April 21, 2017

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On the gas-tax hike, lawmakers have ‘the best words’

senate

As the Senate debates, reason flies out the window By HANNAH HILL The state Senate began debating the gas-tax hike (their version of the bill is a straight-up tax hike of 12 cents a gallon) this week. Whenever large groups of politicians talk for long periods of time, you hear some real gems. Here are […]

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April 18, 2017

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The threat to motorists’ safety isn’t roads

Please stay on the line if you want to make driving dangerous By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ In the seemingly interminable debate about funding for roads in South Carolina, with the latest gas-tax hike up for floor debate today in the state Senate, we’re often told that billions of dollars must be taxed or borrowed, and spent, […]

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April 14, 2017

28 Comments

Representative seeks to soak water customers

This legislative interference never ends By HANNAH HILL An interesting bill was filed in the House last week. H.4091 would abolish the five-member board of the Pioneer Rural Water District (currently elected by its customers) and replace it with a seven-member board selected by the Oconee and Anderson County legislative delegations. At the end of […]

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April 11, 2017

12 Comments

Preschool program pays consultant hefty fees

Bob McAlister cleared more than 350k from SC First Steps By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness, an early-childhood development program funded by the state, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a prominent political consultant over the last several years, according to documents obtained from the state Department of Education. Between […]

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April 7, 2017

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Some lawmakers want to bottle up competition

Sneak attack on liquor stores pops up in budget By PHILLIP CEASE Yesterday, during the budget debate, the Senate took up an interesting piece of legislation. Amendment 39 would require any retail liquor dealer that wanted more than three stores to pay a fee “equal to the average gross sales” for each of the retailer’s […]

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April 6, 2017

4 Comments

More money for more roads might be bad

Road Work

We’re up against human nature By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ Several recent studies suggest that what seems to be true for South Carolina is true of all the states’ road systems: They’re not falling apart. What’s more, repaving roads and building new ones is not a good way to address at least some roadway deaths. Both conclusions […]

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April 3, 2017

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See no evil

  These ethics bodies just aren’t working – and we have proof By PHILLIP CEASE Last week the House approved the first round of nominees for the state’s new Ethics Commission. On Wednesday, Senator John Courson appeared before a judge to post bond dealing with criminal ethics-violation charges. These two events, which happened within hours of each other, are […]

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March 27, 2017

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Wealthier, more connected counties get big road projects

By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ Bank spending in well-worn groove Billions of dollars flow through South Carolina every year, to contractors and others, for roads and other infrastructure projects. The money comes from three pots, essentially: funds sent from the General Assembly through the state Department of Transportation; federal dollars channeled through SCDOT; and money, usually borrowed, […]

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March 24, 2017

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Is there pork on your fork?

By ELISABETH PARKER Sneaky provisos come out, come out Each year the legislature passes provisos within the appropriations bill: one-year laws that sunset with each year’s budget and may not go against a law. They give legislators an easy way to pass pork or ill-advised public policy without much scrutiny. One proviso that has reappeared […]

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March 22, 2017

80 Comments

Fresh ammo arrives for gas-tax advocates

road construction ahead

By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ   Construction advocates bring convenient report Another player emerged yesterday in the debate on a gas-tax increase: TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based, nonprofit transportation research organization. The group released a report detailing ways in which South Carolina motorists lose $5.4 billion a year, as much as $1,850 per driver, it maintains, due to roads […]

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