December 11, 2018

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Big pay hike sought by S.C. judges also would fatten their retirement wallets

south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT A little-known state law allows eligible judges in South Carolina to receive generous retirement pay for as much as a dozen years at the same time they’re collecting their regular six-figure salaries. S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty, who heads the state Judicial Department, is now asking for a 33-percent pay […]

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December 3, 2018

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Pot of unspent gas-tax-hike revenues grows to nearly $361 million

By RICK BRUNDRETT As of the end of October, nearly $361 million in collected gas-tax-hike revenues had not been spent – 16 months after the law authorizing the increases went into effect, recently released records show. The $360.9 million balance represented about 45 percent of the $802.2 million in “project commitments” identified by the state […]

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November 30, 2018

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Secrecy surrounds incentives info for Amazon HQ2 search, other S.C. projects

By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Commerce says it didn’t formally offer any taxpayer-backed incentives to lure Amazon’s second national headquarters to the Palmetto State, but instead provided general incentives information to counties if any of them wanted to compete for the project. Commerce spokeswoman Adrienne Fairwell told The Nerve on Tuesday she didn’t […]

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November 16, 2018

Comments Off on SCDOT honored by national group that received over $3M from DOT since FY15

SCDOT honored by national group that received over $3M from DOT since FY15

By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. Department of Transportation chief Christy Hall was in a bragging mood at last month’s DOT Commission meeting, announcing that the agency had won three “President’s Transportation Awards” from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. “I’m proud to announce that once again – once again – the South Carolina […]

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November 14, 2018

Comments Off on More than $338 million in gas-tax-hike funds unspent as of end of September

More than $338 million in gas-tax-hike funds unspent as of end of September

By RICK BRUNDRETT In the first 15 months of the gas-tax-hike law, the S.C. Department of Transportation spent less than 7 percent of the nearly $400 million in collected revenues that lawmakers promised would go toward fixing deteriorating roads and bridges statewide, according to recently released records. As of Sept. 30, about $25.7 million, or […]

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November 2, 2018

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Powerful legislative chairman profits from state-funded groups

By RICK BRUNDRETT As chairman of the S.C. House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Brian White exerts considerable control over the multibillion-dollar state budget that affects the lives of all 5 million South Carolinians. And his influence extends far beyond being the House’s chief writer and overseer of the state budget. As the Ways and […]

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October 31, 2018

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SLED won’t release investigative file on former S.C. House speaker

  By RICK BRUNDRETT In requesting this month’s public release of a state grand jury report into legislative corruption, special prosecutor David Pascoe wrote that he “firmly believes that the greatest weapon against corruption and incompetence in government is transparency.” Yet the State Law Enforcement Division, which assisted Pascoe, declined multiple open-records requests this year […]

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October 25, 2018

Comments Off on Huge shortfalls projected in state fund for gas tax credits

Huge shortfalls projected in state fund for gas tax credits

By RICK BRUNDRETT After S.C. income taxpayers can no longer claim tax credits to offset a 75-percent gas tax hike, the state transportation agency expects to have $114 million available annually for a new interstate-widening program – and to help fix crumbling bridges. But newly released records reviewed by The Nerve show that over the […]

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October 19, 2018

Comments Off on Number of higher-paid S.C. House, Senate staffers increasing

Number of higher-paid S.C. House, Senate staffers increasing

By RICK BRUNDRETT The number of higher-paid staffers in the S.C. House and Senate keeps growing along with the annual chamber budgets. The House employs 75 staffers earning at least $50,000 annually, compared to 58 in 2015, chamber records show. The Senate has 68 employees in the $50,000-plus group, up from 60 in 2015. House […]

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October 17, 2018

Comments Off on S.C. universities paying lobbyists as student tuition, school debt loads rise

S.C. universities paying lobbyists as student tuition, school debt loads rise

By RICK BRUNDRETT Since 2015, state colleges and universities have paid a total of more than $1.5 million to lobbyists – mainly to influence S.C. lawmakers – while overall student tuition and school debt loads have steadily increased, a review by The Nerve found. Lobbying reports filed with the State Ethics Commission show that from […]

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