March 13, 2019

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House members push pet projects through taxpayer-funded earmarks

By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. Reps. Bruce Bannister and Dwight Loftis want $5 million in state funding to help build a convention center in downtown Greenville that Bannister says would house a large art collection that had been displayed at the private Bob Jones University. Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, who has donated to the nonprofit South Carolina […]

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March 8, 2019

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Tens of thousands of potholes filled – or just funny numbers?

By RICK BRUNDRETT If you ask the S.C. Department of Transportation how many potholes it fills statewide, all the agency can do is give estimates. DOT says it patched an estimated 57,300 potholes statewide from Jan. 10 to Feb. 19 at a total cost of $3.6 million, the agency told The Nerve on Thursday in […]

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March 7, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: Selling lawmakers’ economic development piggybank

Santee Cooper

Lawmakers have now created two separate committees to explore the sale of state-owned utility Santee Cooper. One of those committees (formed by the Senate) met last Tuesday and requested to spend roughly $193,000 to gather more information before taking official action. In light of this reluctance to move toward a sale, it’s important to remember […]

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March 6, 2019

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Lawmakers usually find it easy getting other government gigs

By RICK BRUNDRETT Ex-S.C. Rep. Mike Pitts’ decision this week to drop his quest to become the next director of the state land preservation agency is a rarity compared to the steady stream of former lawmakers who glided into high-paying government jobs. The Laurens County Republican, who last year was the House Ethics Committee chairman […]

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March 2, 2019

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Ex-lawmakers continue to cash in on their legislative time

By RICK BRUNDRETT Over the years, lawmakers have legally made it easy for themselves to continue making money after leaving office through their connections in the Legislature and elsewhere in state and local government. Under state law, for example, legislators can become lobbyists just a year after leaving office. In recent years, at least four […]

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February 28, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: the legal budget process (and how lawmakers violate it)

SC budget process

In the next couple of weeks, the House will “debate” the budget passed last week by the Ways and Means Committee, so it’s a good time to remind everyone that this is not the way the budget is supposed to come together. Last fall, the SCPC research team shared a detailed overview of what state […]

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February 27, 2019

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Patched potholes: SCDOT estimates numbers, concedes temporary fix

By RICK BRUNDRETT State Department of Transportation work crews patched about 43,000 potholes statewide from Jan. 10 to Feb. 3 during the agency’s heavily promoted “Pothole Blitz,” DOT head Christy Hall proudly reported last week. “So a significant amount of work was done by our team,” Hall told DOT commissioners during Thursday’s commission meeting, adding, […]

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February 21, 2019

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High-paid lobbyists pushing SCRA legislation

By RICK BRUNDRETT In 2016, Senate Finance Committee chairman Hugh Leatherman introduced a bill that would have allowed the South Carolina Research Authority – a state-created, multimillion-dollar nonprofit whose governing board included Leatherman – to double its main funding source. The legislation never made it out of the Florence County Republican’s committee. A year later, […]

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February 15, 2019

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SCRA getting big Commerce payments while seeking revenue-friendly legislation

By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Commerce has paid more than $2.9 million since fiscal 2015 to a state-created nonprofit that listed $69 million in net assets as of June 30 and now wants lawmakers to double its main funding source. Asked for specifics on the $2.93 million paid to the Columbia-based South Carolina […]

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February 12, 2019

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Taxpayer cost grows for high-priced consultants in wake of V.C. Summer fiasco

  By RICK BRUNDRETT Since the 2017 collapse of the V.C. Summer nuclear project – which the Legislature made possible through a quietly passed law 10 years earlier – lawmakers and state utility regulators collectively have spent at least $729,000 on consultants hired to give them advice or issue reports. The total includes $379,203 this […]

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