September 10, 2021

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SC roads get ‘D’ grade as major repair projects remain unfinished

By RICK BRUNDRETT South Carolina will need almost $43 billion more by 2040 to fix its bad roads and handle increased traffic with projected growth, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, which gave the state’s roads a “D” grade in its annual infrastructure report card. Meanwhile, the S.C. Department of Transportation continues to […]

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September 8, 2021

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The $5 billion surplus officials don’t talk about

By RICK BRUNDRETT Out of this fiscal year’s $32.5 billion state budget, more than a third of it – nearly $12.3 billion – is made up of “other” funds. “Other” funds include such things as fees and fines, college tuition, lottery proceeds, state gasoline taxes, and part of the state sales tax earmarked for K-12 […]

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September 2, 2021

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Millions flow through SCDOT to company with ties to Sen. Leatherman

    By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Transportation since 2016 has awarded 56 bridge contracts totaling $8.4 million to a company with ties to Sen. Hugh Leatherman – one of the state’s most powerful lawmakers, records provided to The Nerve show. The contracts with Florence Concrete Products, Inc. ranged from $50,164 for a […]

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August 27, 2021

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Gallo Winery project: No cheap buzz for SC taxpayers

  By RICK BRUNDRETT E.&J. Gallo Winery, a multibillion-dollar global corporation, will get at least $25 million in assistance from the state of South Carolina to locate a plant in Chester County – plus could receive tens of millions more in taxpayer-backed incentives over decades, records released to The Nerve show. And the California-based wine […]

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August 25, 2021

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State surpluses keep growing. Taxpayers likely won’t get any of it back

By RICK BRUNDRETT Lawmakers have far more state tax dollars to play with this fiscal year, though there has been no serious interest in returning any of it to taxpayers. In an annual report released earlier this month, S.C. comptroller general Richard Eckstrom – the state’s top accountant – said the state had a $1.024 […]

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August 20, 2021

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State AG hires current, former lawyer-legislators in civil cases

Gavel on Money

By RICK BRUNDRETT Since 2017, S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson has hired at least six current or former lawyer-legislators to handle certain civil cases, including the chairman of a House committee that first approves the annual state budget, which funds Wilson’s office, records show. The outside lawyers hired to assist the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) […]

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August 17, 2021

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Santee Cooper seeks state OK to dive deeper in debt

Santee Cooper

By RICK BRUNDRETT State-owned utility Santee Cooper’s debt load is projected to grow by more than a half-billion dollars under a proposal that a legislative committee likely will rubber-stamp today. The utility’s board of directors in a special meeting Thursday approved asking the state Joint Bond Review Committee (JBRC) to allow the utility to sell […]

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August 12, 2021

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Santee Cooper deep in debt, still spending millions on ecodevo projects

By RICK BRUNDRETT Santee Cooper’s electric customers are on the hook for billions in debt payments, but that hasn’t stopped the state-owned utility from spending millions in recent years on economic development projects. The Nerve’s review of utility records provided recently under the state’s open-records law found that from May 2018 through May of this […]

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August 6, 2021

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Fiscal ‘21 ends with huge gas-tax-hike surplus amid unfinished projects

By RICK BRUNDRETT Stuck in a pothole. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, a special fund created with the 2017 state gas-tax-hike law had an $896.1 million surplus – a 50% increase compared to the end of fiscal 2020, records show. Total collected revenues also grew by about the same rate over the […]

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August 3, 2021

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Lawmaker: Little vetting of governor’s pick for DOT Commission

SCDOT

By RICK BRUNDRETT Gov. Henry McMaster quietly appointed the owner of a well-known Columbia restaurant – and generous campaign donor – to a vacant state Department of Transportation Commission seat, but a lawmaker is questioning the selection process. The 2nd Congressional District Legislative Delegation is scheduled this morning to vote whether to confirm McMaster’s appointment […]

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