SC Cuts Disabilities/HIV/AIDS Funds, Approves Possible Loan for Heritage Golf Tourney


UPDATE 6-27-2012
The Heritage Classic Foundation is asking that around $29,000 in interest owed on a loan to them by Beaufort County be waived.
Beaufort County lent the Heritage Classic Foundation $1 million for their 2011 gold tournament. The base loan was paid back ahead of time by $250,000 in September and “$750,000 on June 25th. The approximately $29,000 interest is the amount accrued for the ten month period the money was used.
The golf tournament does have a new sponsor for the 2012 event.

In the same budget that would eliminate all Department of Disabilities and Special Needs programs except for people who live in institutional settings, and earlier this month voting to cut all HIV/AIDS funding from the state budget – becoming the first state to propose elimination the entire said budget, the South Carolina House of Representatives voted 69-43 to make available a 10 million dollar loan for the PGA Heritage Golf Tournament in case they have not captured another sponsor for next year’s event. The tournament is held on Hilton Head Island each year, the week after the Masters in Augusta, and is currently sponsored by Verizon, a sponsorship that ends this year.

The loan was approved after cuts to other areas of the state budget and according to Nikki Haley, “In a budget year like this, they raided the insurance trust fund — a fund that’s meant to protect consumers after hurricanes and natural disasters — to lend money to a golf tournament. That is so far removed from what our taxpayers want,”

Several news sites reported early in March that tournament director Steve Wilmot said ” “I can assure you we’ll have an event in 2011,” In 2012, who knows? “Everything’s on the table,” Wilmot said.

According to the website, 135,000 people attend the tournament and that a 2005 Clemson Economic Impact Study said the tournament brings 84 million into SC each year. “Close to 20 million has been distributed to those in need throughout SC and GA since 1987 *(22 years)*. In 2009, 1.3 million was distributed to charitable organizations, the arts, medical institutions and for college scholarships.” “62% of spectators have an annual income over $75,000.” “Average age is 50 and 86% are college educated.

Being a curious person, I can’t help but wonder how much of the money brought in by the tournament spreads throughout the entire state, how much is of local benefit to the area where the tournament is located , how much added security etc. costs and so on with the potential loan being from all taxpayers in the state as well as any terms for setting up repayment if the loan is needed.

Hopefully a sponsor will be found and the allocated money will remain intact. Either way, I’ll express my own opinion of the House actions when I vote in the next election. I wonder if the taxpayers will be making loans to horse races, bass tournaments, and any other groups who bring tourism into SC next…….

Below are some website addresses which have further information.

2007 Tax Return for Heritage Classic Foundation
Form 990 for 2007 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax) Form 990 for 2007 (Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax) (listing of donations to charities begins on page 22)

“Department of Disabilities may lose 28% or 42 million in funding”

“Hundreds protest HIV funding cuts + video”


“Budget cuts could cost 1,000 state jobs”

More information 2005 Impact Study (was MCI classic at that time) 2006 general golf impact on SC

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