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State health insurance benefits offered in violation of state law

September 25, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Last month, the agency in charge of managing the state health plan informed state-owned utility Santee Cooper that members of the utility’s governing board were offered insurance benefits under the plan, though they weren’t eligible, records show. Santee Cooper communications director Mollie Gore told The Nerve that utility officials haven’t been able to […]

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S.C. lawmakers continue tight grip on PSC elections

September 23, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT For many South Carolinians, the size of their utility bills ultimately rests with state lawmakers. Not only do legislators elect the seven-member S.C. Public Service Commission, which, among other things, sets utility rates for investor-owned gas and electric utilities, but they also control the nomination of PSC candidates. Those who want to […]

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The $4 billion state officials are keeping secret

September 18, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Many politicians and other government officials don’t want to publicly acknowledge the huge surpluses that state agencies accumulate year after year. Even amid the coronavirus outbreak in South Carolina, 101 state agencies and two major state accounts collectively ended the fiscal year on June 30 with at least $4.3 billion in “other” […]

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SC motorists paying more taxes at the pump, still seeing slow results

September 9, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Motorists in South Carolina are now paying 8 cents more per gallon since the state gas-tax-hike law took effect in July 2017 – and will face another collective 4-cent increase over the next two years. But repairs to the state’s pothole-riddled roads still have been moving at a slow pace. Newly released […]

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As South Carolinians’ income shrinks, state agency surpluses grow

September 3, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Commerce started fiscal 2021 with a $103.1 million general-fund surplus – more than double its reserves from a year ago. The S.C. House of Representatives had a $23.7 million surplus as of July 1 for its 124-member chamber – nearly $1 million more than its entire budget, records […]

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Lawmakers routinely tap campaign funds for ‘other’ expenses

August 27, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Politicians typically spend campaign funds on things like signs, billboards, TV, radio or internet advertising. But S.C. lawmakers often use their campaign money for other expenses, including out-of-state trips, donations to their favorite charities, membership dues, or gifts to their staffs and constituents. And it’s all legal – at least according to […]

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COVID-19 not threatening high S.C. university salaries

August 20, 2020

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University of South Carolina

By RICK BRUNDRETT As University of South Carolina and Clemson University students return to in-person or online classes amid the coronavirus spread, what remains constant at the state’s two largest colleges is the growing number of well-paid employees. As of July 7, the 48,000-student USC, which has eight campuses statewide, had 1,193 employees earning at […]

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Gas-tax-hike law at 3 years: Completed jobs still lag way behind collections

August 13, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In the first three years of the gas-tax-hike law, the state collected more than $1.3 billion in revenues – enough to pay for almost all of the identified road and bridge projects statewide – yet is sitting on nearly half of the money, newly released records show. As of June 30, the […]

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Governor punts health-related powers to Commerce – again

August 5, 2020

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  By RICK BRUNDRETT Gov. Henry McMaster has once again granted the S.C. Department of Commerce – which isn’t a public health agency – the power to make health-related decisions in response to the coronavirus outbreak in the state. Last week, McMaster announced that “gatherings,” defined in his executive order as a “planned or spontaneous […]

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Taxpayer-funded gifts to Panthers grow with planned SC move

July 29, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT If only the Carolina Panthers could win as easily as it gets taxpayer money. Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) was awarded a nearly $34.6 million “Infrastructure for Rebuilding America” (INFRA) federal grant to build a new interchange on Interstate 77 near the […]

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