December 6, 2019

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Trick plays? How job estimates have grown with the Panthers’ planned SC move

By RICK BRUNDRETT The Carolina Panthers’ planned move of its headquarters and training facilities to Rock Hill is part of a larger effort to create 7,000 jobs with an average annual salary of $60,000 – as claimed in a state application for a federal grant to build an interstate interchange that would benefit the NFL […]

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December 5, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: Poor transparency for federal funds in the state budget

Federal Spending South Carolina

A recent Pew Research Center report showed that federal dollars comprised roughly a third of states’ overall revenue in fiscal year 2017. This is precisely what the South Carolina Policy Council, The Nerve’s parent organization, has shown in budget reports year after year, but federal funds receive almost zero attention in the budget process, are […]

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December 4, 2019

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Relatively little gas-tax-hike money spent on major road-rebuilding projects

By RICK BRUNDRETT Last week, the S.C. Department of Transportation announced that it had completed rebuilding a nine-mile stretch of Interstate 85 in Spartanburg County. Yet as of Oct. 31, DOT had completed just 17% of the total estimated cost of other identified “pavements” projects in the county with gas-tax-hike revenues, newly released agency records […]

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November 26, 2019

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S.C. Legislature secretive when it comes to chamber spending plans

By RICK BRUNDRETT At least 100 state agencies have filed budget requests for the next fiscal year that begins July 1, online records show. But the S.C. House and Senate aren’t among them – despite a longstanding state law requiring all agencies to annually file budget requests with the governor by Nov 1. Both the […]

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November 22, 2019

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Plenty of pork in proposed state agency budgets for 2020-21

By RICK BRUNDRETT With $1.8 billion more in projected general funds in the state budget for next fiscal year, state agencies are hoping to fulfill their growing wish lists. Their taxpayer-funded requests collectively include millions for such things as promoting private sporting events, businesses and products, along with potentially generous handouts to select companies. Consider […]

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November 21, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: Lawmakers control the energy monopoly, not the PSC

House-committee-room-e1503690091195

In a greatly anticipated decision regarding the future of solar energy in South Carolina, the Public Service Commission (the state’s utility regulators) favored the two investor-owned utilities – Duke Power and Dominion Energy – at the expense of small solar companies, according to solar advocates. The question before the PSC was essentially how much large […]

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November 20, 2019

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SCDOT still sitting on huge gas-tax-hike surpluses; few major projects completed

By RICK BRUNDRETT For the fiscal year that starts next July 1, the state Department of Transportation wants renewed authority to spend surplus money – at least that’s what the agency requested as part of its proposed 2020-21 budget. As of June 30 of this year, the department had $1 billion in “other” fund reserves, […]

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November 15, 2019

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Ties to lawmakers present in judicial screening hearings; records kept secret

south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT As a sitting S.C. Supreme Court justice, George James is first up Monday in a series of screening hearings by a legislatively controlled panel that will determine whether he and other lower-court judges will be nominated for election in the General Assembly. James, who is seeking his first full 10-year term on […]

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November 14, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: Harrell’s Indictments – What They Didn’t Include

Gavel on Money

Five years ago last month, former S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell pleaded guilty to six counts of misuse of campaign funds, and agreed to resign his speakership and House seat. According to the Richland County indictments, Harrell, who received three years’ probation, claimed campaign-fund reimbursements for legislative travel in his private airplane, though some of […]

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November 13, 2019

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S.C. lawmakers spending campaign funds on favorite charities, other ‘gifts’

state house

By RICK BRUNDRETT During this year’s legislative session, S.C. Sen. Hugh Leatherman spent a total of $14,769 for constituent “gifts” through ChemArt, a Rhode Island-based ornament company, plus another collective $1,364 for constituent meals at the upscale Palmetto Club near the State House – all paid for with campaign funds, records show. The Florence County […]

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