November 19, 2021

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Millions owed to SC taxpayers over local road fees, lawsuits contend

By RICK BRUNDRETT Nearly half of South Carolina’s 46 counties were charging annual road maintenance fees as of last December, records show, though the state’s top court earlier this year in a Greenville County case ruled that its fee was unlawful. Whether taxpayers will receive any refunds remains to be seen. Class action lawsuits seeking […]

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November 17, 2021

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Lawmakers want more control over agency head pay hikes

  By RICK BRUNDRETT Lawmakers just can’t resist trying to exert more power over another branch of government. Reps. John King, D-York; Annie McDaniel, D-Fairfield; and Wendy Brawley, D-Richland, prefiled a bill last week that would require separate majorities in the 124-member House and 46-member Senate to give final approval to any pay raises for […]

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November 10, 2021

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Revolutionary War project: 250 years later, taxpayers squeezed again?

By RICK BRUNDRETT When it comes to South Carolina history, some state officials might need a refresher course. S.C. taxpayers are on the hook for about $1.5 million this fiscal year and possibly could shell out as much as nearly $10 million in fiscal 2022-23 for a legislatively controlled committee created in 2018 to recognize […]

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November 5, 2021

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Raises continue to flow to well-paid House, Senate staffers

By RICK BRUNDRETT Another year, another round of raises for higher-paid S.C. House and Senate staffers. The Nerve’s review of chamber records provided under the state Freedom of Information Act show that over the past year, 76 House staffers making at least $50,000 received raises ranging from $1,602 to $34,857. The median increase, which represents […]

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November 3, 2021

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Lawmakers trying to shift focus away from gas-tax-hike woes?

By RICK BRUNDRETT As a special legislative panel considers a yet-to-be-revealed road funding proposal, the state Department of Transportation continues to plod along in fixing South Carolina’s bad roads and bridges while sitting on a massive reserve created with the 2017 gas-tax-hike law. Recently released DOT records show that through September, a special fund created […]

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October 29, 2021

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Taxpayer tab growing for ‘Boeing’ ag project

  By RICK BRUNDRETT Hugh Weathers, South Carolina’s agriculture commissioner, dubbed the project as the “Boeing of agriculture.” In touting the project in September 2020, Gov. Henry McMaster called it a “tremendous win for the local community and our state as a whole.” Sonny Perdue, then-President Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary, cited the project as a […]

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October 27, 2021

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Number of SC taxpayers claiming gas tax credit continues to drop

By RICK BRUNDRETT Once again, the state’s chief revenue forecasters have grossly overestimated the popularity of an income tax credit that legislators created with the 2017 gas-tax-hike law. In a Sept. 21 letter to Hartley Powell, director of the state Department of Revenue (DOR), Frank Rainwater, the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office (RFA) director, […]

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October 22, 2021

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Top court rarely disciplines judges despite numerous complaints

south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT Last week, the S.C. Supreme Court suspended Oconee County probate judge Kenneth Johns for 18 months after he formally admitted – for the second time in five years – violating ethics rules for judges. It’s not often that the state’s top court, headed by Chief Justice Donald Beatty, publicly disciplines a judge, […]

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October 20, 2021

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More secrecy on tap in upcoming PSC review?

By RICK BRUNDRETT A powerful, legislatively controlled committee is scheduled Thursday to conduct annual reviews of the seven Public Service Commission members, though if recent history is a guide, the public won’t see any final written evaluations. That’s because they haven’t been done in the past several years, despite being required by state law. The […]

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October 8, 2021

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SC judges ordering jail time in some civil cases

Jail

By RICK BRUNDRETT In a rare move last month, attorneys asked a judge to order the “civil” arrest of prominent Hampton County lawyer Alex Murdaugh to compel him to pay their clients – the sons of a Murdaugh family housekeeper who died in 2018 after a reported fall in his home – from a multimillion-dollar […]

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