The legal action against the Town of Hilton Head Island regarding how bed tax revenue is distributed may be a good chance to learn the original intent of the state law that allows local governments to collect and distribute this tax on overnight lodging.
Based on all that has been written about this over the years, differences of opinion remain. Hopefully, this explanation will come from the state capital.
South Carolina may be different from most states. Most states want destination marketing activities based on business decisions, not political objectives. Around the country, state codes provide for an occupancy tax, require municipalities to use revenue to promote traveler spending by designating destination marketers to this.
Elected leaders of municipalities have fiduciary responsibilities for all tax revenue and in almost every case these councils require financial oversight by the designated marketing organization’s board of directors. These boards have travel and hospitality professionals with business experience who continuously monitor paid-staff operations. Annually, they provide an return-on-investment report to the municipalities.
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In our communities, town and county council members seem to be much more involved.