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House member proposes big pay hike for lawmakers

December 1, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. lawmakers would receive an annual $18,000 pay hike under a House proposal, with the bill’s sponsor contending that legislators deserve the raise. “This is not a part-time job,” Rep. Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston, a former Charleston City Council member who was first elected to the S.C. House in 2008, told The Nerve […]

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Legislatively controlled panel OKs big raises for state agency heads

November 24, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Last week, a legislatively controlled committee quietly approved five-figure salary hikes for six state agency heads, including increases for two university presidents whose total annual compensation is much more than their state pay. Medical University of South Carolina president David Cole received a $42,308, or 13.5%, raise from the state Agency Head […]

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Millions owed to SC taxpayers over local road fees, lawsuits contend

November 19, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Nearly half of South Carolina’s 46 counties were charging annual road maintenance fees as of last December, records show, though the state’s top court earlier this year in a Greenville County case ruled that its fee was unlawful. Whether taxpayers will receive any refunds remains to be seen. Class action lawsuits seeking […]

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Lawmakers want more control over agency head pay hikes

November 17, 2021

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  By RICK BRUNDRETT Lawmakers just can’t resist trying to exert more power over another branch of government. Reps. John King, D-York; Annie McDaniel, D-Fairfield; and Wendy Brawley, D-Richland, prefiled a bill last week that would require separate majorities in the 124-member House and 46-member Senate to give final approval to any pay raises for […]

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Revolutionary War project: 250 years later, taxpayers squeezed again?

November 10, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT When it comes to South Carolina history, some state officials might need a refresher course. S.C. taxpayers are on the hook for about $1.5 million this fiscal year and possibly could shell out as much as nearly $10 million in fiscal 2022-23 for a legislatively controlled committee created in 2018 to recognize […]

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Raises continue to flow to well-paid House, Senate staffers

November 5, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Another year, another round of raises for higher-paid S.C. House and Senate staffers. The Nerve’s review of chamber records provided under the state Freedom of Information Act show that over the past year, 76 House staffers making at least $50,000 received raises ranging from $1,602 to $34,857. The median increase, which represents […]

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Lawmakers trying to shift focus away from gas-tax-hike woes?

November 3, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT As a special legislative panel considers a yet-to-be-revealed road funding proposal, the state Department of Transportation continues to plod along in fixing South Carolina’s bad roads and bridges while sitting on a massive reserve created with the 2017 gas-tax-hike law. Recently released DOT records show that through September, a special fund created […]

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Taxpayer tab growing for ‘Boeing’ ag project

October 29, 2021

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  By RICK BRUNDRETT Hugh Weathers, South Carolina’s agriculture commissioner, dubbed the project as the “Boeing of agriculture.” In touting the project in September 2020, Gov. Henry McMaster called it a “tremendous win for the local community and our state as a whole.” Sonny Perdue, then-President Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary, cited the project as a […]

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Number of SC taxpayers claiming gas tax credit continues to drop

October 27, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Once again, the state’s chief revenue forecasters have grossly overestimated the popularity of an income tax credit that legislators created with the 2017 gas-tax-hike law. In a Sept. 21 letter to Hartley Powell, director of the state Department of Revenue (DOR), Frank Rainwater, the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office (RFA) director, […]

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Top court rarely disciplines judges despite numerous complaints

October 22, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Last week, the S.C. Supreme Court suspended Oconee County probate judge Kenneth Johns for 18 months after he formally admitted – for the second time in five years – violating ethics rules for judges. It’s not often that the state’s top court, headed by Chief Justice Donald Beatty, publicly disciplines a judge, […]

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