Senator Lindsey Graham visited the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce this morning for a business roundtable. Those in attendance included representatives from hotels, restaurants, and other small businesses primarily involved with tourism. The purpose of the meeting was to hear the Senator’s vision for Myrtle Beach and the whole state as well as the audience sharing the needs of the community with him.
The Senator stressed these three issues as being the most important to him: beach re-nourishment, I-73 and tax reform.
He stated that in order to obtain beach re-nourishment, a funding bill has to be passed. His hope is that more money is included in the budget as it’s the best investment any beach town can make.
The Senator stressed that our representatives are currently working on the FY17 budget and is optimistic that it will pass with money for our beaches. Graham does not feel the same about the FY18 budget because of the increase in military spending with drastic cuts in other areas. He further mentioned that Sequestration kicks back in. He stated that, “This is where Trump has to be Trump. Increase military but find ways not to cut everything else.”
Graham said that for 1-73 to become a reality, we need a billion dollars. He is hoping that the permitting process will happen this year from infrastructure taxes. All officials and chamber members need to get behind a new bill. If the bill comes about, it needs to set aside money for national significance which means it is on top of the list for funding.
Lastly, Graham stated that tax reform needs to come two ways. There is a need to lower tax rates which should increase revenue and thus pay for itself. He also mentioned that the Border Adjustment tax is too complicated. “One of the reasons we lose jobs is because of 35% (corporate) rate. We need to have a tax cut with infrastructure bill that will be hard to say no to.”
Senator Graham then opened up the floor for questions which focused mostly on immigration and foreign student visas. It was the consensus of the audience that there are jobs available in Horry County that go unfilled and without the visas, the tourist industry would have a hardship to fill them; there are not enough locals to meet demand. His number one goal is that no American worker will lose to a foreigner but we need to fulfill the needs of the hospitality industry.
Senator Graham shared his thoughts on how President Trump will deal with the immigration issue. He feels that the President will be fair and do what is best for our country and help certain classes of immigrants obtain legal status: secure the boarder, increase legal immigration, control jobs and have an appropriate labor supply so companies can grow.
“Trump is not flip flopping, he is adjusting. The world you run in and the world you govern is very different. I applaud his ability to adjust his policies.”