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S.C. universities paying lobbyists as student tuition, school debt loads rise

October 17, 2018

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Since 2015, state colleges and universities have paid a total of more than $1.5 million to lobbyists – mainly to influence S.C. lawmakers – while overall student tuition and school debt loads have steadily increased, a review by The Nerve found. Lobbying reports filed with the State Ethics Commission show that from […]

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$312 million in gas-tax-hike funds unspent through August

October 10, 2018

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By RICK BRUNDRETT As of Aug. 31, the state of South Carolina was sitting on nearly $312 million in revenues from the gas-tax-hike law that took effect more than 15 months ago – despite promises from lawmakers that the money would go toward fixing crumbling roads. Newly released records from the S.C. Department of Transportation […]

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Lawmakers easily override governor’s vetoes on pet projects

October 8, 2018

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By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. Senate president pro tempore Hugh Leatherman appeared relaxed and confident before last week’s votes, at one point smiling and giving a thumbs up. Leatherman, R-Florence, didn’t make any long speeches in asking his Senate colleagues to override Gov. Henry McMaster’ vetoes of parts of a state budget proviso directing a total […]

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SCDOT critic sues after banned from agency’s Facebook page

October 3, 2018

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Tom Fernandez says he was just trying to make a serious point – in a humorous way – about the S.C. Department of Transportation’s pothole-repair program. On Aug. 29, DOT posted a video on the agency’s Facebook page titled, “How does a pothole get repaired?” About two weeks earlier, Fernandez, a Berkeley […]

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First 13 months of gas-tax-hike law: Little spent, roads not fixed

September 27, 2018

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Transportation continues to sit on most of the hundreds of millions of dollars collected since the gas-tax-hike law went into effect nearly 15 months ago. Less than $9 million, or 2.7 percent, of the $324.2 million collected between July 1, 2017, and July 31 of this year was […]

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PSC election delayed again; public comment chilled under state law

September 26, 2018

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By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. lawmakers have once again delayed filling a $107,822 seat on the state Public Service Commission, which routinely approved electric rate hikes for the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project. A screening hearing for PSC Seat 2, which was supposed to have been held Monday of this week, was postponed, according to a […]

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State gives away millions to companies that don’t hit job creation targets

September 20, 2018

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Payoff

By RICK BRUNDRETT Since 2015,14 companies that committed to locating or expanding in South Carolina collectively repaid nearly $7 million in state grants after failing to meet job creation or investment requirements, records show. Four of the companies closed plants in counties that received the grants, and another project never materialized, a review by The […]

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Many S.C. counties left out of gas-tax-hike spending by state

September 12, 2018

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In the first year of a controversial law hiking the state’s gasoline tax and other fees, the S.C. Department of Transportation spent no proceeds in 20 of South Carolina’s 46 counties, newly released records show. Overall, only about $7 million, or 2.2 percent, of $312.6 million in total revenues collected from July […]

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S.C. agencies sitting on nearly $500M in taxpayer funds

September 6, 2018

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By RICK BRUNDRETT As S.C. lawmakers plan to push a massive borrowing bill next year, they likely won’t publicly talk about the fat reserves that some state agencies have accumulated – including their own chambers. State agencies collectively carried over about $484.5 million in general funds into the fiscal year that started July 1, according […]

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S.C. law, contracts offer few privacy protections for huge ‘data warehouse’

August 27, 2018

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By RICK BRUNDRETT If you receive health-related services from certain state agencies, chances are you weren’t told your personal information could be included in a massive “data warehouse” that lawmakers and their staffs have been allowed access to for years. A state privacy law and inter-agency agreements for the 16-year-old database offer weak privacy protections […]

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