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More state payments to consultants discovered

April 24, 2017

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Research authority is paying political operative more than 850K By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ The South Carolina Research Authority, chartered by the state in 1983 to “foster and enrich South Carolina’s innovation economy,” has paid political consultant Bob McAlister at least $855,500 since 2011. The payments are all to McAlister’s firm, McAlister Communications, most in consistent monthly amounts […]

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

April 21, 2017

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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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Preschool program pays consultant hefty fees

April 11, 2017

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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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Some lawmakers want to bottle up competition

April 7, 2017

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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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More money for more roads might be bad

April 6, 2017

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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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See no evil

April 3, 2017

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  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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Wealthier, more connected counties get big road projects

March 27, 2017

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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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Fresh ammo arrives for gas-tax advocates

March 22, 2017

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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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When rules become Swiss cheese

March 17, 2017

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By PHILLIP CEASE Only some restrooms need apply There’s another bathroom bill in the legislature this year, but this one only deals with stadiums. H. 3792, which passed the House unanimously by a vote of 101-0, carves out an exemption in the building code for bathrooms in middle and high school stadiums. In an Associated Press […]

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Are the roads really crumbling?

March 16, 2017

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By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ Some data say SC’s, like the nation’s, aren’t that bad “The state’s crumbling road system” — that phrase and its variants seem to be uttered almost nonstop in South Carolina as the General Assembly mulls the latest gas-tax increase legislation. South Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall has been outspoken, saying […]

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