Tag: road funding

Dark Money Attacks Benton in District 33 Senate Race

Dark money has made its way into the SC Senate District 33 race with attack ads on challenger Autry Benton.
This is not an unexpected development as incumbent Senator Luke Rankin appears to be struggling to gain traction with his message for reelection to voters.
Our American Century PAC raised its head in Horry County again by paying for negative tv ads against Rankin’s opponent, Autry Benton, which began this past week.
There were two points the ads attempted to attack Benton on – PPP money and a contract that Benton’s business, Benton Concrete, had with the City of Conway.
As far as PPP money goes, the Rankin & Rankin Law Firm also received PPP money from the federal program to aid businesses through the Covid Pandemic. The amount of money businesses received was determined by a formula connected to number of employees and payroll.

Rankin Mailer Filled with Political Speak

Every election season, voters are inundated with mailers, television and radio ads and pronouncements on social media about the qualities of candidates and the alleged successes of incumbents.
South Carolina law only requires two things on these various campaign missives to be truthful – who paid for the ad, mailer, etc. and the mailing address of the paying person or entity. The remainder can be filled with “political speak” which does not have to bear any resemblance to the facts.
This week voters in SC Senate District 33 received a mailer from incumbent Sen. Luke Rankin extolling how Rankin had “delivered” for the citizens of his district. But, in its search for “deliveries”, the Rankin piece went down “roads” traveled by many other people.
Under the heading of “Infrastructure Enhancements”, the mailer claims Rankin “led the charge to fund $1.8 billion in Horry Co. road improvements, with $4 billion more to come in the next 5 years – paid overwhelmingly by our 14 million annual tourists.”
click on headline above to read more

Myrtle Beach’s Problem with the Truth about I-73 Funding

Myrtle Beach city government just can’t keep itself from spinning stories in an attempt to make itself look good while hiding the truth from the public.

The following post, which appeared on the city government Facebook page yesterday, is a perfect example of the city’s spin:

“The City of Myrtle Beach supports I-73…

“The Myrtle Beach City Council is on the record as supporting I-73. Twice in the past year, City Council has approved resolutions expressing its support for I-73. In April 2019, Council publicly stated that it would devote financial resources to I-73 once the Hospitality Fee issue was resolved. Myrtle Beach has demonstrated its commitment to I-73. Question: Has the Horry County Council voted publicly to support I-73?”

The day Myrtle Beach filed suit against Horry County to stop countywide collection of the 1.5% Hospitality Fee, the local revenue stream for funding I-73 dried up.

The above post says in April 2019 Myrtle Beach city council approved a resolution expressing support for I-73. The resolution was passed after city council refused a settlement offer for the Hospitality Fee lawsuit from county council that provided funding for I-73.

The county’s settlement offer would have designated one-third of the revenue from countywide collection of the 1.5% Hospitality Fee to fund I-73 with the remaining two-thirds of the revenue collected within the city limits being transferred back to the city for use as city council determined.

The following is an extract from a letter Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune wrote to county Chairman Johnny Gardner rejecting the settlement offer:

“Thank you for your letter of April 3. As you are aware, the Myrtle Beach City Council has expressed its willingness to commit support for the I-73 project. However, since the proposed funding source is the subject of litigation, we are unable to engage in negotiations under the terms described in your letter and related attachments.

Casino Gambling and the Grand Strand

With another apparent demise of a gas tax bill in the SC Senate, the Grand Strand and casino gambling are again being talked about as a way to fund road maintenance around the state.

The desire for casino gambling has never left the minds of certain players along the Grand Strand.

In 2009, this group put its initial support behind Gresham Barrett in the governor’s race. Remember the $85,000 funneled to Barrett that was part of Coastal Kickback?

But Barrett lost to Nikki Haley and talk of casino gambling faded into the background.

Despite the fact that what we are hearing most about is another casino gambling bill being pushed by House Democratic leader Todd Rutherford, it only takes the signature of the governor on a compact with a Native American tribe to bring casino gambling into the state.

Neither the General Assembly nor local governments are part of the approval process, if this route is taken.

However, local governments would be important in the zoning and permitting processes and the General Assembly could be involved if gaming commission regulation was part of the compact deal and if the tax revenue is actually going to be dedicated to road funding.

A source within the local real estate industry told GSD last week that a land deal for a Grand Strand casino had been signed, but we have been unable to confirm with a second source to date.

Discussions between representatives of several tribes, potential developers and local and state elected officials are known to have been conducted several years ago.

Bureaucracy to prevail at expense of the taxpayer

SC General Assembly Shortcomings

The SC General Assembly won’t be messing with county governments this week because it is on vacation.

However, when the legislators return next week, roads and the local government fund will be tops on the list of issues to be discussed.

As they are currently being handled in Columbia, both issues do nothing more than transfer funding problems to county governments.

Road Funding Plans Due in S.C. General Assembly Today

Competing road funding plans are expected to be introduced in the S.C. General Assembly today.

The plans, authored by a S.C. House ad hoc committee and by Gov. Nikki Haley, respectively, each attempt to address fixes for South Carolina’s crumbling road infrastructure.

The main difference in the plans is funding mechanisms. Haley’s plan calls for a 10 cent rise in the state gas tax spread over three years, while calling for a 2 percent reduction in state income tax over 10 years.

Searching for South Carolina Road Funding

The message seems to have finally gotten through to Columbia that South Carolina roads are in generally poor condition.

However, how to fix the problem, or more specifically how to fund the fix, elicits differing solutions but no consensus to date.

Gov. Nikki Haley has promised to unveil her “magic” road maintenance funding plan in January. So far, she has promised to not raise the gas tax and to veto any legislation doing so.