July 12, 2019

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Key details in Volvo cost-benefit analyses kept secret by S.C. Commerce

By RICK BRUNDRETT More than four years after officials announced that Volvo would locate in South Carolina, the state Department of Commerce won’t reveal the estimated amounts of certain public costs and benefits identified in analyses of the $1.1 billion project. The Nerve reported last month, based on Commerce records obtained under the state open-records […]

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July 10, 2019

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Did lawmakers violate open-meetings law in DOT Commission appointment?

SCDOT

By RICK BRUNDRETT An Upstate legislative delegation might have skirted the state’s open-meetings law last year by privately recommending to the governor candidates for a Department of Transportation Commission seat, The Nerve found in a review. In interviews this week, Greenville County GOP Reps. Mike Burns and Garry Smith said the Greenville and Spartanburg county […]

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July 2, 2019

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How one S.C. senator can control the appointment of county magistrates

SC Senate Chamber

By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Senate’s quiet move at the end of last week’s special legislative session to confirm Mike Pitts as a Laurens County magistrate surprised even some senators when the former state House member’s name was quickly read across the desk. That’s likely because, in part, the appointment of the more than 300 […]

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June 29, 2019

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Taxpayer tab for Volvo deal far bigger than public pronouncements

By RICK BRUNDRETT When S.C. officials announced in 2015 that Volvo would locate its first U.S. plant in rural Berkeley County, the total incentives offered to the Swedish car maker were pegged at about $200 million. An investigation by The Nerve, however, found more than $250 million in incentives spent or offered so far by […]

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June 27, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: Government jobs for former lawmakers

At the close of this week’s one-day special session, the Senate confirmed – without warning – the appointment of former state Rep. Mike Pitts to a magistrate seat in Laurens County.  Pitts’ first attempt to secure a government job fell through earlier this year. After his Senate confirmation for the directorship of the Conservation Bank […]

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June 26, 2019

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Few major road repair projects finished in first 23 months of gas-tax-hike law

By RICK BRUNDRETT If you’re wondering why pothole-riddled roads in your community haven’t been fixed despite paying more state taxes at the gas pump, you’re probably not alone. In the first 23 months of the gas-tax-hike law, the S.C. Department of Transportation completed just under 10% of $655.5 million in identified “pavements” projects statewide, according […]

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June 21, 2019

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Gas-tax-hike law could make it harder to hold state lawmakers accountable

By RICK BRUNDRETT When it comes to fixing South Carolina’s deteriorating roads and bridges, where residents live could determine how hard their state lawmakers push to get unfinished work done. Since the gas-tax-hike law took effect nearly two years ago, raising the state gas tax 12 cents per gallon over six years and increasing other […]

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June 20, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: Advisory board should oversee Santee Cooper sale

santee cooper

Yesterday the Santee Cooper Advisory Board (comprised of five statewide-elected officers including the governor) met for the first time in decades – at least – to execute one of their key statutory roles: the selection of an external auditor for the state-owned utility. The advisory board’s role has been forgotten and neglected for years, with […]

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June 17, 2019

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State ethics violations? Video raises questions about senator’s 2017 DUI arrest

By RICK BRUNDRETT A newly released police video is raising questions about whether S.C. Sen. Paul Campbell tried to use his position as a lawmaker to get out of charges of driving under the influence and lying to police in 2017 – which, if true, would violate state ethics law. On the one-hour-25-minute YouTube video […]

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June 13, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: Gas tax dollars originally aimed at STIB debt, not roads

Layer of broken asphalt road at rural areas.

When lawmakers passed the 12-cent gas tax increase two years ago, they promised that every dime would go to repairing existing roads. Today, most of the gas tax revenue sits unspent while roads continue to crumble – so much so that this week, the SC Policy Council launched Project Road Repair to help citizens get […]

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