate Mark McBride is criticizing the way tourism tax funds are spent.
He said he wants to take money away from the chamber of commerce and give it to the city to pay for more public safety resources.
Right now 80 percent of tourism tax dollars go to the chamber, and 20 percent to the city. Earlier this summer, city council members discussed changing that ratio to 70/30.
McBride says that money should be reallocated all together.
“Voting for Mark McBride is 100 new officers on the streets in 2018,” he told News13 Monday. But under his current plan to do that, he’d have to change state law.
McBride wants to take tourism development funds from the chamber to pay for more boots on the ground. “The easiest, cleanest way is to take a pot of money that is being misappropriated right now and change the use and use it for public safety.”
We asked McBride if he’s reached out to any state legislators about his plan. “Senator Goldfinch was receptive, he was interested,” McBride said Monday.
But that’s not what Goldfinch said when we reached out to him Monday. ”It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to reallocate that money,” he said in a phone interview.
Goldfinch said he’s “very supportive” of the chamber’s efforts and thinks the city can find the money elsewhere.
“They can probably find that money to come up with additional public safety without us reallocating from the very important marketing efforts that the chamber does– to bring in that money that is really Horry County and Myrtle Beach’s life blood.”
When News13 asked McBride’s response to this, he replied: “I’ll go to the governor and I’ll go to the other senators throughout the state that are involved in leadership positions.”
News13 also reached out to Senator Luke Rankin and Representative Alan Clemmons by phone and email, but so far we’ve not heard back.
In July, Mayor John Rhodes said he wants city leaders to come up with a detailed plan to spend the additional tax revenue.