Many NMB residents opposed to tourism tax

North Myrtle Beach tourism officials want to pass a new penny sales tax to promote tourism, but many of the city's residents are against the idea.

The tax, if passed, would would mirror the one passed by Myrtle Beach more than a year ago.

The city's chamber of commerce is the one really pushing the tourism development tax, which is still in the early stages. At a meeting Tuesday night, about 75 curious residents turned out to voice their opposition.

"I oppose this tax ... it's a bad time for so many people," said North Myrtle Beach resident Ed Vaitis.

The North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce commissioned a study a few months ago and found that a new one-cent-per-dollar sales tax could generate about $4.6 million a year. Chamber officials say 80% of that would come from tourists.

The money generated would be used by the chamber for out-of-market tourism promotion, just like Myrtle Beach's chamber is doing. North Myrtle Beach City Council hasn't taken any action yet and won't do so until asked by the chamber.

A major selling point to this new tax is that it would mean property tax rollbacks for people with owner-occupied residences. That was the one point pushed hardest by Myrtle Beach when it passed the tax about a year ago.

The chamber will hold another meeting on Thursday at the Lakeside Conference Center at Barefoot Resort from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

After Thursday's meeting, the chamber could then ask city council to hold a workshop on the idea. So this tax is still months from implementation, if it's passed at all.