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Little-known S.C. panel regularly OKs requests to release sensitive information

December 14, 2018

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By RICK BRUNDRETT For at least two years, a few members of an obscure state panel have routinely approved requests by public- and private-sector researchers for sensitive information contained in a massive health “data warehouse,” records reviewed by The Nerve show. The medical records database, managed by the state Revenue and Fiscal Affairs (RFA) Office, […]

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

December 11, 2018

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

December 3, 2018

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

November 30, 2018

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

November 16, 2018

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

November 14, 2018

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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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Powerful legislative chairman profits from state-funded groups

November 2, 2018

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

October 31, 2018

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  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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Huge shortfalls projected in state fund for gas tax credits

October 25, 2018

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

October 19, 2018

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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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