Coastal Towns & County Battle over Tourism Tax: Decision by cities to change taxes would cost Horry County millions

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina -(WMBF) - Three coastal cities have taken the initial steps to stop Horry County from collecting a 1.5 percent hospitality fee from inside city limits. The hospitality fee is collected on prepared meals, admission and accommodations.

The county has collected this fee for more than 20 years and has used the countywide fee to pay off road projects planned under the initial RIDE I program.

Horry County Council member Gary Loftus said the funds have built Highway 22, Highway 31 and Robert Grissom Parkway, among others.

Horry County also collects a one percent hospitality fee from unincorporated areas. This year the county expects to generate $8 million for this fee to be used for public safety, public works services, and infrastructure impacted by tourism.

The county expects to generate more than $40 million from the countywide fee this fiscal year, according to its budget.

In July, the county council wanted to change a law to allow $18 million of the revenue collected from cities to fund public safety and to use $23 million for the construction of I-73.

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