April 24, 2019

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SCDOT’s pothole projections have plenty of holes

SCDOT

By RICK BRUNDRETT Last fiscal year, the S.C. Department of Transportation estimated it filled more than 37,000 potholes in small, rural Kershaw County – the biggest number among the state’s 46 counties. In comparison, the pothole total was more than three times DOT’s projected number of patched potholes in Greenville County – the state’s most-populous […]

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April 18, 2019

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Horsing around: How an ex-lawmaker and his sister involved themselves in a veterans’ therapy program

By RICK BRUNDRETT Former S.C. Rep. Mike Pitts pushed for state funding to launch a veterans’ therapy program that his sister positioned herself to manage and was overseen by the state agency that employed her for years, an investigation by The Nerve found. Two years and $1 million later, the therapy program, called “Herd 2 […]

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April 13, 2019

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Ecodevo groups get lots of tax dollars, show few landed projects for the money

By RICK BRUNDRETT In recent years, state lawmakers annually have earmarked a total of nearly $5 million to eight regional economic development organizations, presumably to help attract new companies to South Carolina. But whether taxpayers are getting significant, verifiable returns on their investment is questionable, The Nerve found in a review of required annual reports […]

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April 11, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: unrealistic assumptions for economic impact analyses

Panthers economic analysis

This week, the Department of Commerce released its cost-benefit analysis of the proposed taxpayer-funded incentives for the Carolina Panthers. The analysis is all of two pages and contains very little truly helpful information – for instance, only four assumptions are listed: the number of jobs, the payroll amount, the direct investment amount, and the percentage […]

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April 10, 2019

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State lawmakers have strong grip on local schools in two S.C. counties

By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. Sen. Kevin Johnson’s wife and daughter work for Clarendon School District 2. Another daughter is the school board chairwoman. Last week, Johnson, a Democrat from Manning, introduced a local bill – which passed the Senate in two days – that would give the three-member Clarendon County delegation, of which Johnson is […]

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April 5, 2019

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Few road projects completed in first 20 months of gas-tax-hike law

By RICK BRUNDRETT Less than 4% of the nearly $1 billion in road and bridge projects in South Carolina identified by the state Department of Transportation was completed in the first 20 months of the gas-tax-hike law, newly released DOT records show. Lawmakers promised that the law, which raised the gas tax 12 cents per […]

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April 4, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: The forgotten Santee Cooper oversight board

Santee Cooper

This week, the House passed two bills dealing with Santee Cooper: one that creates a legislative oversight committee for the state-owned utility, and one that instructs the Santee Cooper joint study committee to oversee the process of selling it. The problem with both bills? That neither oversight nor the selling process is the role of […]

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April 2, 2019

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Taxpayer schemes: How some tourist, ecodevo groups win state grants

By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. lawmakers are funneling millions in tax dollars collectively to economic development and tourism organizations in the state – with the requirement that the groups secure private matches for grants. These types of “public-private partnerships” have been common in recent years in South Carolina, purportedly to ensure that taxpayers don’t pay most […]

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March 28, 2019

Comments Off on Throwback Thursday: Personal information shared by government agencies

Throwback Thursday: Personal information shared by government agencies

A WCSC article published yesterday reported that the Department of Motor Vehicles routinely sells personal information (such as driver’s license numbers, addresses, phone numbers, crash reports, traffic tickets and current license statuses) to nearly anyone –  from bulk data companies to lawyers. As disturbing as this is, the DMV is not the only government entity […]

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March 27, 2019

Comments Off on Legislators continue to look out for their own bottom lines

Legislators continue to look out for their own bottom lines

SC budget process

By RICK BRUNDRETT Another year, another round of state lawmakers supporting legislation that could fatten their wallets. Just this month alone, at least two House bills and a Senate bill were introduced, while separate legislation passed the Senate, that pose potential conflicts of interest for lawmakers who authored or co-sponsored the proposals. State ethics law […]

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