May 19, 2019

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Panthers’ summer camp got $150K through state sports marketing program

By RICK BRUNDRETT In 2015 and 2016, S.C. lawmakers approved spending a total of nearly $4 million for a “Sports Development Marketing Program,” $150,000 of which was used for the Carolina Panthers’ summer training camp, records released Friday to The Nerve show. In an email response, Dawn Dawson-House, spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Parks, […]

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May 16, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: Lawmakers often don’t like recording their votes

Last week, the Senate skipped a legally required roll-call vote for one of the most significant bills of the session – the Panthers incentive legislation. The Senate frequently does this, agreeing by “unanimous consent” to push amendments – and the roll-call vote – to third reading. Trouble is, the law doesn’t say that at some […]

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May 15, 2019

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Subsidies for Carolina Panthers: A losing game for S.C. taxpayers?

By RICK BRUNDRETT At the end of the 2014 regular legislative session, lawmakers slipped in a budget proviso funneling $75,000 through the state tourism agency for the Carolina Panthers’ summer training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg. Then-Gov. Nikki Haley vetoed the proviso, writing in her June 11, 2014, veto message, “The National Football League […]

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May 9, 2019

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Tax money meant for veterans’ care spent on university bus, new furniture

By RICK BRUNDRETT Over the last four fiscal years, $1.4 million in tax dollars flowed through three state social services agencies to an equestrian center operated by Lander University, a small, public liberal arts school in Greenwood. But an investigation by The Nerve found that relatively little was spent to directly help S.C. citizens served […]

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May 3, 2019

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

  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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May 2, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: Transparency for higher ed spending

dollars coat of arms

Remember when we told you last year that lawmakers were pulling $3.7 billion off-budget? Those funds were the “Other Funds” (fines and fees) for South Carolina’s public colleges and universities, and included all tuition revenue. This wasn’t a spending cut: the House simply removed those funds from the budget and added a proviso (which the […]

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May 1, 2019

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

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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April 27, 2019

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Proviso pork spending: A longstanding legislative tradition

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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April 25, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: Calling for incentive transparency reform

incentive transparency

This week, Sen. Dick Harpootlian called for an audit of the past ten years of economic incentive packages – a monumental task given that there is no system of transparency or accountability for these taxpayer-funded incentive packages. This week’s throwback is a pair of stories – one from eight years ago, detailing this very point: […]

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April 24, 2019

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SCDOT’s pothole projections have plenty of holes

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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