Budgets - Cuts, Spending and You

Horry County Council Budget Failures

By Paul Gable

The latest development at MBREDC indicates how casually Horry County Council approached raising taxes this year.

Jim Moore, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, resigned from that agency Monday.

Moore came to MBREDC only six months ago after the three plus year dismal reign of Brad Lofton. During the four year period represented by these two, MBREDC allegedly reorganized itself with a new approach to attracting jobs to Horry County.

Neither Moore nor Lofton was any more successful in economic development recruitment than the former iteration of MBREDC or Partners Economic Development Corporation before it.

The difference is the current four year MBREDC 2.0 has been receiving serious funding from Horry County Council, between $1.3 million to $1.8 million per year of taxpayer dollars, with little to nothing to show for it.

Think of AvCraft, Project Blue and PTR Industries as the poster children of MBREDC efforts.

Over the past five county budget cycles, MBREDC has received at least $7.5 million from Horry County Council to fund its few employees and other operational costs.

That amount approaches the $8 million Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus did not want to spend from the county’s excess reserves on the county budget beginning July 1, 2015.

Instead Lazarus pushed for the maximum tax increase allowed by state law without seriously studying how the county could have reduced its expenses. He was joined by council members Al Allen, Johnny Vaught, Gary Loftus, Bill Howard and James Frazier in this casual approach to county budgeting.

Raising taxes throughout the county by the maximum amount allowable under state law without taking at least a cursory look at cutting the funding MBREDC, a grossly overhyped but seriously underperforming agency, borders on malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance in office.

There were serious questions over the past few months about cutting the county’s $1.055 million per year funding of Coast RTA. Add next year’s $1.3 million to MBREDC and the $200k or so the county wastes each year with NESA (Northeast Strategic Alliance) and county council could have funded a serious pay raise for county employees without raising taxes one cent.

Not falling for the BS about funding MBREDC, which dates back to Tommy Rice’s short tenure as council chairman, and better decision making on funding of the above three outside agencies from which the county realizes virtually no benefit and no tax increase would have been necessary.

Instead, the tax and spend Republican Gang of Five (Lazarus, Allen, Loftus, Vaught and Howard) joined by Frazier took the easy way out and raised taxes with little to no thought.

Thanks guys, this is exactly the type of political leadership we don’t need!

Fiscal responsibility does not mean throwing tax money at every stupid idea that comes down the road, then, raising taxes when you run out!

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