By Paul Gable
For years, Horry County prided itself on being known as the “Independent Republic,” but now that name appears to be changing to the “Independent Socialist Republic of Horry.”
The conversion began in early 2009 when Horry County government established a monopoly on solid waste disposal in the county benefitting the government established Horry County Solid Waste Authority and seriously impacting small, private waste hauling companies and their employees.
That issue is now at the state level as legislators attempt to pass the “Business Freedom to Choose Act”, which would make illegal government monopolies in the marketplace.
The act has successfully passed the S.C. House, but appears to be bogged down in the S.C. Senate.
Horry County’s two senators, Luke Rankin and Greg Hembree, authored a letter firmly supporting a government established monopoly for waste disposal in the county.
In response, five Horry County representatives took the opposite view, supporting free market capitalism for waste disposal.
The key paragraph in the representatives’ letter stating the problem reads, “As a result of eliminating the competition, generators of C&D waste in Horry County have been forced to pay higher prices to process and dispose of their waste. The end result is higher prices for consumers. At a recent Senate hearing, a representative of the Authority admitted that the Authority has used flow control to take money out of its private competitor’s pocket, rather than its own pocket.”
Horry County government established a monopoly flow control ordinance to prevent loss of revenue to the government established, but higher priced, SWA. Greenwood County is now considering a similar ordinance.
Both ordinances force taxpayers to pay higher tipping fees to dump waste at a county ordinance mandated landfill rather than allowing waste to be disposed at the cheapest prices.
And it’s not just in waste disposal that local governments in Horry County have seen fit to interfere in the marketplace. They seem to be routinely interfering in the marketplace to pick winners and losers for the benefit of some businesses at the expense of others.
Horry County government appears to be preparing for an attempted government grab of the Carolina Southern Railroad from its private owners.
Horry County government, with public dollars, is guaranteeing a new airline against suffering losses while establishing new air routes to Myrtle Beach. Myrtle Beach city government established a sales tax to pay for the marketing budgets of hotels and restaurants.
Government ownership, government control, government subsidies, government support.
The concepts of individual freedom, democracy, capitalism and private enterprise are quickly fading from the scene as the Independent Socialist Republic of Horry emerges.
The only thing that can possibly stop this trend is for the citizens to stand up and shout ‘ENOUGH.’