No Tax Referendums for Horry County

By Paul Gable

Horry County voters will have no advisory referendums on the November 2014 general election ballot asking for additional taxes to be levied on county residents.

Last week it looked as if Horry County voters would get to register their advice on whether to raise millage to help fund the Waccamaw Center for Mental Health services.

The Waccamaw Center for Mental Health is a state designated agency that is underfunded by the General Assembly.

According to several sources, Horry County Council chairman Mark Lazarus is reluctant to ask the voters of Horry County to step in and fund what the state should be funding.

A referendum proposed last spring to add additional funding for the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation will also not find its way to voters in the fall.

Initially, the EDC proposed being added to the list of RIDE III projects. When it became apparent that a RIDE III referendum would not make it to the November ballot, there was talk of having a stand-alone referendum for EDC funding.

However, with less than stellar job creation numbers over the last three plus years (approximately 550 jobs in 39 months when 500 were promised in the first 18 months), the EDC needs to demonstrate that it can create new jobs in Horry County before additional funding for spec buildings and land purchases are allowed.

If you build it, they will come is not a formula for job creation and the expense of public dollars for this purpose is even worse.

If the EDC is truly to be a public-private partnership as it likes to claim, let the private sector step up and, at least, be an equal partner. So far, that has not happened.


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