September 9, 2020

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SC motorists paying more taxes at the pump, still seeing slow results

By RICK BRUNDRETT Motorists in South Carolina are now paying 8 cents more per gallon since the state gas-tax-hike law took effect in July 2017 – and will face another collective 4-cent increase over the next two years. But repairs to the state’s pothole-riddled roads still have been moving at a slow pace. Newly released […]

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September 3, 2020

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As South Carolinians’ income shrinks, state agency surpluses grow

By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Commerce started fiscal 2021 with a $103.1 million general-fund surplus – more than double its reserves from a year ago. The S.C. House of Representatives had a $23.7 million surplus as of July 1 for its 124-member chamber – nearly $1 million more than its entire budget, records […]

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August 27, 2020

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Lawmakers routinely tap campaign funds for ‘other’ expenses

By RICK BRUNDRETT Politicians typically spend campaign funds on things like signs, billboards, TV, radio or internet advertising. But S.C. lawmakers often use their campaign money for other expenses, including out-of-state trips, donations to their favorite charities, membership dues, or gifts to their staffs and constituents. And it’s all legal – at least according to […]

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August 20, 2020

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COVID-19 not threatening high S.C. university salaries

University of South Carolina

By RICK BRUNDRETT As University of South Carolina and Clemson University students return to in-person or online classes amid the coronavirus spread, what remains constant at the state’s two largest colleges is the growing number of well-paid employees. As of July 7, the 48,000-student USC, which has eight campuses statewide, had 1,193 employees earning at […]

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August 13, 2020

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Gas-tax-hike law at 3 years: Completed jobs still lag way behind collections

By RICK BRUNDRETT In the first three years of the gas-tax-hike law, the state collected more than $1.3 billion in revenues – enough to pay for almost all of the identified road and bridge projects statewide – yet is sitting on nearly half of the money, newly released records show. As of June 30, the […]

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August 5, 2020

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Governor punts health-related powers to Commerce – again

  By RICK BRUNDRETT Gov. Henry McMaster has once again granted the S.C. Department of Commerce – which isn’t a public health agency – the power to make health-related decisions in response to the coronavirus outbreak in the state. Last week, McMaster announced that “gatherings,” defined in his executive order as a “planned or spontaneous […]

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July 29, 2020

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Taxpayer-funded gifts to Panthers grow with planned SC move

By RICK BRUNDRETT If only the Carolina Panthers could win as easily as it gets taxpayer money. Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) was awarded a nearly $34.6 million “Infrastructure for Rebuilding America” (INFRA) federal grant to build a new interchange on Interstate 77 near the […]

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July 23, 2020

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Covid fallout: Taxpayer-funded SC nonprofits get forgivable fed loans

By RICK BRUNDRETT Some nonprofit organizations in South Carolina that already receive significant public funding have been awarded forgivable federal loans of at least $150,000 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, records show. The intent of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is to help small businesses pay […]

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July 8, 2020

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Politicians’ promises don’t reflect written incentives deals

By RICK BRUNDRETT       S.C. politicians routinely love to make promises about massive corporate investment and multitudes of new jobs in the Palmetto State. But the secretly crafted written agreements offering taxpayer-backed incentives in exchange for those promised jobs and investment often don’t live up to the official hype. Last month, The Nerve detailed how for […]

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July 1, 2020

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Fourth of July in SC: fireworks, barbecues – and potholes

By RICK BRUNDRETT As residents and tourists hit South Carolina roads this July 4th holiday weekend, they will contend with plenty of potholes and higher state gasoline taxes. Meanwhile, newly released records show that the S.C. Department of Transportation – the agency tasked with fixing pothole-riddled, state-maintained roads, continues to sit on massive reserves – […]

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