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No significant road projects completed in 26 S.C. counties, despite gas tax hike

May 3, 2019

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  By RICK BRUNDRETT Through March, the S.C. Department of Transportation had completed no road reconstruction or significant repaving projects in more than half of the state’s counties with revenues generated under the gas-tax-hike law that took effect nearly two years ago, newly released DOT records show. The balance in the state “Infrastructure Maintenance Trust […]

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Are S.C. officials shirking their oversight of tax dollars awarded to private groups?

May 1, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In 2006, lawmakers approved spending $700,000 in the fiscal 2007 state budget to help the private Erskine College in Abbeville County establish the “John Drummond Center for Statesmanship” – to be named after the late longtime senator who retired from the Legislature in 2008. A budget proviso authorizing the funding required the […]

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Proviso pork spending: A longstanding legislative tradition

April 27, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT As S.C. lawmakers head into the final weeks of adopting an approximately $30 billion state budget for next fiscal year, their taxpayer-funded goody bag keeps growing bigger. For years, lawmakers have slipped in funding requests – often for their own pet projects – through obscure state budget provisos. The latest budget cycle […]

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SCDOT’s pothole projections have plenty of holes

April 24, 2019

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SCDOT

By RICK BRUNDRETT Last fiscal year, the S.C. Department of Transportation estimated it filled more than 37,000 potholes in small, rural Kershaw County – the biggest number among the state’s 46 counties. In comparison, the pothole total was more than three times DOT’s projected number of patched potholes in Greenville County – the state’s most-populous […]

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Horsing around: How an ex-lawmaker and his sister involved themselves in a veterans’ therapy program

April 18, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Former S.C. Rep. Mike Pitts pushed for state funding to launch a veterans’ therapy program that his sister positioned herself to manage and was overseen by the state agency that employed her for years, an investigation by The Nerve found. Two years and $1 million later, the therapy program, called “Herd 2 […]

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Ecodevo groups get lots of tax dollars, show few landed projects for the money

April 13, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In recent years, state lawmakers annually have earmarked a total of nearly $5 million to eight regional economic development organizations, presumably to help attract new companies to South Carolina. But whether taxpayers are getting significant, verifiable returns on their investment is questionable, The Nerve found in a review of required annual reports […]

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State lawmakers have strong grip on local schools in two S.C. counties

April 10, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. Sen. Kevin Johnson’s wife and daughter work for Clarendon School District 2. Another daughter is the school board chairwoman. Last week, Johnson, a Democrat from Manning, introduced a local bill – which passed the Senate in two days – that would give the three-member Clarendon County delegation, of which Johnson is […]

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Few road projects completed in first 20 months of gas-tax-hike law

April 5, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Less than 4% of the nearly $1 billion in road and bridge projects in South Carolina identified by the state Department of Transportation was completed in the first 20 months of the gas-tax-hike law, newly released DOT records show. Lawmakers promised that the law, which raised the gas tax 12 cents per […]

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Taxpayer schemes: How some tourist, ecodevo groups win state grants

April 2, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. lawmakers are funneling millions in tax dollars collectively to economic development and tourism organizations in the state – with the requirement that the groups secure private matches for grants. These types of “public-private partnerships” have been common in recent years in South Carolina, purportedly to ensure that taxpayers don’t pay most […]

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Legislators continue to look out for their own bottom lines

March 27, 2019

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SC budget process

By RICK BRUNDRETT Another year, another round of state lawmakers supporting legislation that could fatten their wallets. Just this month alone, at least two House bills and a Senate bill were introduced, while separate legislation passed the Senate, that pose potential conflicts of interest for lawmakers who authored or co-sponsored the proposals. State ethics law […]

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