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Lawmakers ignoring $500M piggy bank to fix SC’s bad roads

February 28, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT While House budget writers have designated an extra $100 million next fiscal year for paving rural roads statewide, the S.C. Department of Transportation is sitting on a separate surplus of more than a half-billion dollars, newly released DOT records show. As of Jan. 31, a special fund created with the state gas-tax-hike […]

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Santee Cooper’s $100K-plus club doubles in less than 10 years

February 26, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT As lawmakers this week consider sale and management proposals involving Santee Cooper, one issue that likely won’t get much attention is the growth in recent years of well-paid workers at the state-owned utility. Of Santee Cooper’s approximately 1,650 full-time employees, 312, or 18.9% of the total, receive a base annual salary of […]

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Lawyer-lawmakers largely control who becomes a judge in SC. Here’s their latest power play

February 21, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Ten S.C. House members who are lawyers are pushing legislation to create two circuit and two family court seats – and several of the bill’s co-sponsors would play large roles in who gets nominated to those positions. The lead sponsor of the bill is House speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, an attorney who […]

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PURC legislative members took junkets to utility industry-sponsored events

February 19, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT From 2007 through 2016, five longtime legislative members of a panel that nominates candidates to the S.C. Public Service Commission each attended at least two out-of-state events sponsored by utility-industry trade groups, records show. The total taxpayer cost of the trips by the five lawmakers who sit on the six-legislator, 10-member State […]

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Public agencies in SC spending thousands to influence lawmakers, other state officials

February 14, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Last year, local municipalities, fire and other special purpose districts, public colleges and at least three state agencies collectively spent more than $1.4 million on lobbying the S.C. legislative and executive branches, State Ethics Commission records show. The total grows to at least $2.9 million if  other state-created or state-owned agencies, organizations […]

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SCDOT director among dozens in agency’s growing six-figure club

February 11, 2020

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SCDOT

By RICK BRUNDRETT The number of S.C. Department of Transportation employees making at least $100,000 has almost doubled since Christy Hall became the agency head, though the department’s total workforce size has changed little over the period, a review by The Nerve found. Last week, the legislatively controlled state Agency Head Salary Commission hiked Hall’s […]

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Jet-setting PSC members attended events with ties to regulated companies

February 7, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT From 2014 through 2018, four sitting S.C. Public Service Commission members collectively accepted more than $90,000 in trips and meals funded in part by utility industry trade groups, several of which have ties to companies regulated by the PSC, a review by The Nerve found. And two of the commissioners who are […]

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Concerns about CTC meeting pay acknowledged by bill co-sponsors

February 5, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Allowing Union County Transportation Committee members to make up to $750 a year – paid out of state gas-tax money – is too costly for taxpayers, says a co-sponsor of a bill that would pay those members for attending regular meetings. “It is high,” said Rep. Bill Clyburn, D-Aiken, when contacted Monday […]

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First 2.5 years of gas-tax-hike law: Revenues far outpace completed projects

January 31, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT No paving projects were completed between the end of November and December with gas-tax-hike funds in 37 of South Carolina’s 46 counties, though the state had nearly a half-billion dollars in available cash for those projects, records show. In the first two-and-a-half years of the gas-tax-hike law, a total of $1.04 billion […]

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Bosch’s planned layoffs raise questions about repayment of incentives

January 28, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In December 2010, then-Gov. Mark Sanford, along with other state and local officials, announced a $125 million expansion of the Robert Bosch automotive parts plant in Dorchester County, with promises that the project would create 285 jobs. The Nerve revealed several months later that the estimated public costs of the project over […]

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