February 5, 2014 South Carolina Supreme Court published opinion

City of Myrtle Beach v Tourism Expenditure Review Committee

Committee objected to four grants paid by City from tourism taxes placed in the general fund without submitting them for review by an advisory board. City challenged the objection in the administrative law court which ruled the funds used were not tourism funds and sustained the challenge. The Court, 3-2, reversed. The majority held that based on the scant record before the Court, which was scant due to the City’s refusal to provide additional information, the funds were tourism funds which had been placed in the general fund and spent without going through the advisory process. As this violates the relevant statutes, South Carolina Code 6-4-10 and 6-4-25, the objection must be sustained and future tourism revenues in the same amount as the grants must be withheld from City. The dissent argued that the case should be remanded to allow the City to demonstrate through accounting and other evidence that the tourism funds were permissibly spent on municipal services identified in the statutes. It also argued the placement of the funds into the general City fund was not dispositive as the City continued to treat the tourism funds as tourism funds for accounting purposes.

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