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SCDOT spending tens of millions on the nonexistent I-73; can’t account for $8M

September 13, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Some 37 years after the idea was first proposed, Interstate 73 in South Carolina exists only on paper. Yet since 2004, the state Department of Transportation has spent at least $77 million on the project – much of it for design costs and land purchases along the proposed route from North Carolina […]

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State agencies sitting on big reserves; lawmakers returning little to taxpayers

September 11, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT If the S.C. House of Representatives decided to forgo its entire $22.7 million budget this fiscal year, it could still pay all of its expected bills – with more than $650,000 left over. That’s because the 124-member chamber carried over nearly $23.4 million in general funds into this fiscal year for its […]

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Payouts in pothole claims against SCDOT total hundreds of thousands

September 6, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In January 2016, a driver swerved around a pothole on Bate Harvey Road in York County, crossed the center line and hit an oncoming vehicle, court records show. The S.C. Department of Transportation last year paid, through the state Insurance Reserve Fund (IRF), $150,000 in damages and $26,592 in legal expenses to […]

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Public agencies in SC spend more than $1 million total on state lobbyists

September 4, 2019

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  By RICK BRUNDRETT For the first half of this year, North Myrtle Beach agreed to pay a total of $120,000 to a lobbying firm to “work with” the Legislature and Governor’s Office on the city’s behalf, including a push for a law allowing a local sales tax for infrastructure projects, according to a retainer […]

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Southern 500 in Darlington racing with plenty of tax dollars

August 30, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The thousands of fans who are expected to attend the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sunday aren’t the only folks supporting the annual NASCAR race. For years, taxpayers have subsidized the private stock-car racetrack dubbed “The Track Too Tough to Tame.” State comptroller general records, for example, show that the […]

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Lots of hands in S.C. pension and health insurance cookie jars

August 28, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT When it comes to receiving taxpayer-funded state retirement and health insurance benefits, lots of folks have their hands out – and it’s not just government employees. Certain nonprofit organizations and quasi-government groups participate in the state pension and health insurance systems, which mainly cover state, county and local government agencies, as well […]

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County legislative delegation tightens grip on Clarendon 2 school board

August 23, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT For many years, S.C. lawmakers have exerted considerable control over local matters through county legislative delegations. Take the Clarendon County legislative delegation, for example. In April, Democratic Sen. Kevin Johnson of Manning introduced a bill to give the three-member delegation, of which he is the chairman, direct control over appointing the nine-member […]

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SCDOT plan would make small dent in fixing bad state roads

August 21, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Transportation plans to complete about 2,300 miles of road repairs by the end of 2021, records released to The Nerve show, though that number represents a small portion of the major road work the agency says needs to be done statewide. The department wants to bring about 16,800 […]

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Gov. McMaster hired federal lobbying firm for $15K monthly fee, records show

August 16, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Gov. Henry McMaster last December quietly hired a large law firm to lobby the federal government under an open-ended, “emergency procurement” contract that is costing taxpayers $15,000 a month, according to records released to The Nerve by the Governor’s Office. Ironically, then-Gov. Mark Sanford in 2003 issued an executive order banning the […]

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First 2 years of gas-tax-hike law: Little work completed despite fat cash reserves

August 14, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In the first two years of the gas-tax-hike law, the state collected enough money to pay for three-quarters of the identified $1 billion in road and bridge projects, yet the S.C. Department of Transportation completed or “substantially” completed just 8% of the total projected tab, newly released DOT records show. As of […]

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