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Throwback Thursday: Harrell’s Indictments – What They Didn’t Include

November 14, 2019

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Gavel on Money

Five years ago last month, former S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell pleaded guilty to six counts of misuse of campaign funds, and agreed to resign his speakership and House seat. According to the Richland County indictments, Harrell, who received three years’ probation, claimed campaign-fund reimbursements for legislative travel in his private airplane, though some of […]

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Throwback Thursday: 2020 Budget Kickoff – Why Process Matters

November 7, 2019

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dollars coat of arms

The 2020 budget process officially began this month, with agency budget requests due to the governor by Nov. 1. According to news reports, lawmakers are likely to have at least an extra $1 billion to spend in the 2020 budget – in addition to the $350 million surplus leftover from the previous fiscal year. Unfortunately, […]

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Throwback Thursday: Not all state agencies comply with FOIA requests

October 31, 2019

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Freedom of information act South Carolina

This week a lawsuit filed by Sen. Dick Harpootlian over the Department of Commerce’s refusal to disclose records regarding two corporate incentive deals received a court hearing. During the hearing, Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt defended the agency’s disclosure policies and stated that Harpootlian was the first to challenge Commerce’s actions in court. The state’s Freedom […]

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Throwback Thursday: Rising college tuition tied to increasing higher education debt

October 24, 2019

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A recent study covered by The Greenville News revealed that South Carolina has one of the highest student loan default rates in the country, with over one out of every ten students defaulting within two years of starting repayment. This is just the latest evidence of how increasingly unaffordable higher education is becoming for many […]

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Throwback Thursday: Lawmakers eyeing gas-tax-hike dollars for interstates, more debt

October 17, 2019

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Repaving road

At Wednesday’s state Senate Finance subcommittee meeting to discuss expanding interstates, Sen. Nikki Setzler, D-Lexington, asked S.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall, “Is there anything to prohibit you from using any of this (Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund, i.e. gas-tax-hike revenues) money to bond?” Hall replied the state could not do it pending a legal […]

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Throwback Thursday: Commerce’s long history of incentives secrecy

October 10, 2019

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Transparency

This week, state Sen. Dick Harpootlian filed a lawsuit against the S.C. Department of Commerce to force the disclosure of Commerce records on two corporate incentives deals, one of which included a nearly $36 million state grant for the Giti Tire plant in Chester County, written about by The Nerve here and here. This is […]

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Throwback Thursday: Performance reviews for the Public Service Commission

October 3, 2019

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Good job

Next Tuesday, the legislatively controlled Public Utilities Review Committee (PURC) will perform the annual performance review of the Public Service Commission (PSC) – the board that regulates public utilities. State law requires the PURC – which also screens and nominates PSC members – to evaluate each PSC member to help lawmakers judge whether the energy […]

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Throwback Thursday: Fake numbers to support I-73 construction

September 12, 2019

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i-73

Earlier this week, The Nerve reported that the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank board, which includes Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, discussed expanding interstates through the STIB. This week’s throwback deals with a multibillion-dollar interstate construction project that lawmakers (including Leatherman, the longtime Senate Finance Committee chairman) have pushed for years – the South Carolina portion of […]

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More debt for more interstates: Takeaways from the latest STIB meeting

September 9, 2019

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road construction ahead

Members of the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (STIB) board recently discussed their desire to explore expanding South Carolina’s interstates through the STIB. While nothing was voted on or confirmed, the ideas floated included finding additional funding streams, “encouraging” the state Department of Transportation to partner with STIB to build interstates, and expanding the STIB’s charter […]

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Throwback Thursday: State surplus – spending vs. saving

August 29, 2019

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dollars coat of arms

The Comptroller General’s Office announced a $350 million surplus when the books were closed this month. The comptroller – the state’s accountant – advised lawmakers to “forgo the ‘spending spree’ temptation,” recommending instead that at least some of the surplus go toward paying down the pension system’s unfunded liability. The pension deficit amount, it should […]

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