March 25, 2020

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How S.C. lawmakers increase their odds of staying in power

state house

By RICK BRUNDRETT Every 10 years, S.C. lawmakers re-exert their authority to draw legislative and congressional district lines based on updated population counts – a typically convoluted process aimed at protecting incumbents. While the 2020 U.S. Census is underway, state lawmakers quietly are planning to initially spend as much as $2 million on the “reapportionment” […]

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March 20, 2020

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Hard road: A South Carolina couple’s ordeal after hitting a pothole

By RICK BRUNDRETT It was supposed to be a routine trip home. Phyllis Elliott and her husband, Cecil, had visited their daughter in Rock Hill last Sept. 8, and were heading back to their Lancaster home that Sunday night when their 2010 Buick LaCrosse she was driving struck a large pothole as she was turning […]

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March 17, 2020

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S.C. lawmakers pressed to find money for coronavirus response

By RICK BRUNDRETT When lawmakers return this week to debate how to pay for the state’s emergency coronavirus response, they will have to decide where exactly to get the money. In a letter Thursday to House and Senate leaders, Gov. Henry McMaster requested that lawmakers provide the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) […]

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March 13, 2020

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Will Year 2 of gas tax credit be as unpopular as the first?

By RICK BRUNDRETT A state agency is again predicting that S.C. taxpayers will claim the maximum-allowed amount of income tax credits to offset the gas tax hike, though the first official estimate was way off the mark. For last year’s income tax filings, the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs (RFA) Office projected that a total […]

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March 12, 2020

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Throwback Thursday: How lawmakers camouflage how much they actually spend

SC budget process

Anyone following the progress and coverage of the state budget this week could easily gain the impression that the S.C. House passed a $10 billion budget. That’s because lawmakers debated only one-third of the funds appropriated in the budget bill – the $9.5 billion general fund, generated by taxes. What lawmakers didn’t debate is the […]

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March 10, 2020

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Lawmakers continue to push their pet projects – at taxpayer expense

By RICK BRUNDRETT In debating next fiscal year’s state budget, House members could decide this week whether to funnel $23 million through the state’s tourism department and nearly $2 million through the S.C. State Museum for projects or programs that neither agency formally requested, records show. Most of those funding requests are included on an […]

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March 6, 2020

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Governor, House want SC taxpayers to eat plenty of pork in fiscal ’21

By RICK BRUNDRETT Buried in the latest $32.3 billion state spending plan for next fiscal year is a $19 million expenditure for a proposed downtown Greenville convention center, and another $7.5 million to renovate the Sumter Opera House. The total $26.5 million – which is larger than the overall proposed fiscal 2020-21 budgets of at […]

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March 5, 2020

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Throwback Thursday: How state lawmakers participate in excessive federal spending

South Carolina budget

In a supreme twist of irony, this week lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee voted for a resolution calling for a U.S. constitutional convention to address the federal government’s excessive spending, and next week they will vote on the largest budget in state history – which includes more than $9 billion in federal dollars. It […]

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March 4, 2020

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SC Commerce still hiding the Juuls

By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Commerce won’t reveal the average wage of workers at the new Juul electronic-cigarette assembly facility in Lexington County, though a $500,000 state grant was approved last year for the project. But Lexington County provided the average annual wage of the promised 520 jobs – $43,407, increasing to a […]

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February 28, 2020

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Lawmakers ignoring $500M piggy bank to fix SC’s bad roads

By RICK BRUNDRETT While House budget writers have designated an extra $100 million next fiscal year for paving rural roads statewide, the S.C. Department of Transportation is sitting on a separate surplus of more than a half-billion dollars, newly released DOT records show. As of Jan. 31, a special fund created with the state gas-tax-hike […]

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